Top Starting Tips: Grant Writing for Your School
Bill White, Applied Engineering & Technology Teacher, shares his tried-and-true methods for securing grant funds to bring quality, reliable supplies to his classroom.
Tips for the Application Process:
- Don't be intimidated! - Many times, the grant writing process is surprisingly simple. As long as you have your district data easily accessible, you can complete some grants quickly - even in as little as an hour. In my experience, the average grant application process usually takes about a few hours.
- Write out your responses in a separate document - Typically, I first look over the grant application and copy the questions/prompts into a Google Doc. The reason that I do this is two-fold: First, I like to make sure I have a good platform to think out my responses, and it can be easier to see those ideas written out in a word document. Second, I like to have documentation saved for future reference.
- Make your submission short, sweet, and to the point - Honestly, these prompts are going to be easy for you to answer, so don't feel overwhelmed or pressured to overelaborate. Just make sure that you convey the message that you are passionate about the project you're writing the grant for -- and be careful that you don’t go overboard with the amount of explanation. In my opinion, the selection committee is more likely to choose a project that is well thought-out and succinct versus one that is overwritten.
Where to start:
- Talk with your administrators first - they will want to help you, so don't be hesitant to tap into their support.
- Communicate effectively with parents.
- Check your county/state/federal resources. Some grants may be set aside specifically for educators in your local area. (PA grants)
- Google grants. There may be resources you weren't aware of that are a only quick browser search away (Additive Manufacturing grants - Google Search)
- Use a social media platform properly to highlight some of the neat projects you are doing in your classroom. This can help both with gaining community and parent support, plus it provides a great resource to link to as evidence of success for future grant applications.
- Don’t be afraid of the process or being told no.
More Links and Resources for Teachers:
- National Science Foundation: Undergraduate Education (DUE) Active Funding Opportunities and Active Awards
- California Department of Education: Available Funding
- Grants.gov opportunities
- Post a project on Donors Choose
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Grants, scholarships, and awards
Final Tip: Create a Strong Professional Learning Network
There is always a lot of grant money to be had as long as you know when and where to look, and hopefully the resources above can be helpful to you in that process. With that being said, you will have to create your own opportunities as well. This is where having a strong professional learning network is essential.
By creating partnerships with local groups in your community such as businesses and makerspaces, and by keeping constant lines of communication open, you are now opening up doors of opportunity that otherwise would not exist. These partnerships with local organizations are priceless; they may start as field trips for students, but you never know what other advantages this type of connection could lead to. Whether it be support for your projects or engaging learning activities for your students, I look at this type of networking as just another opportunity for my students and encourage you to do the same.