Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grants For Schools: Lots of Homework for Educators

Educational grants are not impossible to obtain. In fact, if you put in the effort, I can virtually assure that your school can get a grant. But free money is not easy to get, there is a long and almost tedious process.

The good news is that getting an educational grant is very possible for you. The bad news is that the process is not easy. However, because it is not easy to get a grant, many people do not bother to try. It will take patience, attention to detail, and creativity to be on the winning side.

Incidentally, the definition of an educational grant is anytime a person or organization is willing to give your school or educational program something you need to do something you want for the benefit of your students. Grants are not always money. Sometimes they come in the form of what is called "in kind gifts"--like computers or science lab equipment.

Grantors want educational results, they want their educational grants to create marked changes in the students and their learning. Focusing in on your real needs, i.e. things required to make learning possible is the most difficult step in the grant process. The key to getting help is to ask grantors who want the same results as you do. You need to look to the core of your problems. What are your classroom needs? You must be able to answer this question in one sentence before you move on.

Who Should I Ask?

There are several types of grantors that give educational grants. And some are harder to get to than others. Therefore, persistence is key. Most people do not want to go through the work that is required to get a grant. But if you don't try, you'll never get a grant.

Ask the principal:

If you have passion and motivation to get something you need, you have a good chance of convincing the principal that it is worth the spending. If you invest some of your own money, you have a better chance because it shows commitment to your desire for a teacher grant.

Approach the school district:

You may immediately think that you can not do this...why? Isn't what you want to do desirable? Check with the principal and find out how to approach the superintendent or school board, just follow the appropriate school protocol and ask.

Ask the local government:

Local politicians know where the money is, and it is surprising to find out how much is around. A politician who sees an opportunity for publicity through teacher grants will often be helpful in your search for funding.

Ask the supplies State government:

For example, the New York State Legislature gives out money in state legislative grants. Members are allocated funds for their districts. So tell the state government about your ideas for an educational grant.

Ask the Federal Government:

Every day the government lists programs, including teacher grants, in the Federal Register.

Ask a Foundation:

Thousands of foundations want to give money, and they have billions of dollars to work with. Find those foundations that share your goals. Use the Foundation Center as a source, or newsletters that offer regular suggestions on who is offering educational grants.

Ask a Local Company:

Local businesses are another good source. Banks are particularly good places to start.

Some tips:

a) Always follow school and district rules.

b) There is specific grant jargon you must interpret correctly. Read the grant description several times. Call to clarify any points that you are not sure of. Mention what you have in mind and ask if he or she thinks it would be "competitive." The word competitive is part of the grant jargon that is very important.

c) Do some search to see if your problem is already being approached somewhere else. Find out how others have reached their goals for education grants of similar concerns.

d) Think of the grant application as a test. You will be asked to repeat information. No matter what, leave out nothing that is asked for.

e) Submit your proposal on time. Follow the instructions. If you do not do this, your
education grant application might not even be read, let alone considered by the grantors.

f) Complete the proposal and put it aside for a few days. Then read it over again and make changes if you need to. Ask others to proofread for you--just in case.

g) Be sure to check prices and anticipate that prices will increase. Be careful what you ask for and make sure the amount of your education grant will suit your needs.

h) Remember, if you do not ask, you definitely will not get your education grants.

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