How to Write a GrantHow to get funding from outside sources for your classroom.
What is a grant?A grant is money that is provided by a foundation or governmental agency for the purposes of accomplishing a particular project.Foundations give money to better the world (or to better the image of the corporation).Governments give money to allow expansion of services.Grants dont pay for bread and butterelectricity or salaries of regular employees.Grants pay for special, time-limited projects.
How do I apply?To apply for a grant, you need to find a request for proposals that fits your circumstancesLook on the web. Search terms to consider: education, grant, arts, elementary, foundation. You could also describe the characteristics of the school where you hope to teache.g., rural, urban.
Getting an IdeaThe first thing to do is to think about what you want to accomplish in your classroom. Make a list of possible projects that would benefit your students.Think short term and long term. For example, getting a classroom set of musical instruments would benefit students for a long time (the life of the instruments). Getting a new special computer program would benefit students for 3-4 years. Getting funding to go on a special field trip would benefit one group of students.
Getting an IdeaAre there special events coming up in your community? A grant could help you and your students learn about your communitys history.Do your students have special needs? For example, if your school has students that are often truant, establishing a drumming group might help with attendance and attitude.
Getting an IdeaIs there a special program available to schools? For example, you could apply for funds to bring musicians or other artists into your school for a special project.Does your school have a resource that could be used? For example, you could write a grant to turn a piece of school property into a pond or a special garden.
Getting an IdeaIs there a topic that your students have really loved studying? Would there be something extra you could do on that topic with some extra money? For example, taking a field trip, having a specialist visit, buying some extra resources to have available at the school.
Creating a ProgramOnce you have a basic idea, you need to contact others in your school for three reasons. First, you need to have permission and cooperation to pursue your idea. Second, the people you talk to may have some ways of making your idea better. Solicit opinions and other peoples ideas. Finally, many grants require letters of cooperation from people involved and you will need them to be willing to write those.
Creating a ProgramThink from several perspectives. For instance, even if your program is for a short term event, if you add $500 for buying books for the school library about the subject, then students will benefit from the program for a long time. Therefore, not only will you want money for the immediate program, but also for items that would add to the program in the long run.
Creating a ProgramThink about how you can dovetail your program with what already exists. For example, most schools own computers. You probably wont have to write a grant for that. But you can write a grant for some special software that will enhance those computers or special equipment (e.g., MIDI keyboards plus software) that increase the usability of the computers.
Creating a ProgramAlso think about exactly how students will benefit from the program:Academic benefits (use benchmarks)Attitude/behavior benefitsAppreciation for others (e.g., appreciation for a culture along with relevant social studies benchmarks)Safety benefitsAccomplishment benefitsFamily benefitsConflict resolution benefits, getting along with others
Creating a ProgramThink about what you will need in order to do the program:Expendable materialsart supplies, computer supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.Permanent materialscomputer programs, books, musical instruments, etc.Specialistvisiting specialist to help with programone time or several times.
Creating a ProgramThink about how the program will really work: Is this a one day program or something that happens over a long period of time? How is it going to look/feel? Are there other issues or events that will influence your program? Use these questions to see if there are more materials you will need. (For younger students, you might need to give them a snack if you develop a program that runs after school one day a week, so you will need to plan for that).
Getting Ready to WriteFirst off, think about the materials and expertise you need. Which of these are available locally? Which of these could be donated from local businesses? A grant is a lot more convincing if you can show that part of what you need has been donated by members of the community. This includes material items and volunteer time. This type of donation is called in kind funding.
Getting Ready to WriteFor your first grant, I recommend writing a small one (less than $1000). If you have a huge project in mind that would cost more than $1000, consider how you could get one usable piece of it funded and then try for another piece later on. If you want several instruments, try for one that you can use and then try for another kind later on.
Getting Ready to WriteTalk to your administrator. This person has to be on board with your project before you begin writing. If your administrator is opposed to your project, then you would have to turn back the money and that would not be a good idea. Your school system may have a grant writer who can help you.Also, your school system may have some requirements about grants, so the appropriate people need to know what you are up to.Grant monies are serious business. You can end up on the 6 p.m. news if you mishandle them. Make sure you know how your system deals with grants and that you have all the permission you need.
Getting Ready to WriteNow, do a little research about the type of kids you are going to serve and the type of project you are going to do. What types of programs benefit the population you have in mind? What are the specific benefits?Do a little research on the type of school where you are teaching. The Ohio Dept. of Education has statistics on all Ohio schools. Whereever you are teaching, you should be able to find out information on the kids you are teaching.The purpose of this information is to give your grant an air of authority. You didnt just dream up this projectyou have some kind of idea that it is going to work just as you said it would because you have done your homework.
Grant Writing 101Do you remember the teacher who was a stickler for correctness? Your name had to be on the upper right hand corner and everything had to be in the correct format? If you had this kind of teacher, then you have had good training for writing a grant.#1 rule for writing a good grant: FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS EXACTLY.
WritingThink about your audience. The people who read grants are not necessarily teachers, so they will not know education jargon (e.g., ESL=English as a Second Language). You need to explain what you are doing very clearly so that a non-educator will understand exactly what you intend to do and how you intend to do it.
WritingMost grant readers are not moved by emotional arguments. They ARE moved by well thought out logical arguments that are backed up with research. Grant writers appreciate writing that they can understand and that is not condescending. They appreciate writing that gets to the point.
WritingGrant readers appreciate grants that have detail enough so they know that you have thought through the program very carefully. Dont ask for $500 to buy books and supplies. Instead, be specific about what books and what supplies and what they will cost.
WritingIn general, the first thing you should write when you are doing a grant are the goals and objectives. This is the center of the grant and it is your plan for what will be accomplished.
WritingGoals & ObjectivesStatement of problemProposed programThere is a chain of logic from the Statement of the Problem through the Proposed Program to the Objectives. The Proposed Program needs to be the logical result of the Statement of the Problem and the Objectives need to be the logical result of the Proposed Program.At risk students are often absent. They are not engaged in school.The creation of a program for at-risk students that is engaging (e.g., steel drum group).Goal: Steel drum group will be created.Objective: Group will meet during study hall two times a week.Objective: Twenty students will be able to be involved.Objective: Students with poor attendance record will be selected & invited.Goal: Students involved in steel drum group will improve rate of school attendance.Objective: Students involved in group will attend school at least on the days of rehearsal.The issues identified in the statement of the problem are addressed in the proposed program. The characteristics of the proposed program are part of the objectives.
Goals and ObjectivesA goal is a statement of what you are going to do.An objective is a statement about how you will do it.If your goal is to be able to drive a car, then your objectives will include passing the written test, taking a certain amount of lessons, and then passing the driving test.
WritingAfter you have written your goals and objectives, then you can write the other parts of the grant narrative. Having written the goals, you can shape the rest of the narrative so that it leads logically to the goals you have set.
AssessmentMany grants ask you to consider how you will know if your grant project is a success. Be sure you write your goals so that you can collect the right data. For example, if your project is designed to serve 25 students, promise a few less because it is better to serve a few extra than a few less. Remember that kids can be absent or they can leave the school system. If you were depending on that student for fulfillment of your grant, you might be in trouble.
AssessmentDont turn data collection into a pain for yourself or others. Consider data that is easy to collect when you set your goals. Attendance is easy to collect. Pre-tests and post-tests might be more difficult to obtain.
$$$$$Make a complete list of what things will cost. What books will you order? How much does that computer program cost? How much does it cost to take kids to the symphony or to COSI? What will bus transportation cost? What other costs will be associated with a field trip? For instance, if it is an all day field trip, how will you feed the kids lunch?
In-kind Also list donations that will help your project and how much those are worth. If the local garden center is giving you seeds and mulch for your class garden, list the name of the donor, what they are giving, and the monetary worth of it.
Letters of SupportMany grants will ask you for letters of support from those who might be involved in your program. For instance, you would need a letter from your principal, from your district, from local businesses that are donating items, and maybe even a parent whose child is involved in your project. (These are not required for the class assignment, but you need to be aware of them). Solicit these as quickly as you canwhen you first start to write the grant.
RejectionYou may get rejected. Dont worry about that. Look for somewhere else to send your grant and then REWRITE it to meet the requirements of that place.
SummaryGrants allow you to enrich your classroom, no matter how little money your district has.Grant-writing skills allow you to move around in the school systemthey enhance your professional value. Some people make a living writing grants and some do it part-time to supplement other income.