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Peek's Perspective

Starting the
New Year Right


While I concede that many New Years resolutions are broken within just a few days or weeks of our making them, I still think they are important at this time of year because they help to give us focus. Since most of you reading this article are not full-time grant writers, writing down your school's grant goals for the year can be extremely helpful.

[content block] Following are a handful of sample resolutions that you might adapt in order to create your own:

1. This year, I will write 5 grants for my school.

2. I will continue to write grants during the year until I receive at least $300,000 for my school.

3. By February, I will subscribe to a good grant database, which I will use monthly so I can spend more time writing grants and less time looking for grants to write.

4. This year, I will establish at my school a grant committee that will be charged with finding and writing more grants.

5. I will establish two new programs in my school by writing grants to finance them.

6. I will thoroughly evaluate our current programs at least twice during the year to determine which ones need to be repaired or expanded.

7. I will take a course in grant writing this year to ensure that I am submitting the best possible grant applications.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of possible grant-writing New Years resolutions. It might, however, help you to think about and plan a course of action for the new year. If you dont have a plan, you are likely to end this year with the same sad results you had last year -- few grants written and few grant dollars received.

Of course any planning and any resolutions you make are better than none, but I encourage you to focus on the first three resolutions I listed above. The first two of those resolutions relate the number and value of grants you plan to write. Ive always said that writing grants is a game of numbers. The more quality applications you submit, the more grant money you will receive. You might want to set a goal to write a specific number of grants so you wont falter after writing just one or two. Similarly, it is always good to determine the amount of money you will need from grants and go after that amount regardless of the number of grant applications entailed. You might go after one or two large federal or state grants, or you might decide to write more foundation grants for smaller amounts of money. Either way will work because your goal is to receive a certain amount of grant money.

My third resolution suggestion above -- investing in a subscription to a grant database -- is directly tied to the other two. A good grant database will enable you to quickly and easily pinpoint the federal, state, and foundation grants for which you are eligible. Without a comprehensive, up-to-date grant database, you will spend a huge amount of time scouring the Internet looking for possible grants when, instead, you could have been completing grant applications.

Because Im a firm believer in planning, Im a firm believer in making well-documented New Years resolutions. Make one, two, or even three this week. Write them down and put them in an accessible place so you will review them at least once each month. Doing this will make you a better, more efficient grant writer in the new year. It will get your school the grant money it needs. And the programs you offer students will be better because of the resolutions you made as you planned for this promising new year.

Don Peek is former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now heads The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. Learn more about The School Funding Center in the About This Newsletter section below.

Article by Don Peek
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 01/04/2010