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I Need Grant Money, but Where Do I Begin? Step Up to the Starting Line!

Here are five “starting points” to consider if you’re serious about getting money for supplies, instructional materials, iPads, computers, field trips, guest speakers, white boards, and more.Sometimes the hardest step to take is the very first one. So if you’re a teacher sitting in your classroom, wondering where you’re going to get a few hundred dollars to buy much-needed supplies for your students as school begins, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why can’t I get some of that $60 Billion of grant money that’s available? Why do I have to pay for classroom supplies out of my own pocket again this year?”

Well, you don’t. But, you do have to take the first step.

So what does that “first step” look like in the world of grants? Here are five “starting points” to consider if you’re serious about getting money for supplies, instructional materials, iPads, computers, field trips, guest speakers, white boards, and more.

Starting Point #1

You may have heard me say this before, but it’s absolutely important to repeat. Read as many grant proposals as you can get your hands on. Ask anyone and everyone you know if they have any proposals you may read, or if they know anyone else who has proposals they’d give you to read. Scour the Internet to find samples. Read our blog where you’ll find several examples of proposal “pieces and parts.” If you’re serious about becoming an award-winning grant writer, this exercise is imperative. And, it should actually be fun! “Borrow” as many ideas as you like, incorporating them into your own proposals. Reading others’ proposals is a great “first step!”

Starting Point #2

Remember the saying, “Two heads are better than one?” If you’re like me, you may find it easier to search out a colleague to help write the proposal. It’s often easier if you can find a fellow teacher who’s already written a proposal and won an award. If you find this person, run—don’t walk—to the file cabinet where he/she keeps the award-winning proposal, pull it out, and read it. (But be sure to ask first!) You’ll gain more insight by doing this than you can imagine! Then take the next step and ask him/her to help you develop your proposal.

Starting Point #3

If you like even larger groups, grab that same colleague—and two or three more—and start an in-school grant writing mastermind group. Schedule 30-minute meetings weekly or semi-monthly to talk about your classroom financial needs, to explore available grants, and to work together on proposals. When possible, invite colleagues who have written and won grants (if there are any in your school), those who have written proposals but not been funded, and individuals who have no grant writing experience at all. Each of you will bring something different to the table and you’ll quickly learn from one another.

Starting Point #4

If you don’t have anyone in your school who’s interested in writing grant proposals, find a mentor outside of school. Ask around. You might be surprised. The chances are good there is at least one person in your hometown who is an experienced grant writer. When you find this person, ask if he/she would consider mentoring you if you simply offer your help, free of charge. You may be lucky enough to get first-hand experience with tools this individual uses to research grant opportunities, an in-depth look at the process he/she uses to write a proposal, and much more. A good mentor is invaluable to speed up your learning curve.

Starting Point #5

To “jump start” your learning, consider enrolling in a grant writing course. You may prefer attending in person, or you might enjoy the comfort and ease of completing an online program. If you live near a university, most offer a graduate-level course on proposal writing. If you don’t live near a university, convenient alternatives are online. Programs are available 24/7, so you can learn in your PJs, with a cup of coffee or tea in your hand, or sitting on your patio getting a nice little tan! Totally your choice.

If you think online learning is for you, check out, Secrets and Strategies for Writing Foundation Proposals for Schools, our 4-part video training series that gives you tips, techniques, and insider secrets for writing successful foundation proposals.

The training covers the different types of foundations, offers a template for writing a strong Summary Statement, delivers 32 critical tips for developing award-winning proposals, and provides unique insights into developing the eight typical sections of a foundation proposal. You’ll learn important tips, techniques, and strategies in less than four hours, and will receive 18 information-packed resource sheets to help you easily reference critical information throughout the training and as you create your own grant proposals.

The most important thing is for you to do something. Anything. Pick one of these starting points and our online video training and just begin!

Check out Secrets and Strategies for Writing Foundation Proposals for Schools today!

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