I’m re-publishing this post because I have some of my best grant examples for people to see linked in this post.
I have learned the benefits of grant writing. In my 26 year career I have gotten grants for 21 of those 26 years. I’ve gotten at least one grant a year for the past 19 years straight! I have to say that out loud to believe it! All together I have received 42 grants (18 of those 42 grants were awarded for my Environmental Stewardship Project – some were repeat grants but I’m counting each year as one separate grant because I had to submit a proposal each year even though the original was accepted to show any changes AND I had to write reports at the end of each year). Thanks to all those monies I have been able to provide my students with some great learning opportunities with equipment I probably never would have gotten with building budgets.
Many of the grants I have written were rather easy to apply for. I basically just wrote about how I teach and what I teach. I was fortunate to have applied for grants that matched my teaching style. The hard ones are one that require a certain project. Grant writing is all about matching what you are doing to what they want to give money. If you’re lucky you will also be able to get what you need because some grants are very specific about what you can use their money to purchase, for example, many grant opportunities do NOT allow the purchase of technology. Yeah. Other grants though are specifically for technology so if that’s what you need, then find those!
I get people who ask me how to write grants to get iPads, Chromebooks (fill in the blank with what you want) for their students. Bottom line is that you stand a much better chance of getting what you want for your students if your proposal is really strong in showing how it will improve student learning, especially if you show WHAT your students will be doing that is awesome and innovative and HOW the items you want will help your students do that. Even if you find a specific grant that is for technology, the goal is to come up with a project that is so cool they’ll love your project over all the others. Then show how getting some iPads, Chromebooks, or whatever for students is an essential part of your project. The project comes first. I always tie the device use into the project but not just for research. Sharing is important as I’ve seen more grants ask how you will share what you are doing if they select your project. So having a component of your project where kids share their work with your community or with kids in other schools or around the world has worked for me. Just make sure devices are NOT the main part of your budget. That will be less likely to get funded. In the end it’s great projects that students are involved and engaged in, and that are innovative, that get funded – NOT proposals that ask for stuff. So make sure you tell the story of what kids will be doing.
If you have a great project that matches a funding source then you have to write a proposal convincing them that your project is the one they want to fund. My best project has been my Water Quality Project which evolved into the Environmental Stewardship Project it is today. The project is a work in progress and I try to improve upon it every year. What’s important is coming up with a proposal, the project doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you have ideas that are all worked out. I’m not trying to say that the idea isn’t all planned out just that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
The next thing that is key is to write LOTS of proposals. For all the grants I wrote and got there were many I wrote and didn’t get. You can’t let failure make you stop applying or stop writing proposals. It’s not easy finding a perfect match for your idea so spread it and use the feedback you get to improve upon it. Eventually you’ll find someone that wants to fund your project. Persistence is key. Don’t we teach our students that? 🙂
Teachers who want to write grants have asked me if they could read my proposals to see what works. I’ve had my WA STEM grant proposal on my blog for people to see. In this blog I’ll share my most successful grant proposals in the links below. What people tell me about my proposals is that they appreciate how you don’t have to be a great writer or a technical writer. Sure they tell me they mean that in the best way. 🙂 I don’t think of myself as a great writer. I write plainly. The good thing is that it has worked for me in getting grants. So I hope my proposals help.
Here are some other grant proposals I’ve written for the Water Quality project:
Nonprofit Environmental Ed Grant Proposal
ING Unsung Heroes Application (note: Since I got the ING Unsung Heroes grant I found out that the VOYA Unsung Heroes grant is the same thing. I wrote a proposal for it and got a letter saying I’m not eligible to apply because I already got one!)
WA STEM 2012 Proposal
CenturyLink Grant Proposal (This proposal wasn’t awarded in the 1st round, it was awarded a year later! It’s worth it to submit proposals!)
Perseverance OR Obsession (My advice for writing grants.)
Perseverance AND Obsession (How both perseverance and obsession pay off for getting grants!)
Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Contest (I have gotten the first stage of this for three years straight – that in itself is fantastic but the sad part is that I can’t seem to get selected for the second phase!)
My post on Environmental Grants
My post on kickstarter campaigns (note: get approval first!!)
My most recent accepted proposal, which did not get accepted the first time but got accepted the second time: Ocean Guardian Schools Grant