So You Want to Write a Grant. Now What? (FAQs for School Grants)
Updated: Feb 29
Last week, I got a phone call from a board member of a charter school. She'd been asked to help write grants for her school and she had a few questions. She's not alone. I get calls like this often. So, I decided to collect the most frequently asked questions and share my answers here with you. Keep reading to find out what other school leaders are asking!
1. Which comes first, the idea or the grant?
Is it better to search for grants and then find a program or problem that works for the grant? Or is it better to start with your idea and find a grant that matches it?
It can work either way. In my trainings, I suggest that you start by identifying your problem first, and then find a grant that matches what you hope to achieve. However, sometimes a grant opportunity lands in your lap and you can craft a proposal to match the grant goals. The important thing is that your program goals and the grant goals align.
Would you like help developing your grant idea? Grab your FREE copy of my Grant-Writing Worksheet to learn how to map out the basic elements of any grant. Download now.
2. How do I find a grant?
There are many ways to find school grants. The best place to start is with grants that other schools have been awarded. Pay attention to what your colleagues are saying about the grants they have won. Other ways to find grants include:
Grants database search
Networking through colleagues and parents
Local news and announcements
State Department of Education
Here is a handy tracking tool to help your search. It's what I use when I am researching grants. Download now. It's FREE! Grants Tracker by Grants Mentor
3. How do I decide if this grant is a good match for my school and idea?
Review the basic information for each grant:
Purpose - Does your program idea align with the grant’s goals and purpose?
Deadline - Do you have enough time to prepare a good proposal?
Funding amounts - Does the grant offer funding amounts to meet your needs?
Eligibility - Does your school qualify?
If the answer is yes to all of these questions, then review the application and grant website in more detail. As you review the grant information, watch for any details that might make the grant a bad match, such as unexpected requirements or program goals that don't align with your school's mission. If the grant appears to be a good match, then proceed to planning your proposal.
4. How do I write a grant?
This question is a bigger one so I will simply point you to a couple of resources that will help you write a stellar grant proposal.
Charter School Grants by Peggy Downs (available on Amazon)
Top 5 Grant-Writing Books for Charter School Leaders (blog describing my favorite resources)
7 Day Write a Grant Challenge (blog and FREE email training series by Peggy Downs)
Charter School Grants Presentation at National Charter School Conference 2019 (free video training)
5 . What about hiring a grant writer?
Good grant writers will work with you to ensure your project is cost effective and professional. They can provide expertise, answer questions about your project, and be an important member of your grant writing team. If you find a good grant writer, it can be beneficial to develop a long-term partnership with him or her, because the work will get stronger as they become more familiar with your school and your program goals.
Don’t imagine that hiring a grant writer will mean you don’t have work to do. You are hiring their expertise in grants and their skills and experience with writing proposals, but YOU are still the expert on your school and your program. You need to provide leadership, access, and information to support your grant writer.
And yes, I write grants for charter schools. There is nothing I enjoy more than helping you fulfill your dreams with high quality grant proposals. Contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BONUS! I've collected a list of School Grants You Can Use to help you start your search. It's FREE! Download now.
These are my FAQs for school grants. What questions do you have? Did this help you? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Charter School Grants by Peggy Downs
#1 in Nonprofit Fundraising & Grants
#1 in Education Administration
#1 Hot New Release – Charter Schools
Can you get a grant for that?
You have an idea for a grant, or you’ve seen a grant you’d like to apply for…now what?
Charter School Grants offers the information you need to find, plan, and write your first grant.
In this book, you will learn:
Why grant makers support schools
How to find grants
What documentation you need available
How to develop a strong proposal
After you read this book, you’ll be ready to plan your first grant proposal and submit a completed application. Most school leaders understand the value of grants but get lost in the process. Charter School Grants will guide you through every step of the way for any small to medium-sized grant.
Free Resources to Help You
This book includes links to free resources that have been tested and shared with hundreds of school leaders. You will find links to:
School Grants You Can Use
Tips for Success
You will learn the most effective way to plan, find, and write school grants, and win more grants than you thought possible.
Get started writing school grants today with Charter School Grants.
Buy this book now and learn how to write successful Charter School Grants.
Ready to learn more? Check out some of my most popular posts:
Peggy Downs works with school leaders who want to leverage grants to dramatically increase funding, impact, and credibility for their schools. More info and a ton of free resources are waiting for you at:
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