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Grant Writing Tips

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Writing grant proposals is a complicated and time-consuming process. Here are some great tips to help make grant writing easier. I would like to acknowledge Jennifer Smith of Pasco County Schools for generously sharing many of these tips.
  • Start with outcomes. Be specific in what you wish to achieve and design your project back from these outcomes.
  • Carefully match your goals and outcomes with those required by the grant advertisement. You can use the Grant Match Rubric to help make your decision.
  • Talk to the grant contact person to receive specific information about the purpose and goals of the grant.
  • Find research to support your project idea. Programs that have been previously validated have more merit because they have shown success in the past.
  • Find a district sponsor. Get them to help with any red tape or information you might need to complete your grant proposal.
  • Make your grant proposal interesting to read through good formatting. Remember that people are going to judge your ideas against others and a pleasing and well-organized presentation will get you further. Include pie charts. Set off your information with appropriate indentations.
  • Use language to your advantage. Quote from notable sources.
  • Make a column to accent exactly where in your grant proposal each component of the grant's grading rubric is met.
  • As you write your strategies for the grant proposal, keep assessment methods in mind. Think about how you are going to measurably show what you will accomplish.
  • Look closely at any funding rules to make sure you do not ask for items that the grant will not fund. For example, Florida state grants do not allow food items to be bought with grant money.
  • Check out the grant to see if matching funds are required. Many school districts will not have the money to match even if you are awarded the grant. However, professional volunteers can count as 'in-kind contributions'.
  • Check with your School District to find out the rules concerning salaries for any individuals working on the project. Many districts require you to account for benefits in your funding model.
  • Find out whether the grant requires outside evaluators. If so, you might have to pay for them out of your funding.
  • Make sure your budget narrative and your budget summary match exactly.
  • Grants are stamped when they are received. Try to send in your grants a few days early so that it appears you are on the ball.
  • Because school districts are limited in the number of Federal and State grants they can apply for, many districts must approve of your grant proposal before it can be sent out. Because of the time constraints on many of these grants, you must plan ahead. Also, make sure you are not competing with others at your own school or district for the same money.
  • Make a database if one is not currently available in your district of important demographic numbers and statistics. Place this information in your grant proposals as requested highlighting special needs.
  • Get to know your state's grant contact personnel. If they see your name cross their desk and they can place you, you have a better shot.
  • If you plan to write numerous grants, create templates for commonly needed forms. This is especially useful for state and federal grant that repeat a lot of the same information.
  • Be honest both in the grant proposal itself and with yourself concerning what you can actually accomplish. Remember, you have to follow through with whatever plans you make.

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