Here are some suggestions we have pulled from a variety of sources, or have learned from experience working with grants and grant programs. Remember one thing -- you won’t be awarded a grant unless you apply, so find a grant and start today!
Be clear and concise. Your problem should be specific and clearly stated. For example, you might write, “Based on the following data we have determined that our students need…” Then be sure to provide the data and the source to back up your statements.
Plan a logical series of steps to address the identified problem. These steps may be related to increasing student achievement, engagement, or other identified goal. You need to show that you have carefully thought through your problem and what constitutes a logical solution.
There are others at your school, in your neighborhood, or within your community who also want to be a part of your solution. Work together! Find or create a team within the school, between schools, or in your community. Make the partnerships meaningful.
Don’t wait until the end to find out if your program was a success. Identify how you can capture increased student achievement at various times along the way. For example, plan to collect and analyze student work throughout program implementation.
Include all requested components and organize the proposal so that it is easy for grant readers to find what they are looking for. This includes using the language of the application wherever possible. For example, if the grant specification uses the word “calendar” instead of “timeline” then so should you.
Pay attention to information on the proposal’s length, margins, font type, headers, footers, number of copies, and so on. Look carefully for any unusual requests (such as using recycled paper, staples or paper clips, etc.). Grantors may not read your proposal if their directions are not followed exactly. There are often many competing proposals and award decisions can be based on very slight advantages.
Watch for spending limits in various categories. Be sure your calculations are accurate. Include only those expenditures that clearly support the implementation of your plan, and be sure to explain how your expenditures will help your students achieve.
If your first attempt at funding is not successful, plan to rewrite and resubmit at the next opportunity. Plan to apply for other grants with the benefit of the comments provided in prior efforts. Use every rejection letter as an opportunity to become a better grant writer. Practice makes for more successful grant writing!
Grants are an investment.
Jim QuickGrantseeker’s Toolkit(John Wiley & Sons, 1998)