As funding and budgets continue to be cut, more and more teachers are turning to grants to support their classroom projects. Even though grant-writing may seem daunting, there are many resources online for teachers that can make it a virtually painless process.
First, Education World has created a great guide for educators. Besides breaking down the grant process and including a list of other resources, the site also includes some expert tips for first-time grant writers.
Some favorites are:
1. Have a clear plan for your project. Know what you want to accomplish and the steps you will take to do it.
2. If you can find grants that others have submitted, read them and get a feel for the writing. (Don’t copy the grant)
3. Try to have a “hook” — something different that will make your grant stand out from the many submissions.
4. Include statistics. Prove your points. Don’t just say students can’t read. Give facts to back up your claims.
5. 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 (such as Palm Pilots) 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.
6. Be sure to include the necessary staff development to make the project a success. Too many people skimp on that area.
7. Don’t give up because you’re rejected. It takes time and dedication to get projects funded.
8. 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.
9. 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.
Also, Joseph Lavine, a professor at Michigan State University, created a very detailed Guide to Writing a Grant Funding Proposal with a complete breakdown of the steps to take when considering writing a grant (and great examples for each step!).
Do you have any other grant writing stories or tips to share? Comment below! Also, be sure to check out various STEM grant opportunities on the RACCEMS website!