If you really have a good idea for a teaching project, but no budget to cover expenses, you might want to try to apply for a grant to fund it. Grants are funded through your district, your state board of education, and hundreds of private foundations and local businesses —all award money for educational projects and programs from simple to complex. Start simple to learn…
The Art of Grantwriting
Money is given to fund educational programs by funding sources with a pre-determined philosophical idea of the programs and projects they are willing to back. Funders also determine the procedures they want you to follow before awarding the money. Therefore if you intend to be funded, you need to make sure your school’s problems can be solved by the funding source you are soliciting and that you support your program with strong quantititative and qualitative data.
When a school finds a funder that meets its program’s needs, the proposal should tell the story about the problems, provide plans on how this will happen ( the problem will be solved), and describe the necessary costs and personnel to make this project come true..
“Grant writing is a cross between technical writing & creative writing.”
Where does money come from?
How do you find potential funding sources? Start by talking with colleagues who have already received grants. To learn about national organizations that give out grants consult the Foundation Directory, a huge reference guide available in most libraries.
Grant monies come from a wide variety of resources including federal funds, state funds, private donations, foundations, local businesses, and your own school graduates. Remember that any resource no matter how small can help you fund your program. It is often easier to collect $100 from 100 people than $10,000. from one source. The 100 people require only a thank you letter while the major source may require extensive paperwork. Most companies have to give some money away as part of their tax structure. Your job is to convince them to give the money to you.
” If we see ourselves as proactive participants in the creation of our own future, we can harness the hurricane forces of change and direct them to a higher quality of life for all people.” David Thornburg
While all grant applications are not the same, and some grants like those offered by the Education Department are quite complicated, every grant includes certain elements. Review and follow the Secrets and tips for having the anatomy of a winning grant proposal. In addition, you will find teacher tested tips and a time line approach to guide you through the process. So make this the year you get that grant. It is easier than you think.
“Grant writing isn’t difficult, but it takes work & is time consuming.”
Secret Successful Grantwriter’s Tips:.
When you plan /prepare your grant, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Give yourself twice as much time as you think you need—4 months isn’t too much time for a mini-grant.
- Enlist friends to read, edit, and double check your proposal drafts.
- Write in simple English, avoid jargon.
- Use section headings to improve readability.
- Be Positive—describe program benefits-do not bemoan budget cuts.
- Put all your important information in your proposal ( not in appendix).
- Address the cover letter to a specific contact person.
- Submit your proposal in advance of the deadline by certified mail.
- Keep a copy of the proposal ( electronic and hard copy)
Ten steps to Success: Create a Time Line:
(to help yourself finish your grant proposal, set up a time line and track every step).
Mini-grant project Week
Activity 1 2 4 6 8 10 12
1. Develop a proposal idea _______
2. Research funding sources_______________
3. Get guidelines and plan proposal.___________
4. Gather data. __________________
5. Write objectives____________
6. Write methods______________
7. Write budget________________
8. Share with committee_________
9. Finalize proposal_____________
Begin with a small grant in your own school district or community to build your confidence in grant writing. Then search for and find larger grants for larger amounts. Take classes in grant writing to develop your skills and before you know it you will be writing and winning grants that support your grandest desires.
Grants Guru, Steven Levenson says that writing your first successful grant application takes time, understanding and effort. Start small, and learn.
Be patient with yourself as you learn this new skill. It will pay off!
“Within our dreams and aspirations, we find our opportunities.”Sue Archly Ebaugh
Download the PDF file of notes from a Grantwriters course on the parts of a grant along with some small winning grants. You want to constantly be vigilent as to where you might get what you presently need. In my last high school, I was hired as a traditional art teacher. This was after working in an art magnet in a high end Mac lab,teaching art on and off the computer, suddenly, I found myself without even a printer. I heard the yearbook teacher was getting all new machines. I immediately wrote a letter to the district officials to use rather than discard these old computers that were being upgraded, to repurpose them therefore doubling the life of those machines by extending their usefulness. They agreed and gave them to me and in my first month, I had 14 computers with the same softwares that I had in my mighty Mac lab. I found some old printers in the school, so we were set with a great place to improve upon our writing skills for artist’s statements and learn how to work in digital media. I got what I needed just for asking in a persuasive enough way to sell them on my idea.
To get a copy of the TAEA handout, download Grantwriting 101.
To read more about other’s successes in grantwriting, here’s a list of my favorite and most informative grant writing books.It is always a good idea to borrow from the benefits of others. And remember if they can do it, you can do it. As you add to your library and build your skill sets in grant writing, you will be unstoppable in bringing your vision to the world.