How to Secure Funding for Your Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program

A top challenge many schools face when implementing a social and emotional learning (SEL) program is finding adequate, long-term funding. Staff planning time and training, quality SEL curriculum and assessments, and implementation consultants are all important components of any successful SEL program, but they do require financial support.

There are many ways to fund an SEL program, including procuring resources from local and state education agencies, private foundations, and federal programs. Do you know how to find and access these sources so that you understand the options available to you?

Here are four funding tips to help you get the resources you need to support a successful and sustainable SEL program.

Figure Out Your SEL Budget

When planning your SEL program, be sure to map out a budget with sustainability in mind. Whether you are just beginning an SEL program pilot or are expanding SEL curriculum and assessments across your entire district, you need to make sure you are planning for the long term.

CASEL’s “Roadmap to Financial Sustainability” is a great resource to help you work through the process. This tool includes actual site SEL budgets, handy budget calculators, and case studies about a variety of district SEL program implementations. Use the models as a guide for crafting an SEL program that will work for your district. 

Broaden Your SEL Research Vocabulary

When looking for funding, it is important to keep in mind the broad range of terminology that describes the many different aspects of SEL. Widening your search beyond the general term “SEL” will increase your search results. Here are some phrases to consider to broaden the net:

  • social and emotional competencies
  • school climate and culture
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
  • character education
  • conflict resolution
  • bullying prevention
  • resilience building
  • equity
  • trauma-informed practices
  • school safety
  • positive youth development
  • 21st century skills
  • chronic absenteeism
  • personalized learning
  • restorative justice
  • differentiated learning
  • college and career readiness

Cultivate Community Support

Increasing local support and awareness of your SEL program will go a long way toward increasing state and local SEL funding. The majority of K-12 funding comes from state and local sources, so it is vital to inform decision makers on why SEL should be prioritized. Start a campaign to educate community leaders, school board members, and superintendents about the short- and long-term benefits of SEL. Help local leadership understand that investing in SEL now will help more students graduate, and that every dollar invested in SEL ultimately results in eleven dollars in future gains to the economy (Belfield, et al., 2015). Once community leaders feel engaged, they are more likely to support sustainable funding sources for SEL.

Identify Funding Sources

From federal legislation assistance to private and government grants, there are many funding sources local education agencies and out-of-school organizations can use to support SEL programs. Here are some resources to get you the funding you need:

We understand the importance of long-term funding of your SEL program. Our experts are happy to help you explore funding resources and programs that will increase the longevity and sustainability of your SEL program. Contact us through the form below.

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