AspireIT Toolkit: Plan and Apply



Step 1: Fully Understand AspireIT

If you have not already done so, check out the following videos to help you understand what AspireIT is all about, and what it means to be an AspireIT Leader or Partner Organization:

AspireIT 101 Video: AspireIT Potential Leader Video: AspireIT Potential Partner Organization Video:



Step 2: Make Sure You Are a Member

Revisit the following webpages:



Step 3: Determine Program Basics and Build Your Proposal Team

Before you can continue any further on your journey, you must:

a) understand the requirements of an AspireIT program
b) think about your program basics (for example, age, curriculum, and goals)
c) find a Partner Organization/Leader (collectively the Proposal Team)
d) confirm your intent to apply

Your initial program ideas might change as you and your Leader/Partner Organization connect, but having thought about it a little will make building your Proposal Team much easier.

a) Understand the Requirements of an AspireIT Program

Make sure you read through the Request for Proposals (RFP). Even if you have applied before, we may have made updates from previous round, and it is your responsibility to read and understand the requirements for the current round for which you are applying. (View the RFP online using the button below.)

b) Think About Your Program Basics

c) Find a Partner Organization/Leader (Collectively the Proposal Team)

Before you can proceed further, your Proposal Team must consist of an AspireIT Leader and an AspireIT Partner Organization. (Already have your team? GREAT! Skip ahead to Step 4.)

Start out by reviewing the video below that further explains the Leader-Partner relationship and how to find a counterpart.

After viewing the video above, AspireIT Leaders and Partner Organizations can follow the steps and recommendations in the table below to build their Proposal Teams.

AspireIT Leaders: Find a Partner Organization

AspireIT Partner Organizations: Find a Leader

  • Start by filling out this form to express your interest in becoming an AspireIT Leader. Note that Potential Partner Organizations can view this list, and NCWIT will also use this to help find you a partner.

  • Reach out, and talk to people! The Approaching a Potential Partner Organization document will provide you with tips and a sample script, and the Leader & Partner Organization Roles document can help clarify roles.
    • Connect with AspireIT Partner Organizations looking for Leaders. (View the list of Partner Organizations that are looking for Leaders online.)

    • Contact NCWIT Academic and K-12 Alliance Members near you about becoming an AspireIT Partner Organization. (Check the lists of Academic Alliance members, national K-12 Alliance members, and local K-12 Alliance associate members online.)

    • Get out in your community, and talk to people! Schools, local universities, libraries, community centers, Girl Scout Councils, Girls Inc., Boys & Girls Club, and other places are all great for making connections.

    • Ask your peers for contacts and ideas through the secret “NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Community” Facebook group. (Not sure if you are a part of this group? Contact [email protected] for verification or an invitation.)
  • Start by reviewing the Sample NCWIT Partnership Agreement. (Since your organization will be required to sign such an agreement, if awarded a program, now is a good time to take a first look. Make sure you know who within your organization will need to sign, and make sure that they and the organization are willing to do so.)

  • Start by seeing if you are listed in this table - if you are not listed, follow the link at the top to express your interest in becoming an AspireIT Partner Organization. Note that potential AspireIT Leaders can view this list, and NCWIT will also use this to help you find a leader.

  • Check out the list of AspireIT Leaders looking for Partner Organizations online. Email us at [email protected] with the name of your organization, and we would be happy to connect you. (Per NCWIT privacy policies, we do not give out AspireIT Leaders’ contact information.)

  • Connect with women in college (undergraduate or graduate) who are majoring or minoring in computing about becoming an AspireIT Leader. They can apply to become an Aspirations in Computing Community member, and then serve as the AspireIT Leader for your program. (Direct them to the Community webpage to get started:



Step 4: Register Your Program and Partnership

AspireIT Leaders

AspireIT Partner Organizations

Log into either or, and complete the AspireIT Registration Form (which is made available when each round of overall AspireIT applications are open). This is how you officially register your program and notify us that you are planning to apply (so we can contact you with any application updates).

Receive a Partner Verification email, and confirm your agreement to partner with your AspireIT leader. Once completed, the AspireIT Leader will receive an email with a link to the online application.



Step 5: Build an Engaging Program

Remember that AspireIT is as much about leadership development for AspireIT Leaders as it is about engaging young women in exploring computer science. The Proposal Team of Leader(s) and Partner(s) should work together to build a strong, exciting, and engaging program. This takes work, but your efforts will not only become apparent in your application to us, but will also make your implementation work easier. Working your way through the following videos and handouts will aid you:

  • Start with the Leader & Partner Relationship Guide, which outlines how your Proposal Team can “set ground rules” and understand how each of you will work together.

  • Check out the Creating an Engaging Program training videos and resources (in particular, Sections 1-3). This will help you understand the required social issue component, what makes a program engaging for participants, and how to ensure your program is inclusive of all age levels and learning styles.

  • Thinking about a virtual component to your implementation — either for training/planning or implementation? Find tips in the Virtual Leading Guide.

Keep in mind that it is the AspireIT Leader who will prepare the funding application for submission to NCWIT, as explained in Step 5.



Step 6: Prepare and Submit a Request for Funds

After completing Steps 1-4, preparing your application for funding to NCWIT will be a cinch! Use the following documents to draft your proposal and budget with your AspireIT Proposal Team:

The AspireIT Leader will then transfer to the online application for funding (via the link emailed to the AspireIT Leader after the Partner Verification in Step 4). Once prepared, the Partner Organization will need to review the completed application and budget, and then make the final submission to NCWIT for review.

Need more funding than what NCWIT can provide? Review the Budget and Fundraising Guide.





AspireIT Toolkit


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