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Common Sense Grant Writing Tips

Monday, July 13, 2015 -- Scott Sterling

Summer is prime time for grant writing. Funders’ deadlines often fall around this time of year, and obviously, teachers have more time now for these sorts of pursuits than they would during the school year. As budgets for fun tech toys and transformative experiences continue to shrink, grants are a great way to afford some of those goodies for your students. Here are some tips to help make the grant writing process smooth and successful.

Think about what’s popular

Popularity works both ways. You might have a great idea that requires a set of tablets for your class. So do thousands of other teachers around the country. That’s not saying you can’t win the grant, but your idea will need to be revolutionary in order to stand out from the crowd.

On the other side, funders are concerned about certain issues in education. Engaging girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is big. Programs to engage older youth are gaining steam, as are strategies related to the needs of minority populations. Slant your application toward those subjects, and you can boost your chances of winning funding.

Think big

Most educators are used to working with small budgets, so when they apply for grants, they often think that they will stand a better chance if they don’t ask for the moon. First, a little perspective: in the world of grant funding, $10,000 is considered a small sum. This is where you look at the history of the grant to see how large previous awards have been.

Also, people don’t think of grants as being negotiable. However, just like most financial transactions, they absolutely are. Your funder might like your idea but want you to cut down things a little. If you go ahead and ask for the moon to begin with, paring down your request later will be a lot easier.

The best grant sites

Ready to put in some applications? Start with these sites to begin finding grant opportunities that apply to you. Keep in mind that there are plenty of grants available, and this list is far from exhaustive.  

Edmentum also has a large list of funding resources on our website—check it out here! Happy funding!