Experts Weight in on Critical Steps for Getting Those Budget Requests Approved
Proper training and education are vital to success in todayâ€™s world. Everyone from students to employees need effective, efficient learning processes to help guarantee continued growth. And whether itâ€™s a K-12 school, local college, major state university, or Fortune 500 company, up-to-date technology has become an important part of that learning process.
Unfortunately, education budgets are almost universally getting tighter, and getting a new EdTech budget approved can be tough. Educators often have to negotiate and compromise in order to get any budget pushed through at all, much less the one they feel is ideal for their students or employees.
Itâ€™s not all bad news, though. There are strategies you can use to significantly improve your chances of getting a budget approved. Here are four favorites, as recommended by experts in the field.
1. Have a Curriculum Planned for Your Equipment
As a general rule, itâ€™s always easier to make a case for an expense when you have a concrete plan for its use. â€œIâ€™ve seen so many school administrators go out and buy equipment, and then the teachers donâ€™t know how to use them as tools in the education process,â€ says Sarah Boisvert, founder of Fab Lab Hub.Â â€œTechnology only works if it is integrated into the curriculum.â€
Instead of creating a proposal that just asks for equipment, put together a sample curriculum demonstrating the potential value the new tech could bring to your classroom or training program. Or, if you have an existing curriculum youâ€™d like to use, take some time to adapt it to the new tech. A little extra time spent here can go a long way.
2. Use Case Studies to Demonstrate Value
Boisvert also recommends success stories to demonstrate value. Getting the go-ahead for new technology is easier if you can provide some proof of the potential ROI. And thereâ€™s no better way to demonstrate proof than case studies. As you put together your budget proposal, look for examples from other schools or organizations that have implemented similar plans.
You can reach out and ask about the outcome of their tech implementationâ€”if theyâ€™ve done a formal case study of the results, even better. Having an example similar to your situation that you can point to as a documented success is a huge advantage.
Many tech companies also provide their own case studies as a selling point for their products, and you can use those as well. The idea is to be able to show the person or committee reviewing your budget exactly how the expense will translate into a return in the future.
3. Consider Total Cost of Ownership
If youâ€™re trying to replace older equipment with newer tech, donâ€™t just look at the up-front expense. Look a year or two down the road, and add up the total cost of ownership to see where new tech might actually save money compared to existing, older equipment:
- Maintenance costs
- Payroll saved as a result of reduced time spent troubleshooting older equipment
- Increased efficiency leading to greater output
That last point is a particularly important factor to consider. â€œA TCO (total cost of ownership) approach to funding EdTech devices takes into account both the cost of devices and the learning experience that the devices enable,â€ says Charles Duarte, VP of Diamond Assets. â€œIn general, having the latest hardware and software creates the opportunity for schools to meet their digital learning goals by removing the variable of outdated, more constricting technology.â€
Depending on the age and condition of your existing technology, new equipment might actually end up being cheaper over the long run.
4. Identify the Costs of Not Having the Equipment
If your proposed EdTech gear is essential for meeting specific goals, make sure to leverage that fact in your budget proposal. This strategy is especially useful in a business environment, where having employees properly trained can have major impacts on productivity and outputâ€”and, as a result, the bottom line.
Emily Lawrence, a tech specialist at Go Frontier, says, â€œSometimes, calling out the potential losses on a missed opportunity will have the most impact for critical decision makers. If you can make a compelling case about how much time or money is lost due to a lack of tech support or outdated equipment, it could help put the requested budget expenses in perspective.â€
Look for examples of employees who have underperformed due to lack of training, or areas where lack of training has otherwise directly impacted the companyâ€™s bottom line. The ultimate goal should be demonstrating the possible financial difference proper EdTech and training might have made in these situations.
Getting a budget approved is tough, but not impossible with the proper research and preparation. These expert-backed strategies should give you a great place to start.