Once you determine that your district, school, or classroom is qualified for a particular grant, the next important step to getting grant money is delivering a quality grant proposal. Your proposal will likely be in competition with others seeking the same money. The better the application you submit, the greater your chances are of being awarded the grant money.
A quality grant proposal centers on a list of objectives or goals stated as clearly and as positively as possible. Those detailed objectives should be designed to address and solve whatever issue (a curriculum area in need of strengthening, a behavior issue, a resource need, a student achievement or attendance goal...) you have determined to be the focus of your grant application. Your objectives should be concrete and measurable.
Next, you will need to establish intermediate goals or benchmarks. Those could be set by grading period, quarter, or semester, but they should break the grant period down so you are able to measure/prove that you are making consistent progress toward your goals. Benchmarks are important. You'd never want to wait until the grant period is over to make an assessment. Assessments of some kind need to be made periodically throughout the life of the grant to show you are on the right course.
Additionally, you should include a timeline that includes what, where, and when activities will take place and who is responsible for making sure they are done properly. You will also include a detailed budget to show the cost of accomplishing all activities.
Finally, you will need to include your outcome measures. Those are similar to the benchmarks mentioned above, but now you are measuring the overall success of the grant program in relationship to the goals and objectives you set. The outcome measures might include standardized test scores or other measurements of skills that were to be developed; or the outcome measures might be as simple as showing an increase in your average daily attendance, if that was your goal. Your outcome measures prove that you accomplished your goals and that the grant money was well spent.
Many grant applications, particularly those from foundations, may not require all of this information. Provide it anyway. When you lay out your grant applications in this way, you show clearly that you know what you're doing and that you're a good planner. This planning will go a long way to ensuring that your grant application finds it way to the top of the pile; it will help you secure the grant money you need.
Article by Don Peek
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