By Teachers, For Teachers
With late winter and spring deadlines approaching, now is the time to find and apply for teaching grants.
Check out these tips to getting grant funding for your classroom or school projects.
Getting Your Teaching Grants Search Started
Start with a Grant-worthy Project
Before you dive into your teaching grants search, figure out what you want to do in class.
Are you interested in implementing a clicker system, getting calculators, building your classroom library? Focus and set specific goals that this funding will help you achieve.
Knowing what you want to do with focus your search for what teaching grants fit best for you.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
If you need the money now, you’re already too late. Moral of the story: plan ahead.
Even though all we can think about right now is making it to break, it’s time to start thinking about grants for next year!
Get Backing from Your Administrators
Not only might your principal or superintendent know what grants are available, you may also need their authorization and support as you get farther in the process. In fact, some federal grants cap the number of applications a school or district can make.
Searching for Grants
Once you know the specifics for your projects, try searching the internet for matching grants (for instance, if you want iPads for your classroom, maybe Apple have grant opportunities).
You can also keep an eye out for grants as they arise. Here are a few sites to check out:
A Match Made in Grant Heaven
Once you’ve found a possible funding match, make sure to read all of the requirements to ensure that your proposal is within the giving priorities of the organization.
If you're writing an original funding request for DonorsChoose.org, make your entry stand out to potential donors. Donors get to hand-pick their projects, so you'll want to catch their attention with a well written, persuasive proposal. Don't forget to detail specific goals that their funds will help you achieve.
Example: If funders say they are accepting applications for early childhood programs, do not submit an application for your high school math program. This is a waste of your time.
Writing a 5-Star Grant Application
Follow the Directions
When you receive the grant application, read the directions carefully.
Many foundations won’t even read proposals if they do not follow the rules. Example: If they ask for the proposal to be written in a certain font size and type, make sure it is.
The 3 S’s of a Winning Proposal
It can be tempting to make generalized claims about how this grant will mean so much to your students and make a difference, but these kinds of statements don’t express specifics about what their money will help you achieve.
Also, keep the outcome this project as the focus rather than the things you need to make it happen.
Show Supporting Evidence
Show that there is a need in your community, and demonstrate how your project will meet that need. The statement of need should be compelling, thought-through, well-documented with objective evidence.
1) Have a detailed plan on how to implement that project
2) Make sure the application is presented clearly and is easy to understand
3) Be clear about why you want this grant
4) State your school/classroom/students needs clearly
5) Make sure you have clear, realistic goals and objectives for the project
6) Make sure you have an assessment strategy to measure your project’s success
Demonstrate project logic and outcome, impact of funds, and community support
Set Yourself Apart
With school budgets being slashed around the country, grant competition is sure to be fierce.
What makes you different from every other grant request coming across their desk?
Are you taking an innovative approach?
Does your project have research-based support showing it’ll be successful?
Argue persuasive reasons why you deserve this funding more than any other applicant.
Plan Your Budget
Some funders look at the budget before reading the rest of the proposal so it is important that it be clear and pay attention to guidelines set out by the grantmaker.
Appeal to the Organization's Goals
Make sure your proposal is within the giving priorities of the organization. To do this, review their mission statement, goals and previous grant winners. You’ll be able to align your project with their goals using their buzzwords.
Grantmakers will likely be following and promoting your project once it’s been granted, so it should be something that will look good for them as well as you.
Didn’t Find the Right Funding Fit?
Make Your Own Opportunities
Contact local businesses to see if they would be interested in supporting the project. Local businesses are more likely to give to local causes. Make sure to offer them recognition and publicity for their contributions.
Now is the perfect time to get in on businesses end-of-the-year charitable giving!! Take advantage of the end of the fiscal year and get requests out and completed before January 1.
Many places also have a set amount of money that they have to give out every year. If there is a large corporation nearby, get in touch with their corporate giving office and try to start a relationship with the person who makes the giving decisions. Again, tell them how great the project is for the community, and make sure to offer recognition and publicity in return for a donation.
Have your own tips for getting teaching grants? Share in the comments section!