Develop a funding plan

Investing in The Leader in Me on an annual per student basis is less than what is spent on common youth entertainment products such as video games or movie tickets.  Additionally, The Leader in Me is rolled out in a way that touches multiple budget cycles (pay-as-you-go) and many sources of funding can be used, so as to not put strain on any one particular area.

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FranklinCovey client partners can help you build support for The Leader in Me within your school community or district. Click here

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School Funding

School budgets vary widely by state and district. Some states and districts grant the principal some discretion over certain funds at the school level, while other states and districts leave little flexibility in how funds are spent.

Regardless of whether schools have discretionary funds or not, most school budgets consist of internal and operating budgets, and each line item may be considered as a potential funding source for different elements of The Leader in Me process.


Mt. Pilchuck Elementary, Lake Stevens, WA

After a book study and a visit to a Leader in Me school, the staff of Mt. Pilchuck Elementary overwhelmingly decided to implement The Leader in Me...

Getting Started
  1. Make a list of the categories of expenses you’ll have with The Leader in Me such as classroom materials, professional development, virtual resources, student curriculum, and parent engagement.
  2. Review the school’s “internal” budget. The internal budget is the most flexible for school administrators and includes pots of money such as book fair money, field trip money, picture money, and donations and grants. Identify pots that can help fund TLIM process.
  3. Review the school’s “operating” budget. This budget is the school district budget and includes everything from instructional supplies to capital funds and staff salaries. Identify line items that can help fund TLIM process.

District Funding

Districts are important sources of funding for The Leader in Me because they manage a number of federal, state, and district programs that aim to enhance student learning in schools.  Here are some of the key programs that districts help manage:

Federal – Title I

Over sixty thousand schools receive Title I schoolwide funding. Monies for Schoolwide Programs and School Improvement Grants flow from the federal government to states to districts, and principals work in concert with their district to direct these funds to salaries and programs that will most improve student achievement.

Other Federal and State Programs

Title II, Part A is a federal program targets the quality and effectiveness of principals and teachers. This program seeks to improve the knowledge of teachers to improve student behavior, involve parents in their children’s education, and improve classroom practices, as well as promote retention of highly qualified teachers.  There may be other state-level initiatives with available monies such character education initiatives, social emotional learning initiatives, and other school turnaround programs.

District Priorities

Districts manage a wide variety of initiatives such as professional development, curriculum, and behavioral programs. Districts generally fund those programs with the best results and can reprioritize funds based on desires and results.


Lee Hamilton Elementary, Ferguson, MO
Within one month of her arrival as principal, Emily Turner’s school was named a “Focus school” in Missouri.. READ MORE
Getting Started
  1. Think through your needs assessment as a school.  What are the key student needs you are trying to address?  Is it culture/climate, student behavior, student non-cognitive skills, self-directed learning, etc.?  What is the evidence that these are needs?
  2. When will you meet with your district?  Which administrators will be a part of that meeting?  Who from your school will be a part of that meeting?
  3. What will you share with the district administrators regarding The Leader in Me and how it will help meet your school’s needs?  Will it be TLIM book, the brochure, PP slides, video, etc.?
  4. What questions will you ask the district administrators to engage them in a conversation about how the district might help fund TLIM for your school using district, state, or federal funds?

Business Funding

Business Funding

Partnering with local businesses can be a win-win! A business can offer support in many ways such as making a donation or supporting a fundraising event. In return the business receives positive publicity and the opportunity to build relationships with the community. Nationwide, nearly three-fourths of small-business owners contribute to education through cash, in-kind donations, or volunteer hours, according to a 2005 report by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Local Chambers Of Commerce

Chambers of Commerce are focused on building stronger communities and developing a competitive 21st-century workforce and is a great place to start building business relationships.

Local Businesses

There may be several local businesses that operate within the boundaries of your school or in proximity. Ideally, you may already have a relationship with some of these business owners. Even if you don’t, there may be an opportunity to identify and approach these businesses.

Multinational Businesses with Local Headquarters

You may be fortunate enough to have large businesses with operations in your city or in a city nearby. These businesses and their employees often get involved with the community and education.


DeFranco Elementary, Bangor, PA
Principal Braden Hendershot of DeFranco Elementary knew he wanted to bring The Leader in Me to his school but didn’t know where to find the funds... READ MORE
Getting Started
  1. Brainstorm the Chamber of Commerce connections and other local business connections or relationships that your funding team or other stakeholders in your school have.
  2. Identify some local businesses that might want to support your school.
  3. Outline ways that you can build or deepen relationships with the Chamber of Commerce and other businesses in your community.
  4. Create an event that you can invite the local business community to. How will you invite them? What experiences will you provide to help them gain a vision for what you are trying to accomplish as a school? How will you involve them?
Tools and Resources
Utilize resources that already exist
  • Your FranklinCovey Client Partner can assist with presentations.
  • The Leader in Me website is full of information and videos you can incorporate into your event.
  • The Leader in Me book.
  • Leadership Days of other schools in your state – invite a business member to attend a Leadership Day with you and your staff.
TLIM Overview Flyer

Here is our template to create flyers for your event.

Sample Event Invitation

Here is a sample event invitation word document you can edit.

Sample Donation Request Letter

Here is a sample letter to distribute to businesses. Don’t miss the idea of creating sponsorship packages as seen on page 2.

Invitation Letter from the Principal

Here is a sample letter from the principal.

Invitation Letter from a Student

Here is a sample letter from a student.

Non-Profit Funding

Having strong schools is important to every community. Education not only means better jobs and higher earning potential for individuals; education is also linked to increased civic engagement, more success in marriage, and a healthy, vibrant community. Invite community leaders from a variety of organizations to get involved with your school, or explore foundation grants as an opportunity to secure funds to implement The Leader in Me.

Local Service Organizations

National service clubs such as Rotary International or United Way often have local chapters in cities and towns. Networking with these people or even presenting to them is a great opportunity to meet community members who can potentially sponsor your school or who may know of other opportunities for sponsorship.

Workforce Development Board

This group of community leaders is appointed by local elected officials and charged with planning and oversight responsibilities of workforce programs and services. Connecting with this group may present a valuable networking opportunity.


There may be several foundations that make grants to educational causes within your state and community. You can search the Web and narrow down your list of foundations to those where there is a fit between the mission of the foundation and what you are trying to achieve with The Leader in Me. You may even have a community foundation or a school district foundation that is already connected to your district. (Visit the National School Foundation Association website for a listing of school foundations by state here.)


PS 39 Francis J. Murphy School, Staten Island, NY
In 2012, the staff at PS 39 was looking for ways to improve academic achievement, decrease discipline referrals, and enhance school climate... READ MORE
Getting Started
  1. Write down a list of local service clubs in your community such as United Way, Rotary, etc. Talk about how you can get to know their leaders and get a chance to present at their meetings or lunches.
  2. Write down a list of all the foundations in the community or state that are making grants to education. It may be your district foundation, community foundation, business foundation, etc. Identify which ones are aligned with the outcomes of The Leader in Me.
  3. Talk through what grants are available, what the process is for obtaining these grants, and who will be assigned to write the grants.
Tools and Resources
Grant Writing Tips

There are many resources and tips available on the internet. Here are a few to get you started:

Sample Proposal Summary Template

Download this sample template here.

Sample Grant Application

Download this sample grant here.

Utilize resources that already exist
  • Your FranklinCovey Client Partner can assist with presentations.
  • The Leader in Me website is full of information and videos you can incorporate into your event.
  • The Leader in Me book.
  • Leadership Days of other schools in your state – invite a business member to attend a Leadership Day with you and your staff.

Parent/PTA Funding

Your parent community is an invaluable partner and can unlock manifold opportunities. People are inspired to contribute to projects that engage them and their children in tangible and often immediate ways. Parents can bring contacts, ideas, time, energy, and money to support your fundraising efforts.

PTA, PTO, and other Parent Organizations

Parent groups are often responsible for conducting fundraising campaigns for different programs in the school. Many such groups have funded the implementation of The Leader in Me through new fundraisers or a reallocation of existing funds.


Silver Springs Elementary, Northville, MI
It all started when a few teachers decided to pilot The Leader in Me in their classrooms. Their passion was contagious and the parents of students in those classrooms began to see positive changes in their children... READ MORE
Getting Started
  1. Make a presentation to the PTA/PTO organization regarding The Leader in Me, and express your desire to bring it to your school.
  2. Have the PTA/PTO consider how they can best financially support your efforts.
  3. Host an awareness event for a broader parent audience, which outlines the vision for becoming a Leader in Meschool. Involve the students.
Tools and Resources
National PTA Organization

Visit the Fundraising page

PTA Fundraising Kit

Download the kit here.

PTO Today

PTO Today has many articles on fundraising see them here.

PTA Fundraising Ideas on Pinterest

This Pinterest bord is helpful!

California PTA Advice on Fundraising

Your PTA may not operate under the same regulations but this site includes some topics you may wish to consider. Find the article here.

Other Funding

There are countless fundraising ideas. There are a lot of proven fundraising campaigns you could try, or this is also an opportunity to be creative and consider out-of-the-box ideas.

Here are a few that have worked for other Leader in Me schools.

Host a Fun Run/5k

A healthy, fun way to involve the community. Participants can pay an entrance fee; maybe you encourage them to get sponsors for each mile.

Benefit Night at Local Restaurant

Work with a local restaurant to receive a portion of the profits from a predetermined night. Publicize the date encouraging participation.

Crowdsource Funding

Let the masses help you. There are a large number of crowdfunding sites on the internet.

Earn Money while Others Shop

Companies like Amazon, iGive, and Benefit Mobile allow you to register your school to receive donations based on select purchases.

Student Door-to-Door Campaigns

A wide variety of student fundraising campaigns are available with everything from candy bars to discount cards.

Getting Started
  1. Host brainstorming meetings with staff, parents, students, and school board members. Don’t worry about cost, feasibility, or other potential roadblocks at this point. Right now you want to capture ideas so ask a note-taker to note all suggestions.
  2. 1. Form a committee. Look for individuals with a desire to help.
  3. Review all fundraising suggestions captured during the brainstorming meetings. Start by categorizing them into groups such as easy ideas, small budget, large budget, more earning potential, etc.
  4. 1. No doubt ideas will rise to the top so make a plan and start fundraising.
Tools and Resources
Top Crowdsource Funding Websites

Click here to learn about crowdsource funding and the top companies offering this service.

Fundraising companies

There are many companies who help schools with fundraisers by selling a product to parents and a portion of the proceeds comes back to a school such as here.

A Fresh Look at Healthy Fundraisers for Schools

Take a healthy approaching to fundraising. This guidebook was prepared by the East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office and the Strategic Alliance for Health, in conjunction with the New York City Department of Health. Download this guidebook here.