It pays to be nice to funders. (And it’s trendy, too.)

There is a shift occurring when it comes to working with funders, and in particular, the government. Today savvy educators and program directors are demonstrating how funding makes a difference, rather than simply asking for more and more and more. Demonstrating the impact that funding makes is a less antagonistic, more positive approach. It is a growing trend in the non-profit and voluntary sectors (National Council for Voluntary Organizations, n.d.) and is also emerging as a trend in education.

The Movement for Canadian Literacy (2009) asserts that literacy and language organizations are are “moving away from the adversarial, activist approaches of the past, to take increased responsibility for building stronger, more positive communication and working relationships with government“ (p.12). The new trend is that after clearly demonstrating the positive impact funders have made on students and prorams, language leaders say, “See the impact your contribution has made? Thank you. Thank you for investing in our students and our future. Their future. Now let’s see what can accomplish with your continued support…” Seeing government and funders as partners and “investors in the future” is a trend that is likely to continue.


Movement for Canadian Literacy. (2009). Ready or Not… Perspectives on literacy and essential skills in this economic downturn: A Canadian baseline study. Ottawa. Retrieved from:

National Council for Voluntary Organizations. (n.d.). Demonstrate Your Impact.   Retrieved May 27, 2010, from


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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