Topic: Student Scholarships (Karma meets Pay it Forward)  (Read 1438 times)

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Offline Michael Beechey

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Student Scholarships (Karma meets Pay it Forward)
« on: September 13, 2013, 02:53 PM »
When I wrote the business plan for my home based teaching studio, I included a section on what is now called Triple Bottom Line, which is in part a commitment to putting back into the community as part of the basic business ethics of the company. A mandatory building block, not something that kicks in at some time of possible future success.

My plan was to have 1 student scholarship for every ten paid. In the business plan I didn't get into what that would look like. I am fast approaching that first milestone, and have not yet figured out the mechanics of achieving that particular goal...on what basis the scholarship should be granted/administered, i.e. financial need, competition based on skill or progress, chosen from existing students or a new student...how long the duration should be, 1 month/term/year? etc etc.

I just started doing a community volunteering session band session every Mon morning, oldie covers for a gathering of special needs adults, who turn out to be one of the most enthusiastic groups I have ever played for. So one possibility would be to offer the scholarship to one of those attendants.

At this point I am not addressing those teachers who have advised me to "never give anything away" I have found good success with my free trial lesson strategy. I notice that those who have been in the business for a number of year tend to be quite convinced of the necessity of generating and keeping every dollar you can, which I cannot disagree with, especially in this changing economy based on "80 is the new 65" = work till you drop.

Any ideas?
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Offline Angus Macinnes

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Re: Student Scholarships (Karma meets Pay it Forward)
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 04:21 PM »
Hi Michael, you might want to talk to the local school band directors they might be able to point you in the direction of some students that would be deserving of your program.  Good luck with it and I am impressed with your desire to pay it forward.

Online Bart Elliott

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Re: Student Scholarships (Karma meets Pay it Forward)
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 05:39 PM »
There is a lot to talk about, so I'll just hit a few points.

I don't think it's bad business to give something away. I think it is important, however, to think things through and set healthy boundaries with "paying it forward" or "giving it away."  Setting a clear boundary and communicating that clearly in your business plan or to your clients, should keep everything in balance. Some people will take advantage of the situation sometimes, but that will happen regardless of what you do or don't do.

As far as having to spell everything out ... I don't think you have to do that, unless you are using that as a selling point. It could be as simple as letting people know that you give back to the community; they'll get the idea.

An example for me would be Drummer Cafe. While I don't market to the fact that I pay it forward, I do let the community know when I'm helping out or paying it forward. I've contributed, on behalf of Drummer Cafe, to numerous Kickstarter projects, given towards scholarships for younger musicians, and helping with musicians who are struggling financially. Drummer Cafe also provides services and products for free or extremely reduced rates for those in need or who can't afford something.

One negative about telegraphing that you will "give it away" or plan to "pay it forward" is that you will see an increase in people looking for handouts or freebies ... even when they can afford to pay for something. I like keeping it close to the vest, which allows ME to decide to whom and what I contribute or give to. I can remember when I first started my business, people were coming out of the woodwork, looking for a handout. The assume that if you act professional and look first-class ... you must be rolling in $$$ ... which is FAR from the truth.

I've wanted to set up a student scholarship here at the Drummer Cafe and have students apply for the scholarship, choosing the recipient based on need, goals, skill and talent. It could be a real benefit, especially when a scholarship could wave out-of-state tuition at a college or university.

Offline Michael Beechey

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Re: Student Scholarships (Karma meets Pay it Forward)
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 05:50 PM »
There is a lot to talk about, so I'll just hit a few points.


I agree about keeping it close to the chest. It is not mean by any means to be part of the sales pitch. The business plan was only seen by the adjudication panel for the project, so it's not public knowledge, so I am not even obligated to follow this premise, I just want to.

Part of the not working this through entirely is that I didn't plan to necessarily announce this scholarship, just quietly make it happen for a needy soul. Defining what "need" is is the challenge now....financial, reward for progress? etc.

I also agree with your point of making it part of my self promotion to mention any donations I might make to community service on behalf of my business.

I could perhaps add the vague ethical statement to my site, something like the goal " to actively search for opportunities to to contribute back to the community wherever possible."

thanks again for your input and congratulations on your long streak of persistent service to the drumming community...always coming up with new ways of spreading the word of the joy of drumming, while treading the slippery tightrope of financial reality!
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