Summer is the perfect time to pull out this past year's work to review for best practices. If you're a grant writer, you're always looking for better ways to say things, and simpler procedures for getting the job done. Sometimes the materials you use to organize your thoughts can help you do these things.
Discount School Supply® can help you pull all your tools together and save money at the same time. I don't know about you, but I never have enough of the following:
Cutting things (that can't be misappropriated as weapons)
And my favorite:
IDEAS - keeping them all in one place
While I'm writing a grant, I need to be able to keep all the thoughts I've had for my narrative in one place. It got so bad one year that I had a microcassette recorder in my hand all the time, I didn't want that thought to get away! You're laughing, but it has turned out to be the single most useful thing I have. Teachers have minds that fly, things occur to you as you're walking down the hall. I am not above visiting other classrooms to get ideas and schmooze with fellow warriors to find out what the current thinking is on any number of pertinent subjects.
I also like to collect ideas for grants. What do teachers need? What are they desperate for that administrators are not providing?
When you have a substantial list of items, the trick is to find a way to draft a grant request that uses them all. Grantors smell a "stuff grant" a mile away. What's that? A grant that is written to fill supply closets without any scientific reasoning behind it. Grantors are problem solvers, and they are passionate about the problems they solve. If you need the items we've listed above, there's no rule against creating a relevant project for professional development that uses them. When teachers come together after school to learn the latest techniques for reading instruction - they will all need supplies.
This is the only "backward design" grant blog I will ever write so take notes. Generally, you start with the project, driven by data and academic need. What test scores are staring at you in a challenging way? How are you going to fix sagging math scores? The supplies and books, and library materials will come last. This is the "right" way to pursue grantsmanship.
However, you may have a special friend in the grant making community that has some cash on hand at the end of the year. Foundations and companies are compelled to give away a certain percentage of the funds they have set aside for charity. The IRS has very strict rules about things like that. You need to develop relationships with these folks. It may take a simple phone call to one of them during the summer to outline some basic needs. You can have the "supplement not supplant" conversation with them, but tell them exactly what you need to get the job done. They may surprise you and simply write out a check. If they've had positive experiences with your school, they have now become your partner. They will provide for the mundane things you need every day if you have a reason that resonates.
Summer is a time to regroup, recharge and get organized. I hope I've stimulated your imagination along the way. Let me know how you're doing out there. I'd love to feature your school in one of my posts.