May Your Dreams Come True: Five Grant-Writing Tips

Education Foundations absolutely rock! I’m so thankful that such generous organizations exist. As educators, we have thousands of dollars at our fingertips that can be used to enhance the learning environment for our kids. So, be a “go-getter” and DO THIS THING!

I’d be lying if I said that grant-writing was an easy process. To be honest, when the grant-writing cycle opens, I feel ALL of the emotions at once. Fear: what if I expend an immense amount of energy and the grant isn’t awarded? Excitementnew things for the classroom! Anxiety: I have way too much on my plate at this point. Writing a grant can be overwhelming, time consuming, tedious, and frustrating.

But I do it, because the kids are worth it.

If you are reading this post, then you believe that the kids are worth it too. As educators, we are in the business of putting the kids in our school above our personal comfort and free time. Writing a grant is just another way of serving the students in your classroom. As you write, you will be saying “I love you, I want more for you, and I care about your education.”

Think of grant-writing as a labor of love. Very selfless love. Ya know, the real kind.

At this point in my teaching career (going on 4 years… I’m still a newbie), I have written five grants. Three out of the five grants have been awarded. I am not a professional by any means, but I am beginning to figure out how to write a winning grant. Because I love you, I have chosen to share a few grant-writing tips. May your dreams come true! Oh, and if you make it to the bottom of this post, I have a surprise for you.

Form a GREAT Idea

There are ideas, and then there are GREAT ideas. A GREAT idea is an idea that creatively meets a need in your classroom. So, ask yourself, “What do I need in order to enhance my kids’ learning environment?” Now, if the answer to that question already has a solution somewhere in your classroom, your grant will probably not be awarded.

For example: one of my failed grants was for 110 Boogie Boards (one for every Kindergartner at my school). I realized that my class had a need to write across contents–especially on the carpet during whole-group instruction. Consequently, I wrote a grant for Boogie Boards. Can you guess why it wasn’t awarded? That’s right. We already had something just like Boogie Boards in use… whiteboards and expo markers. Don’t make my mistake. Write a grant for something that creatively addresses a need that you can not meet easily by another avenue.

Talk to the Experts

In your district, you have many happy employees that are eager to answer all of your questions and give you grant-writing advice. You might think that I am exaggerating a little… a lot maybe, but most people want to help you achieve your goals. Especially if it benefits kids.

If you are writing a grant for technology, contact your Technology Department. Tell them your ideas, and ask them for advice. They will be able to guide you towards technology your district readily supports. Keep in mind you do not want to write for technology that will quickly be outdated or incompatible with the technology the district already provides. You can bet the committee reviewing your grant will ask for the district’s advice in the grant’s reviewing process; therefore, you should ask for their wisdom throughout the grantwriting process.

If you are writing a grant for materials to enhance your curriculum, talk to the individuals in your Curriculum Department. The Curriculum Department has insights regarding what other teachers are using in their classrooms that might benefit your students. Usually, the Curriculum Department is familiar with all types of programs and materials used throughout the state of Texas.  The individuals in your Curriculum Department may have ideas and insights that are both relevant and innovative. Listen to their expertise.

If you have an off-the-wall crazy idea that doesn’t fall into either the category of curriculum or technology, I applaud you. Consider calling someone, somewhere that is using what you are considering. The more advice you can get, the better.

Research it Up

I know. After college, you thought that you would NEVER have to research again. I’m sorry, researching before writing a grant is absolutely invaluable. If you want to write a winning grant, do your research. Read the reviews and find the data that supports your grant!

If you can find data-driven research that proves the effectiveness of your grant item/materials/program, you greatly increase the chances that your grant will be awarded. If other schools are using the items/materials that you are writing for, contact them and ask them for statements regarding the effectiveness of the items/materials/programs. Include quotes, charts, and surveys in your grant. PROVE that your class would be benefited by the implementation of the grant you are writing.

Be a Team Player

It’s all about the kids, remember? You want to write a grant that helps the greatest amount of kids possible. That means, you will be writing a winning grant for your entire grade-level instead of your own personal classroom.

Education Foundations want to help children; therefore, the more children that are benefited by a grant, the more likely it is to be awarded. 

Of course, there is a time and a place for individual classroom grants. If your dream is just for your classroom, don’t let me stop you.

Realize that Failure Leads to Success

Maybe you’ve written a grant before and sadly, it wasn’t awarded. My first grant was not awarded either. Big bummer? I think not. Failure leads to success. Learn from your failures, and jump back onto the grant writing train. Evaluate your failed grant–looking for areas of weakness. Then, write your next grant with your past failures in mind. Think of failure as a learning opportunity, and grant-writing becomes a whole lot less scary. 

Congratulations!

You have made it to the bottom of this lengthy blog post. As promised, there is a prize awaiting you.

Drum roll...

You have won my help! You can email or call me, and I will do my best to guide, help, encourage, proof-read, refine, etc. Whatever you need, I am here for you.

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