How to Write a Grant Proposal

Emily Coleman
Emily Coleman
English language development teacher for a cyber charter school; Ph.D. candidate in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies with Education concentration
A piggy bank sit in from of a chalkboard; colorful letters read “grant” on top of a stack of books.

Educators are always coming up with projects and programs to fit the needs of their students best and to fill gaps in many areas of their students’ academic and personal lives. Educators often have to use their own money to make a program or project come to fruition because their school district does not have the funds to support it.

When teachers know that the project will be beneficial to their students, they do not hesitate to pay for it. Unfortunately, this can become very costly over time. It does get to the point when teachers cannot come up with the funds for projects or programs, which can be disheartening.

There is a solution to the financial strain of creating new programs and projects! Grants. Large corporations like Walmart, Apple, and Home Depot have many different grants for educators and non-educators. Foundations within communities also offer many grants to local teachers and schools in their areas. The key for educators in securing these grants is finding them and applying for them.

What is a Grant Proposal?

To be awarded a grant, you must put forth an amazing grant proposal. The grant proposal is part of the application process where you show the corporations or foundations how your program or project aligns with their mission. Grants typically have themes or topics that they focus on each year. It is your responsibility to show them how what you will be doing accomplishes their goal.

What Kinds of Grants are Available to Educators?

There are a variety of grants for educators. You must research and find the one that best fits your project because this can cover the operating costs of the program. There are grants for after-school programs focusing on nutrition, STEM, the arts, music, language learning, careers, and many more.

There are also grants for educators who want to pursue research opportunities in areas like poverty and grades, COVID-19 pandemic and loss of learning, technology and disabilities, Universal Design for Learning, and more.

Educators and school administrators can also find grants that will cover the costs of professional development opportunities. This includes specialized speakers, out-of-town conferences, and instruction on new educational programs.

Technology grants are very popular, especially with educators who experienced the need for new technology during the pandemic. Technology grants can supply laptops or tablets for an entire class, document cameras, smartboards, or even 3D printers.

Finally, there are grants that target specific underserved populations. These grants will be awarded for programs that work with particular student groups.

How Do You Apply for a Grant?

First, be sure to ask permission from your school principal or district administrator who oversees grants. You do not want to take all the time to put together your proposal and then be told that you cannot submit it because someone already has.

Once you have gotten the green light to apply for the grant, go to the corporation’s or foundation’s website and print out all grant materials. Sometimes, grants can be an easy, fill-in application. Other times, grant applications can be very lengthy and require many documents to be attached to the application. Applying for grants can be time-consuming, and due dates are very strict. Be sure to evaluate all application requirements to not miss a deadline.

Read through the requirements, locate the due dates, and get writing.

What are the Main Components of a Grant Proposal?

When it comes to how to write a grant proposal, components vary from grant to grant. However, there are some main parts that you can expect to find in how to write a grant proposal for education or funding.

First and foremost, you should do a needs assessment to prove that your program or project is needed within your school community.

Collect Data and Info

Create a survey for the students, parents, or teachers affected positively by the grant. Collect the data and write a narrative using this information to explain why your program should be funded – a statement of need. You will need a description of your organization and the mission and goals of your school.

Name Your Project

Give your project or program a name. Make it something catchy or use an acronym. Next, create a very detailed project or program description. Include the goals and outcomes and show how you will know whether or not you have reached those goals.

Then explain how your project is different than any other projects in your area. You will not be awarded the grant if there are already many programs like the one you are proposing. Show how your program is distinct from anything else.

Identify Your Focus

Next, identify your focus area and how that matches with the grant. Is the grant about breaking the cycle of poverty? Is it about increasing the number of Latinx high school students who enter teaching majors in college? Whatever the grant’s theme is, show how your program has the same theme.

Another component of a grant proposal may be the community benefit or impact. Reach out to community stakeholders and ask for their thoughts on how your educational program will affect the community as a whole. Include this information in your grant proposal.

Grant Funds

It might seem like an obvious component, but you will need to include the requested monetary amount and a detailed project budget. Break down the requested amount and show where every dollar will be spent. If you are requesting technology, for example, find out how much each tablet costs and list how many you will purchase with the grant funds.

If you are buying art supplies, break it down into paint brushes, paint, paper, and individual costs. Individuals reviewing the grants will want to know how you will be using the money. One last possible component may be the personnel needed to run your project or program. Depending on the size of your program, you might be planning on creating a grant-funded position. Explain this position and the requirements for the person who will hold the position.

Although all this information on writing a grant proposal may seem overwhelming, it does not have to be. Starting a few months before the grant deadline will ensure that you have enough time to gather all the needed components. Being awarded a grant and seeing your program come to life is worth all the time that you took to apply for the grant.

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