Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible to participate?

All students (aged 13-24) anywhere in the world can participate. Students must be comfortable reading/writing/speaking in English, and have access to an internet connection.

When is the deadline to register?

We accept students on a rolling basis, but we recommend getting started at the beginning of the school year to ensure you have enough time to get through the curriculum and create a successful project.

Can students participate in the program outside of school?

Yes! We encourage students to participate inside or outside of school, at a youth group, or anywhere you have an internet connection and a supportive adult to be your team advisor.

How many students can be on a team?

We encourage teams of 2-5 students, however we will make exceptions for students who prefer to work alone.

How much does it cost to participate?

The registration fees for the 2020-2021 challenge are as follows:

$20/student for 100+ students

$25/student for 20+ students

$30/student for under 20 students

This cost includes access to the online course, virtual support from mentors, and eligibility for the global competition.

How long does the program run?

The Changemaker Program curriculum contains about 40 hours of content, but can be molded and modified to fit the needs of almost any course or after school program. Our final Global Pitch competition happens in June each year, when finalists compete for funding for their projects.

What is a team advisor?

A team advisor is an adult who supports a team. This can be a teacher, professor, parent, youth group leader, coach, or any other adult in the community.

How is the program implemented in high schools?

The Changemaker Project can be implemented at the high school level as either a extra curriculuar school club or as a part of the school curriculum. As a school club, students opt-in to participate and form as many teams as they like. Clubs should have an adult team advisor to support and meet with them for 2 hours/week. Students in the club can access the curriculum independently through our online course, but should have weekly meetings with their advisor and team to check in and get support in building their projects. The Changemaker Project can also be implemented directly in the curriculum of any project-based learning course (English, Science, Computer Science, History, etc). Our social justice modules comprise about 10 hours of curriculum and our Design Thinking modules are also about 10 hours. Content can be molded to fit into your current program quite easily, as they are designed to be flexible and supplement the content you already have. We recommend students complete an additional ~10 hours outside of school to work on their projects. Schools don't have to choose between implementing TCP as a student club or as part of the curriculum; we have plenty of schools who do both!

Can a team advisor support multiple teams?

Yes; most of them do!

How much of a time commitment is involved for team advisors supporting a high school club?

Students can work on the online course fairly independently throughout the week (reading articles and participating in the discussion forum), but we recommend at least one 2-hour meeting for the whole team and team advisor to check in each week. The time commitment may increase at the end of the program, as students are completing their final projects, and it will vary based on the scope of the project and the needs of the team.

How much of a time commitment is involved for students participating in TCP as part of a high school club?

It's really up to each team how much time they want to put into The Changemaker Project. The more time a team puts in, the greater the chances that their project will be successful and stand out in the competition. We recommend meeting weekly for about two hours with your team and advisor, and the time put in outside of that is up to each individual team.

Do team advisors for high school students need to complete background checks?

Classroom teachers do not need to complete background checks in order to advise teams, since they are already cleared through their school district. Everyone else (parents, youth leaders, etc.) will need to complete a Livescan background check report in order to ensure the safety of all students. If needed, we can reimburse team advisors for the cost of the background check (usually it costs around $20-25 and can be done at most copy shops.)

If you are a team advisor for students aged 18+, you do not need to complete a background check.

What is the goal for the final project?

Final projects are judged based on how well they solve a given problem in the world. All projects will be evaluated based on a rubric which will be released during the online course and outline the criteria that should be taken into consideration when designing your project.

What kinds of projects do students create?

Students can create any kinds of projects they dream up which solve a problem in the world! This could range from an act of service, an invention, an art project, an educational campaign, a technology product, or a startup.

Check out our 2020 finalists' projects here.

What is the format of the final product that gets submitted to judges?

The final projects are submitted for judging in the form of a 3-minute video. The video should showcase the project you have created in a very clear and compelling way, with voiceover to explain why you created it, what need it fills, how much funding you are asking for, and exactly how you will use the funding.

When are the final projects due?

Project Proposals are due on March 1, 2021, pitch video submissions are due on May 25, 2021.

Before submitting these documents, you must be enrolled in our online course and we recommend you enroll at the start of the school year so that you can get the most of the course content and resources to help you in developing your project.

What happens after final projects are submitted?

Once the final projects are submitted, we have a preliminary round of judging. Finalists are selected to participate in the global pitch event in San Francisco, where they will pitch to VCs and philanthropists to compete for funding for their projects. Finalists taking part in this competition will need to submit a written statement which describes their project in more detail and outlines the proposed budget.

Do teams need to be present in San Francisco in order to participate in the global pitch event?

Teams outside of the San Francisco Bay Area region typically participate remotely, with their video pitch submission, and are judged alongside the local teams. Teams can also fundraise their own travel costs to attend the final pitch event if they would prefer to come in person.

How much funding should teams request in their pitch?

The amount of funding you request will depend entirely on the scope of your project and what it requires in order to be successful. Smaller funding requests may be more likely to get funded, but our judges are also open to larger requests if the pitch is compelling and the funds are going to be put to good use. We will have some lessons in the online course dedicated to funding, to help you plan a budget for your project and make a funding request that’s appropriate for the scope of the work you’re doing.

What happens to projects that don’t get funding?

As part of our curriculum, we have each team create a GoFundMe page for their project. This allows them to begin the fundraising process for their project by utilizing their own network. This way, even if a team doesn't win funding from TCP, they can still secure the funds they need to make their project a success.

What happens to projects that do get funded, after the challenge is over?

For all of our teams who receive funding through The Changemaker Project, we work with you to create an action plan and set you up for success. We look at what you set out to accomplish in your project, how you want to utilize the funding, what roadblocks might be in the way, and we help you create a plan that is realistic to reach your goals.

All grantees also participate in a monthly group video call with their cohort for the year following their award, to share progress updates and get support from one another and the TCP staff. During this year, teams are also required to submit four quarterly reports with updates on their project and how they've spent their funds so far, as well as any needs or challenges that are coming up as they implement the project.

What if I don't see my question answered here?

Just email (or fill in the box below) and we'll get right back to you!

How is the program implemented at universities?

At the university level, students can participate in The Changemaker Project in one of two ways: 1.If you are already doing a project for one of your courses, and it has a positive effect on the world, you can submit your project to our challenge to win funding. 2. Outside of your courses, you can also form a Changemaker Project club at your school (or build it into an existing club with a social/environmental justice mission) Within your club, you can form teams and access our online content to help you build an innovative solution to a problem that you care about.

Do you offer professional development for Team Advisors/teachers?

Yes, we require teachers to go through an online course (about 2 hours) before teaching The Changemaker Project program. We also offer live webinars for teachers to meet one another, get their questions answered, and learn best practices for teaching our curriculum. Sign up on our teacher's page to find out about upcoming live trainings.