Finding Grants and Other Funds for Education
Summer is upon us, and for many educators school is out for the summer. While summer provides a nice break from the classroom and the routine of plan, teach, and grade, it can also serve as a fantastic opportunity for educators to put their energy into planning for projects or future needs and wants of their schools.
Planning for projects, wants, and needs is one thing. Finding funding in today’s world of budget cuts is a different story. Educators need to keep some core principals in mind and consider multiple methods and avenues of funding. Below are some approaches that we encourage you to keep in mind. Please feel free to contact us if you need additional assistance in developing funding strategies, finding sources, applying for funding, or executing awards.
Strategies for Grant Programs to Propose
1. Consider reach. Most funders want their money to reach as many students as possible, so think of ways your idea could help large numbers of students. For example, a technology cart for a specific classroom teacher will reach only that teacher’s students, whereas one that is utilized by an entire department will likely impact a greater number of students.
2. Consider sustainability. As with “reach,” greater sustainability usually means higher odds of funding. How long will your project sustain itself once funded? For example, that same technology cart might be used across several departments and might include technology that will be available for at least five years into the future. That’s a lot of student reach over time! As a counter-example, funding for a field trip is more short-lived, and while it has an impact on those involved, it is not a sustainable project and has less reach.
3. Consider educational “hot topics.” Movements like STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) get a lot of attention in the educational world right now. How might your project incorporate these areas? For example, if an English teacher wants funding for a writing lab, he or she might be more fundable by considering a writing across the curriculum initiative that invites the mathematics and science departments in writing assignments, research, etc.
4. Consider matching grants. Many funders feel more confident in awarding funding if they know that their efforts are being matched. Perhaps you are looking for $5,000 for a project, but you're aware the funding agency usually awards a maximum of $2,500. Finding additional funding, either through local donors, the school’s budget, or another grant, that will match that amount might give you the edge over someone who does not have matching support. Many funders allow for in-kind matches such as parent volunteer time, use of facilities, and transportation—resources already in use that can be assigned a dollar value.
Finding a potential funding source goes hand-in-hand with identifying fundable programs. In next week’s blog we’ll talk about some potential funding avenues.
Meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions about your search for funding.
Photo credit: Patrick Q