Have you ever wanted to get more supplies for your classroom but are not sure how and don’t have a budget? Maybe you have thought about applying for a grant but are not sure where to look or how to apply for one? As someone who began her grant hunting journey last year and managed to win several grants, I can tell you from experience that the grant opportunities are out there. With a little digging and diligence, you can find and apply for a grant in almost any teaching situation.
Here are some tips if you are interested in finding, applying, and receiving grant money for your classroom:
Getting to Know You –
Spend some time researching. I would start with a general search for grants such as just “grants for teachers” or do a grant search in your state and see what the search engine gives you. Oftentimes there is a long list of grants per click and I would advise you to go through as much of that as you can to see if you come across anything your school can qualify for.
Check, Check, Check–
Once you find a grant of interest, check to see if the grant is still available as there are many websites still leftover from years past for grants that no longer exist. If it is active, check the deadline, as well as who can apply: public school teachers, private school teachers, teachers who work for a non-profit, etc.
What You Need-
Understand the application requirements as well as what you need to apply, usually an essay, a lesson plan, a video, a picture, etc. If you are part of a non-profit tax-exempt organization, please ask your business office for the tax ID and tax-exempt form so that you can submit this with your application. I would ask for other paperwork as necessary with this application such as proof of tax-exempt status, proof of Title 1 funding, etc.
Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want–
Research the items, prices, SKU numbers, vendor, etc. that you will need for your grant. Some grants may ask for only the items and the vendor but some get very specific. Knowing what items you want, how many, who they will benefit and how is key. The more specific the plan, the more you can advocate for your grant!
What’s The Story, Morning Glory? –
Know your current situation. This may sound obvious but this isn’t always the case. For example, a Catholic school is considered to be a private school which is also a parochial school. A charter school is considered to be a public school but operates independently of the public school system and usually has non-profit status. Knowing what type of school you are in as well as what status it has with the IRS can often qualify or disqualify you for a grant. Another important thing to check is Title 1 funding. While often given to public schools, charter schools and Catholic schools can also apply for this. If a school receives such funding, it qualifies as a Title 1 school which can also make it eligible for certain grants.
Hey, Look Me Over –
Proofread and spellcheck. We’re teachers, after all. This one goes without saying. Make sure to proofread your work and run it by a friend or colleague before sending it in. Having an extra set of eyes to look at the application can only improve your chances.
Hold on to the Memories–
Grant committees like to see your passion for the classroom. Try to think of a time that you made a difference in the classroom, students were successful in their lesson, you connected with a student or parent, etc. Use this experience to talk about the learning that happens in your classroom.
You Can Call Me Al-
Don’t forget a title. Many organizations love a creative, catchy title since they read so many applications. If the application asks for a title, make sure you spend some time crafting something original so that your request stands out.
I Like Big Folders And I Cannot Lie–
Maintain detailed records. Keep a list of all grants you have applied for so that even if you do not win anything this year, you can always reapply. Also, print out the applications you send in, mark them with the application date, and keep everything in a big folder. Trust me, it will come in handy when you receive a congratulatory email and know which grants you won.
Thank You and Follow Up–
I always send a personalized thank you note to each sponsor who gave my school a grant. Some grants ask for a write-up of how the funds were used which is also important to provide. Where possible, send pictures of your students using the equipment/software that you purchased to let the donors see their dollars at work firsthand.
I hope that this was helpful for you. Remember that Kids In Need Foundation provides supplies to students and teachers in schools with 50% on NSLP, so let us help you find pens and paper. But for other things you need? Try applying for a grant! Let us know how you get on!
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