Do groundwork early when you anticipate seeking grant funding opportunities. Getting an early start can limit frustration when there are looming deadlines on multiple grant opportunities. Prepare for actions you might take and the types of information you might gather in advance of writing a grant proposal with these easy steps.

1. Identify Writers

First, determine who will write the grant. Because grant writing requires time and most schools do not have a full-time grant writer, plan ahead by selecting writers and how to carve out time for them to complete grant proposals.

2. Complete Biographies

Biographies for personnel key to grant implementation are usually requested in the grant requirements. Draft brief sketches showing identified personnel are qualified to oversee the assigned responsibilities and bring success to the project. Composing this information in advance allows you time to present the key participants as competent and capable of successfully executing the proposed project. When applying for specific grants, tailor these biographies with small edits by adding details or highlighting past successes that are relevant to the grant’s purpose.

3. Secure Permission

An essential action to take in grant writing and perhaps the first step is to follow your school district’s protocol in writing grants and seeking funding. Obtaining administrative approval from the school district is paramount, perhaps even the essential first step. Have this conversation before you spend time completing a grant application. Teachers applying for grants must also request approval from the principal who will follow the appropriate procedures.

Generally, school districts have stipulations regarding receipt of grant funds and the monetary limit of those funds. If the school district accounting office serves as the fiscal agent for the grant, there are procedures that must be followed for purchases and other expenditures. Become familiar with and adhere to these guidelines. Once permission is given at the district level, keep the district’s designee abreast of grant proposals as the writing processes begin. Citing that the district supports the grant initiative will be another plus as grant proposals are reviewed. Typically, larger grants require school board approval and may require the superintendent’s signature prior to submission of the grant application.

4. Describe Demographics

A grant application will require a brief narrative describing the school, including the target population and the families served. Locate the school’s profile and refer to that as a source. Remember to include a snapshot of any changes in the demographics and accountability, especially if that relates to the reason for seeking funding and cite the source for this data. A school’s demographic data can later be used as evidence to demonstrate the need for the grant that will be articulated in the application.

5. Draft a Plan

Prior to writing an implementation plan, it is advantageous to be able to visualize and articulate the gist of the proposed project (e.g., rationale, description, impact). Explain how the school and students will be better as a result of the project.

Practice sharing this information with individuals not involved to determine if they clearly understand the what, why, and how of the project. Sharing this information with an objective person helps identify gaps that exist and clarify any confusion. Armed with knowledge of key details prior to writing the plan helps the grant writer avoid missteps when drafting the project’s implementation plan in the grant proposal.

6. Estimate a Budget

Any funding announcement requires submission of a budget. Identify specific numbers when writing the actual grant proposal and begin to identify potential budget costs associated with the proposed project. Insert actual costs rather than estimates. Some funding opportunities require identifying matching funds from community organizations, so prepare in advance by generating some ideas for this requirement. It is also wise to note how current campus initiatives will support your proposed project. This reflects purposeful thought when demonstrating how the project integrates with existing school programs.

Co-Authored by Sandra Love, Ed.D. and Marian Rainwater

Educator Resources Managing Editor, Sandra Love, Ed.D., develops practical resources for teachers and principals to help them impact students and build thinking-centered learning environments. A recipient of the National Distinguished Principal Award, Dr. Love spent 37 years in public education both as a teacher and principal, where she gained experience at the elementary, middle school, and higher education levels. She has authored numerous articles and develops educational resources on critical thinking and instructional strategies.

Until her recent retirement from Mentoring Minds, Marian Rainwater led the team of math writers in developing research-based materials that make a positive difference in the lives of teachers and their students. Over the course of a 29-year career in public education, Marian impacted students at the classroom level as a teacher and at the district level as the director of K-12 curriculum and instruction.