How to Guide Teachers Who Are New to Grant Writing
Many of you have experienced the benefits of grant writing for your own school or classroom. Once you’ve seen how far a little extra funding can go, it’s understandable to want to spread the news to fellow teachers. When you mention grant writing to your colleagues, you may see their eyes glaze over or a look of angst cross their faces. It can be difficult to convince teachers who are new to grant writing that the benefits of funding outweigh the stress of writing a proposal. Here are some strategies to help you ease colleagues into grant writing:
Give a Good Pep Talk
The first thing any grant writer needs is confidence in themselves and their project. The feeling that their expertise or project isn’t remarkable enough to warrant funding holds many educators back from applying for grants. You can help your colleagues shake this feeling with encouragement and a reminder that their students are deserving of innovative projects and programs that impact their learning.
Guide Them Towards Their Passion
Finding a worthy cause makes fighting for funding all the easier. Your colleagues are unlikely to spend their precious extra time working on a grant proposal that doesn’t excite them. Some teachers will start their funding search with a goal such as buying iPads for each student in their classroom. This type of goal lacks passion and a compelling need. Not only does it not excite the grant writer, but it also isn’t that appealing to funders. Funders want to fill a compelling need and see a real impact from their grants.
Discuss your colleague’s strengths and passions, as well as their students’ needs. Shape their proposal according to what you find. For example, a proposal for buying iPads for the classroom may become a proposal to purchase iPads for students to watch videos and read ebooks at home as part of a flipped classroom.
Consider a Team Approach
Instead of suggesting colleagues jump into writing a proposal by themselves, try suggesting a project that you can do together. This gives your fellow teachers a chance to dip their toes in the water and learn from your expertise. Funder’s also love to see collaboration. It broadens their funding’s reach and increases the project’s chances of success.
Don’t Let Research Be Overwhelming
Searching through thousands of grant opportunities to find the perfect match for your project can be overwhelming. Don’t let new grant writers get lost in the possibilities. Try making a game out of researching by seeing who can find the most opportunities in two weeks. Simply list each grant you each find in a document with the name, link, and a brief description or notes. At the end of two weeks, come together and weed out opportunities that don’t quite fit. When you have a manageable number of grants, it’s time to start applying!
Just Go for It
Writing the first grant proposal is like ripping off a Band-Aid. You just have to do it once to see that it’s actually not so bad. Help your colleague identify a funding opportunity with an easy application process and have them apply. Don’t rush them, but try to get them to submit the application without overthinking it. This first application may be difficult, as they will be starting from scratch. Once it is written, they will be able to repurpose components of their writing and research in their future proposals.
Once that first application is finished, celebrate with your colleague. Even if they’re not funded, they’ve worked hard and put themselves out there. You’ve also just helped someone to gain a new skill and help their students’ to succeed. You should both be proud!
Spread the Word
Now that you’ve successfully helped a fellow teacher to seek funding, it’s time for them to help you spread the word. Ask them to share their story the next time you want to help a colleague get into grant writing.
We all know the benefits of grant writing for classrooms and schools. We also know that starting out writing a proposal can be a daunting task. We hope these strategies will help you to ease fellow teachers into the rewarding process of writing their own grants.