In The Lego Movie, there's a catchy little tune,
"Everything is awesome,
When you're part of a team."
It's just as true at six as it is when you're an adult.
People, however, are not little plastic cubes that fit perfectly together, and sometimes they need to be molded into a team. Enter the school grant writer. As you approach a new school year, you want to get organized to find efficient ways to raise funds. This is a good project for parents too. If you have a parent that is just dying to help, you might show them this article.
Many towns, and likely all cities, have an organization of businesses that have banded together to form a philanthropic entity to give money to schools and worthy causes. They go by many names, but somewhere in the name, you'll probably find cooperative or collaborative. They meet regularly to identify worthy causes and devise ways to help them for the benefit of the whole community. Some are highly organized and put together by chambers of commerce; in small towns they may be ad hoc and informal.
If approached properly, and these days that means through an online application form, they can be a treasure trove of grant money for schools. Business leaders have set up shop in your town for a reason, and somewhere in the reason is the desire to do good works for a neighbor.
If your town is small and you don't have a collaborative, this is the year to form one. You might approach several neighboring town mayors and see if there's a way to join forces to set up a regional foundation. Your role will be the engineer, constructing the community building blocks. A local chamber of commerce can provide the contact information for small businesses in town; you might hold a meeting in your school to showcase projects and needs. I've done this a couple of times, and I'm always amazed at the outpouring of support—it's very heartening, and often solves the problem of "not enough money." Some projects will need some added support to bring to success.
The first time you have a meeting like this, you will be nervous and not know what to say. There are some interesting resources online to help you map out a strategy. I used a Google search string, "community businesses support local schools" and here are just some of the articles that popped up.
How-To Guide - outstanding resource
Another way to bring small businesses together to support your school is to find one project that will highlight in-kind donations from businesses. A new computer lab is an example of how businesses can step in and help. Many businesses donate used computer equipment that is only a couple of years old. Make sure your technology person is with you on this, but there isn't a library media center that doesn't need a new study lab. Offer to put plaques or stickers on the computers saying something like, "Another fine gift from our neighbors at XYZ Company." This project will open the door for others down the road.
In addition, as I've said before, "grantsmanship is all about forming relationships."
I'd love to feature your school in one of my blogs. If this article has suggested ideas for your school, please comment below and we'll share.