Over the years I've talked to hundreds of people about writing grants. As I think back over those conversations, most of them seem to center on three big hurdles that grant writers face before they can write a winning grant proposal.
[content block] The first of those hurdles is understanding the grant process in general. Why do foundations, state governments, and the federal government give grant money to schools? There are many different reasons, but the main ones include improving student academic programs, fostering teacher training, or building positive relationships. (As a general rule, granting agencies don't tend to give money for trips to Europe, football stadiums, or band uniforms.) By researching and studying the grant process, you -- as a grant writer -- can come to understand why and how free money is given to schools. If you don't understand the process, your chances of getting grant money will be limited.
The second hurdle is finding the grants that match your school's needs. Most grants are listed someplace on the Internet. You can find them if you are willing to dedicate time and effort to that task. Of course, search engines can be helpful too. And grant newsletters can provide some direction. But the easiest way to match your school's needs with grants is by using a grant database. First know the problems your school is experiencing, then use a grant database to match those needs to available grants.
The third common hurdle is simply getting started. There are many good reasons for making the effort to capture some of the grant money that's out there. Unfortunately, there are ten times as many reasons for putting off getting started. There are an unlimited number of excuses to put off grant writing, but if you can get started you will win grant money. Now don't get me wrong -- you might not win the first grant for which you apply. You might have to apply two, three, or even four times before you get your first grant. Winning grants is a numbers game. But the main number is One. If you don't apply for your first grant, I'll guarantee you'll never apply for a second or third one.
Do you really want to write winning grant applications? You can do it. You just need to thoroughly understand the process, find the grants that match up with your school's needs, and get started -- now!
Tackle those three hurdles, and you'll be getting grant money for your school or classroom before you know it.
Don Peek is former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. Learn more about The School Funding Center at the bottom of this newsletter.
Article by Don Peek
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