Lately, I've been writing about what you can't do with grant money, and how to avoid big mistakes.
Today, I want to turn the frown upside down and tell you what works in Grant Land. Are there any grant projects that are more likely to be funded than others? Is there a way to be sure they move to the top of the pack?
The answer is complicated but I'll take a stab at it.
If you follow some basic tenets of academic grant writing you will have a better chance of landing the funds. Let's look at five possibilities for grant writing success.
- You need the supplementary materials that go with your new reading program. Notice the word "supplementary". Your school budget is groaning at the seams from a recent investment in a new reading program (long overdue). To pay for it this year, you had to postpone buying supplementary materials such as online access to tests, software for interactive lessons, reading books for the library to complement the series. This is a perfect opportunity for a grant. Look at your reading scores on your Core Standards exams. Find weaknesses in your achievement. Find things in the supplementary materials that target those standards, then stand back and watch the funds come in.
- STEM programs. STEM is a big deal in education these days (science, technology, engineering and math.) Mine your science and math scores for weakness in your school. Find materials to address the weaknesses, preferably hands on project oriented program guides and support materials. Watch the grants come in.
- Professional development. Create a graph or chart showing your test scores and areas that need improvement. Find a comprehensive staff development solution for addressing those issues and watch the money grow on trees.
- RTI support. Response to Intervention is a comprehensive program for finding and implementing interventions for students who need extra help. It's one way to cut down on your referrals to special education. It provides some stability in classrooms where behavior problems have disrupted learning. Use your test scores to identify the learning that is being impacted by negative behaviors and academic achievement growth in some students, and voila, funding can be found. Targeting your weaknesses will win the day every time.
- A comprehensive upgrade for your library media center. Using your test scores, identify areas in the curriculum that need an infusion of library materials. Software, supplementary online tests, books and magazines to bolster support. Your grant will be given serious consideration. Grant makers like libraries, they centralize support for all students.
Do you see a common thread in these projects? There are actually two.
- The projects are tied to your academic achievement reports.
- The supplies and services you need are supplementary to the curriculum you already have in place.
I try not to throw buzzwords around, but grant makers are generally not educators. They don't have your training, but they do try to keep up and certainly know the meaning of Common Core State Standards, STEM and RTI. These education buzzwords will help your proposals receive a second look from your targets in fund raising efforts.
Let me know about your grant writing successes. I learn from my readers every day.