I'm a firm believer that anyone who needs and wants grant money for a good academic cause can find it. It just boils down to how badly you want the grant money and whether you’re willing to put forth the effort to get it.
What happens, though, if you need grant money quickly? What if you came back to school and found that budget cuts have made it impossible for you to be as successful as you have been in the past? What if you have a class full of students many of whom simply will not be able to pass on to the next grade or will not be able to pass the state test unless you have extra help from somewhere?
I can definitely tell you what not to do. Do not go looking for a state or federal grant that may take you thirty days to write in your spare time, even longer for it to be read and graded, and then next semester before you have any hope of receiving funds. That may well be the answer for a long-term funding problem, but it’s not going to help you when you need it most --- now!
My advice to you is to go into the Discount School Supply free grant database and start looking for foundation or corporate grants that have a deadline coming up soon or no deadline at all. These grants generally have short applications, many of which can be completed on line, and the boards often meet and decide who gets the money shortly after the deadline is reached. If your timing is right, you might have grant money in your school account within 45-60 days. That means you can begin impacting your problem areas with time still left in the fall semester.
As always when you are looking for a grant, you need to make sure you have a very clearly defined problem. Next, you need to search the DSS grant database until you find a grant that matches your problem. In fact, you should make absolutely sure that:
1) your problem matches the grant criteria;
2) you fully qualify for the grant;
3) the grant has a deadline within the next 45 days, or no deadline at all.
If you have a problem that can only be addressed by additional help as well as money, you might want to seek a partnership with a local business. Let them know up-front that although their money is important, you also need volunteers to come during or after school to work with students who are behind. Sometimes these volunteers are more essential than the money, so if you are going to go after a business partner to help you, make sure they employ the type of person who can most easily make a transition into the role of tutor or classroom helper.
I’ve seen the look on teachers’ and principals’ faces when they return to school in the fall and get surprises they simply weren’t expecting. They usually go into panic mode or solution mode. Hopefully, you are the kind of person who goes into solution mode.
Remember, two of the best ways to find a solution are to look for a grant that will deliver money and help to you quickly or look to find a business partner in your own community that can provide not only money but also the volunteers you might need to overcome your problems.
School is never easy, but it’s a lot harder if you don’t have the money or the help you need. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to take the lead. Start looking for those grants and partnerships today.