Marketing Your Grant Project
And now...for the seamy underbelly of grant writing: marketing. I know, I know. You went into this grant-writing thing with altruistic intentions: it's all about the kids.
It is all about the kids, but to maximize the impact of your efforts, you have to get the word out. Your school and your project are now brands. Like Band-Aid, your school's name should be iconic; something that is easily remembered to generate an emotional response. You stand for something, and your grant project can be a manifestation of the mission you've chosen for your brand.
There are two major ways to market your brand:
- Physically, in the form of products and materials in print
- Digitally and online
Products can be things like bumper stickers, buttons and t-shirts. You need to have a professional logo developed, or challenge your art teacher to bring the kids into the effort. Have a contest for the best logo for your school and grant project. The logo is very important; it is a visual representation of how you want your school to be perceived. Skull and crossbones? I think not. Maybe an animal mascot works for elementary and middle schools. For high school it may be a bit more complex, but important nonetheless. Take a look at Logogenie for inspiration. Places on the web like Logaster also lead you through the logo making process.
Your logo will appear on buttons, bumper stickers and other physical materials that can be made for your school community. You can have stationery printed and business cards to hand out. All-in-one craft kits can help you get started. Have some ink stamps with the logo imprinted made so you can apply it to many different things. The physical materials you create for the project are only limited by your imagination.
Digital materials are fun because they expand on something you already have and don't cost much. Edit your school website to include the new logo. A click there will take visitors to a beautiful, detailed sub-site that is all about your grant, your new grant partners and the funds you've raised to help increase academic achievement and help children learn.
You do have a website, Facebook page and photos posted on Pinterest, yes? I think it's time to have your own blog, too. I share some of the free resources and content management tools you can use to set it up below. Focus on the academic benefits of the grant writing experience; post your narrative for people to see. It used to be that a teacher would never share his grant narrative with others. People want to hold close to the vest all that hard work, I guess. These days, though, narrative sharing is common. We're all in this together, right? There are also many existing websites to help you market your grant projects. As you might imagine, it doesn't get any better than Google for Education.
Edutopia and Teachervision have information and instructions for how to update your website for mobile devices and how to post lessons and homework assignments for parents at home. As for integrating technology into the fabric of everything you do in your school, it shouldn't be willy-nilly, but carefully planned and carried out. Start with a solid mission statement, both for your school and your project.
This parting thought might be a topic for another article but it's critical to mention it here. Marketing is also for your funding agent. Foundations and corporations that provide funding for schools are doing so with a mission of their own. You've carefully selected your funding partner; be sure you've found a way to advertise for them in your school. From, "This book has been brought to you by a grant from XYZ," to articles in local newspapers and online, it’s important. Print stamps and stickers to apply to materials you've purchased from these funds. You can personalize almost anything; keep your logo and marketing plan in mind.
Marketing resources for teachers and schools:
Education World - Market Your School
LinkedIn Blog - Network and Idea-Sharing
Let me know how you market your school project, I'd love to share your ideas.
Current Grant Opportunities
Learning & Leadership Grants from the NEA Foundation- These grants support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes:
1) Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes or action research.
2) Grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment.
States: All States
Average Amount: $2,000.00 - $5,000.00
Address: 1201 Sixteenth Street NW, Suite 416, Washington, DC 20036-3207
Website: NEA Foundation
Eligibility: Public School, Higher Education
Program Areas: General Education, Professional Development
Mini-grants from the CHS Foundation - the CHS Foundation grants up to $1,000 to innovative academic and leadership programs that strengthen student learning and enhance professional development. Examples include: leadership training opportunities, mentorship programs, professional development experiences and student fundraising efforts. Student eligibility and funding criteria: Must be a campus-sanctioned club/organization; Must have an agricultural-related focus; Club/organization may receive only one grant per academic semester; an advisor must be listed as a contact; Regular and ongoing club expenses are ineligible.
States: All States
Average Amount: $1,000.00
Address: 5500 Cenex Drive, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
Website: CHS Foundation
Eligibility: Public School, Private School, Higher Education
Program Areas: Professional Development, Science/Environmental, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Vocational