Think about the grant reviewer who has read numerous and perhaps hundreds of grant applications. While there is a scoring guide upon which to evaluate grants, what if there were several grants that were well written? How might a grant rise above others? What is the distinguishing factor that helps a grant proposal stand apart from others?


Is there any step the grant writer could take that would grasp the attention of the grant reviewer while still following the guidelines? Express uniqueness—something that causes the grant proposal to stand tall among other competitive grant applicants. Where in the grant application can a proposal show how it is different? What is the differentiator?

Quickly capture the attention of the reviewer when writing the text for the needs statement. This is a time to shine early in the grant application when describing the school and the challenges faced, helping the reviewer to understand the gist of the grant proposal immediately and sustain that focus as the reviewer continues reading. Or convey uniqueness in the grant objectives or in the program and activities that will be implemented. Maybe describe how the grant’s purpose will be supported by other school initiatives or how community partners will be involved. There is no one best way to express the uniqueness of a grant idea as it might permeate throughout the written text as the reviewer moves from one part of the application to another. Spending time to enhance a grant application’s uniqueness is worthwhile.

Since all the required grant application sections integrate and work together, communicate a clear need and purpose for the funds from the beginning until the last page. The uniqueness of a grant proposal strengthens the effectiveness of the application and the project’s design.

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.