Applying for a grant can be a long, complicated, and intimidating process. While many organizations are able to hire full-time grant writers who have been professionally trained to manage these applications, public school educators often find themselves going it alone.
Wading through the complex applications is worth it, though, because grants can be a major asset for teachers. They can provide funding for innovative programs that improve and expand classroom instruction and ultimately increase student engagement.
Countless organizations, from the federal government to private companies and nonprofit organizations, offer grants, fellowships and scholarships for teachers. The opportunity is out there; it’s just a matter of finding those that are the right fit.
Educators who are new to grant-writing can start by researching possible opportunities. Here are a few websites that keep updated lists of grant deadlines:
Once a specific grant opportunity has been identified, it’s time to get down to the work of writing the grant proposal. Here are six tips to get started:
- Be confident. First and foremost, don’t let intimidation stop you from going after a grant you know is a good fit for your school or classroom. Successful grant writing takes practice, and you’ll get better with each attempt.
- Write clearly and concisely. Ditch the jargon, unfamiliar acronyms, and complex language. It’s about clearly conveying your objective, not filling up pages. Start with a two- or three-sentence project summary then follow up with program specifics. The summary will help you focus and will quickly present your core ideas to the grant reviewer.
- Identify measurable goals. Be specific about the anticipated outcomes and outputs of the program. Avoid nebulous statements like “students will learn” and instead use action-oriented language, such as “students will demonstrate” or “the program will produce.”
- Follow the rules. Each grant application has its own unique requirements. Follow the submission guidelines carefully and thoroughly, particularly in terms of length and format.
- Collaborate. No classroom should operate in a vacuum. Capitalize on opportunities for collaboration with one or two other subject areas or identify ways to incorporate technology into your program.
- Don’t give up. If you aren’t awarded the grant the first time around, utilize any feedback you receive to improve upon the application. You may consider reapplying for the same grant in a subsequent year or reworking the application for another grant opportunity.