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The Financial Breakdown
Paper Airplanes relies on hundreds of volunteers to provide basic instruction to people affected by conflict, reaching over 300 learners across the Middle East every semester. Our three part-time paid staff members work with 24 volunteer staffers to organize, oversee, and direct the organization remotely. We use Google Drive and Skype as our primary operating platforms to manage and reach beneficiaries and volunteers alike.
Our organization has reached a critical financial stage of growth. We want to double the number of students, grow our staff to include at least 25% former program beneficiaries, and pay for student exam costs. However, we need financial support in order to expand.
This allows us to support students financially through employment opportunities and direct services, and allows us to increase beneficiary oversight and support. However, our impact with this funding remains low. We will be forced to keep the number of beneficiaries under 500, and we will not be able to hire new Turkish language specialists or start additional courses to meet the needs of our students.
This allows us to improve our efficiency, support our students, and expand our programming. At this level, we can expand slightly by launching a new program and increasing efficiency. Still, without new systems for managing data and automating tasks, our existing programs will not be able to reach significantly more students.
Scaling is important. Due to limited managerial capacity and oversight capability, we are forced to turn away over 300 prospective students and tutors each semester, with many more likely interested in the application if we left it open. If we want to serve a larger population, we need to improve our management infrastructure, automatically tracking and training tutors and their students, creating testing mechanisms that can grade themselves, and allowing students to easily access our resources rather than rely on unpaid labor to do it for us. Integrating our systems will allow us to better keep track of our students and will allow us to increase how many we serve.