There have been some major advances in grant writing for teachers and school administrators within the last few years. Most of these improvements come in the form of websites and online application procedures.
The good news: almost all foundations and corporations now have great websites and abbreviated online application procedures. It is much easier to find out about grants that might help your school.
More good news: the economy has improved and there is more money out there.
Even more good news: blogs like this one are providing information for grant applicants that is based on personal experience. You can avoid big mistakes by staying tuned in.
The bad news: this accessible environment brings more competition for the resources available (this is an estimate on my part, but it makes sense). In the past there was a mystique among school folks that said, "Grant writing is too hard. It takes a real expert; don't even go there."
That mystique couldn't be further from the truth. Foundations and corporate charity entities often have staff to help people like us raise the money we need to help do the things that we are passionate about. Just be sure they are as passionate about it as you are.
Good rules to follow:
· Use a good grant search database.
· Use the telephone to make your needs and questions known to the grantor.
· Know what your potential grantor is passionate about and be sure your project will help them reach their goals; you instantly become a team.
· Align your project to standards.
· Use data to determine what your academic needs are and focus on weak spots like a demon.
· Join regional and online networking organizations; get to know people in the grants world.
· Read the grant application form again, and again, and again—the devil is in the details. Pay attention to formatting, timelines, etc.
· Make sure there is a solid assessment component to your project; the funding entity wants to be sure that you have done what you said you would do.
I was recently trolling the web for grants that would support blended learning projects. I was impressed by the amount of information on the subject being provided by grantors. It reminds me that they do their homework. You will not be preaching to a novice; they already understand the matter.
Predictably, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation has a good resource on the subject of blended learning.
Others like these:
And so on.
Why would a foundation want to expound on educational methods and philosophy? The answer is they hope the guidance they provide will produce better grant applications. They are spoon-feeding us what they hope to see in our applications. How kind of them! Providing guidance is a logical practice, I can't imagine being a grant reader—you would not believe the stuff they get that are called "applications." Their online forms lead teachers through the process step by step. It makes things better for everyone.
Tell me your success stories and let me know what you want to learn about.