Sunday, June 8, 2008

Grant-Writing Tips

The most important thing for grant-writers to remember is that they might submit a perfect application and still receive a rejection. Most foundations have limited resources with which to fund projects. Do not get discouraged if you get a rejection from a possible funding source.

READ the grantor's guidelines and instructions carefully. Do not try to make the grantor's program fit what you want to do - your program must be in line with the funding agency's priorities.

Ideas should be innovative, creative and educational. Grantors will rarely fund operating expenses - they usually invest in supplemental programs. Private foundations often seek creative solutions to problems/needs, but they usually do not wish to fund risky projects. Try proposing a project that puts a fresh spin on an existing idea.

Keep your goals realistic! It is important to have an evaluation plan. Grantors want to know if the projects they fund are successful--that your project is meeting its goals.

Is your project replicable? If so, tell the grantor how you plan to extend the project to other grades or schools.

Have a reasonable, detailed budget. Do your homework on costs prior to submitting your application and be sure to explain your budget even if there are no requirements to do so.

If possible, cite research that supports the program for which you are requesting funding. SchoolGrants provides links to a number of helpful resources where you will find surveys and research to support various projects. (Those who have purchased the SchoolGrants Let's Write a Grant interactive CD have links to an assortment of research reports that will assist you in your grant-writing efforts. Information for accessing these reports is on the CD.)

Clarity in communicating your ideas is very important. Have someone who is not involved in the project in any way read and critique your draft application.

Proofread! Spelling and grammar errors do not convey a positive image.

Follow the grantor's instructions to the letter. Applications are turned away when they do not exactly meet the funding agency's requirements.

If your project is rejected, ask the grantor for reviewer comments. The comments can offer invaluable tips for improving your future grant applications. Never forget to write thank-you notes - even if your project is not funded initially!

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