The following tips are for educators about to embark on the school grant application process for the first time.
Writing Your School Grant Application Proposal
- Have a clear plan for your project. Know what you want to accomplish and the steps you will take to do it.
- If you can find grants that others have submitted, read them and get a feel for the writing. (Don’t copy any grant proposal!)
- Find out in advance what kinds of projects the granter will and will not fund.
- Try to have a “hook” — something different that will make your grant stand out from the many submissions.
- Include statistics. Prove your points. Don’t just say students can’t read. Give facts to back up your claims.
- Make sure your goals are measurable and realistic. You can’t realistically say 100 percent of students will read above grade level at the completion of the project.
- Do not make your grant tech heavy. Everyone wants equipment. Make the equipment a byproduct of the project: ‘it just so happens’ that a few handheld computers are needed to improve students’ ability to meet the desired goal. Don’t ignore the amount that will be spent on technology, but it should not be the main emphasis of the narrative. Student or staff achievement should be the focus of your proposal.
- Be sure to include the necessary staff development to make the project a success. Too many people skimp on that area.
- Make sure the timeline of the grant matches the grantor’s funding cycle. If that’s unknown, it’s better to use ‘phase 1’ and ‘phase 2’ or ‘month’ 1, 2, 3, etc. than specific dates.
- Don’t pad the budget. Most reviewers know the costs of the equipment and other needs. If you inflate costs, you probably will not be funded.
- Know who the evaluators will be — business leaders, educators, government officials, and so on.
- If possible, become a grant reviewer. (Most states accept volunteers.) That will allow you to see the kinds of projects that are funded, how the review process works, what types of projects people are writing, and how good or poor the writing is.
- Don’t give up because you’re rejected. It takes time and dedication to get projects funded.
- If you are rejected, submit the same project to different groups, companies, and organizations. Just be sure to make improvements and change the format, if necessary, to meet the new criteria.
- Remember, once you are awarded the grant, someone has to implement it and make sure everything you said would be done is done in a timely manner, and that the money is spent properly. That takes a lot of time.