Grants give teachers the opportunity to provide their students with technology they might not otherwise be able to afford. But it’s a competitive world where the winners take all, so it pays to be prepared.
Before you do anything, you need to be clear on three things:
- The project for which you want funding. (It’s tempting to find grants first then suitable projects to match, but you’re unlikely to write a convincing application for a project you thought of on the fly.)
- The support of someone who ranks high enough to sign off on the application
- Your plan for the money — what is the need?
2. Every Application Needs A Need
Don’t wait till you find a suitable grant to write a compelling description of your need. Every grant is going to ask you to outline the problem, so you might as well have it ready.
What will clinch the winning application is the compelling nature of the need. Be clear about why this project is important to you and why you’re so excited it could happen thanks to the generosity of this grant funder.
- The evidence that supports the need — demographics, test scores, and even anecdotal evidence
- The goals of the project — what will your students achieve if you’re able to buy the technology you need?
- How will you measure success — what are the metrics? What tools will you use to capture them?
- What exactly you need in the way of technology, people, and support
Having this already thought out means you can respond more quickly when you find a grant with an imminent deadline.
3. Be Meticulous
Don’t try to second guess what’s most important to the administrators of the grant. Give equal weight to every section and question unless directed otherwise. Assume they want a complete answer to everything they ask or they wouldn’t have asked it.
4. Be Clear
Extra credit will be awarded for concise applications that steer clear of unnecessary jargon. Don’t assume the people reviewing the grant are fellow educators. They could come from any walk of life.
5. Think Like A Teacher
What marks would you give a student who relied on unsupported assertions? “Some students can’t read” is weak. Describe the scale of the problem precisely.
6. It’s Not Really About The Technology
No grant funder wants students to have tablets, laptops, or whatever other technology you want to bring into the classroom. They want students to be able to read, to learn, to thrive, and to be prepared for life after school. The technology is the tool; it’s important to the application, but it’s not the outcome.
Make sure the students are the heroes of your application, not the technology.