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Grant Writing Tips
You will find hints that will help you as you begin to write your grant proposals located in this section of the SchoolGrants site.
If you have suggestions you'd like to share with the SchoolGrants community, please send them to me! Everyone is encouraged to share as it is only through open communication and giving that our Nation's schools and its youngsters benefit most.
(as published in previous editions of SchoolGrants Newsletter)
10 Grant Writing Tips
(this page will load more slowly - there are a lot of graphics on it)
The most important thing for grant-writers to remember is that they might submit a perfect application and still receive a rejection. Most foundations have limited resources with which to fund projects. Do not get discouraged if you get a rejection from a possible funding source.
READ the grantor's guidelines and instructions carefully. Do not try to make the grantor's program fit what you want to do - your program must be in line with the funding agency's priorities.
Ideas should be innovative, creative and educational. Grantors will rarely fund operating expenses - they usually invest in supplemental programs. Private foundations often seek creative solutions to problems/needs, but they usually do not wish to fund risky projects. Try proposing a project that puts a fresh spin on an existing idea.
Keep your goals realistic! It is important to have an evaluation plan. Grantors want to know if the projects they fund are successful--that your project is meeting its goals.
Is your project replicable? If so, tell the grantor how you plan to extend the project to other grades or schools.
Have a reasonable, detailed budget. Do your homework on costs prior to submitting your application and be sure to explain your budget even if there are no requirements to do so.
If possible, cite research that supports the program for which you are requesting funding. SchoolGrants provides links to a number of helpful resources where you will find surveys and research to support various projects. (Those who have purchased the SchoolGrants Let's Write a Grant interactive CD have access to links to an assortment of research reports that will assist them in their grant-writing efforts. Information for accessing these reports is on the CD.)
Clarity in communicating your ideas is very important. Have someone who is not involved in the project in any way read and critique your draft application. (Checklists are included on the Let's Write a Grant CD to facilitate this review.)
Proofread! Spelling and grammar errors do not convey a positive image.
Follow the grantor's instructions to the letter. Applications are turned away when they do not exactly meet the funding agency's requirements.
If your project is rejected, ask the grantor for reviewer comments. The comments can offer invaluable tips for improving your future grant applications. Never forget to write thank-you notes - even if your project is not funded initially!
Take time to review some successful proposals. This is a great learning tool. A number of generous individuals have shared their successful proposals with SchoolGrants and, in most cases, you may view them online and/or download them in MS Word 6.0. Go to the Sample Proposals page to see the various proposals that have been contributed.
A word of caution: sample proposals are not provided for you to copy in any way nor should they be used to give you ideas for a grant. The chances that you can copy someone else's work (which is illegal) and receive funding are slim as the program will not be designed for your particular students or teachers.
The SchoolGrants Let's Write a Grant CD also includes sample proposals on it.
Creating an Organizational Mission Statement
Tony Poderis says, "The Mission Statement declares "why" an organization exists, and is the only foundation upon which a long-range strategic plan (the blueprint for carrying out the organization's "business") can be developed." You must have a well-written and thoughtful mission statement in order to successfully seek grant funding. This article gives detailed information on creating an effective mission statement for your organization.
Establishing Grant Writing Teams
This tip is provided by Dr. GilWoolard*. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Dr. Gil!
Establish a "School Grant Team" composed of five to seven faculty members who are interested in writing grants. Include a good researcher or Librarian, a good writer, and a good English "proofer", and a good typist or word processor on the team. This spreads out the work load, so no one person has to take all the responsibility...and reduces the hours spent writing grants after school! One head is better than two, anyway, or my favorite saying, "The total is greater than the sum of the parts." This has worked well for me in several districts, but it works best where you can get the Board and superintendent to offer a ten percent bonus to any person or team (local funds only) who writes and receives a grant from sources not normally used (like 'flow-through' grant funds that many state departments of education use to distribute state/federal funds).
*Dr. Woolard has written several books, numerous grants and has taught a number of college-level courses, including Grantwriting. He has conducted dozens of community and business needs assessments and evaluations, and now serves on retainer with several schools and businesses as a Grants Consultant & educational program advisor. Client References and referrals available by contacting him at: Dr. Gil Woolard, CFI, EdD, CPC, SCGS, Consultants for Instruction, P.O. Box 556, Camden, SC 29020. Telephone: (803) 432-7525; Email: drgil3@... Visit Dr. Gil's Web site at www.consultantinstruction.com
Grant Writing Tools
Marylee Boales writes and supervises grants for a high school district in northern California. She has developed tools to help her evaluate which grants are most appropriate - based on eligibility, suitability and "supervisability". She generously shares two of the more generic tools she has developed that help her present potential grants to administration for consideration.
Download Marylee's forms (PDF format) here:
Definitions of abbreviations on the forms:
LOI - Letter of Intent/Interest
Tech Asst. - "Technical Assistance". Marylee uses this space for information about any available Bidders' Conferences associated with the grant.
General Helpful Tools
Alternate to Adobe Acrobat
Do you come across Adobe Acrobat files that will not allow you to fill them in without using a typewriter? There is a free suite available that may save you a lot of time called pdf995. Go to http://www.pdf995.com and you can download a suite of programs that allow you to create PDF formatted documents, edit PDF documents and add state-of-the-art security and encryption to protect your documents and add digital signatures. If you would rather not have pop-up ads every time you use the program, you can pay $19.95 (or $9.95 per component) for a license that also offers technical support.
For those of you writing federal proposals, it is sometimes frustrating to look for the required federal forms in a format that can be used without hunting for a typewriter. You can find education-related forms in Word and WordPerfect formats.
If you are searching for federal forms that are not education-related that you can complete on your computer, you can find PDF-fillable forms and forms in both PDF and Word formats.
Studies indicate that the one quality all successful people have is persistence. They're willing to spend more time accomplishing a task and to persevere in the face of many difficult odds. There's a very positive relationship between people's ability to accomplish any task and the time they're willing to spend on it. --Joyce Brothers
Copyright © 1999-2004 Donna Fernandez. All rights reserved.