Grants—Money or Goods?
Most people associate grants with monetary awards. However, there are other grant opportunities that award services and goods, such as computers, books, musical instruments, or software. Once you decide on your grant project, ask yourself whether it might be a good option to search for funding opportunities that award a service or product you need as opposed to a cash award. You may have greater chances of finding funding success if you do not limit your applications to funders who only offer money.
There are many national and regional foundations that offer goods and services. Here are some examples of funders that extend beyond monetary awards:
Computers for Learning is a foundation that offers schools and educators the opportunity to request computers, software, and other available technology applicants might need. The foundation receives donations from government agencies that are upgrading their technology and, thanks to an executive order, the foundation is permitted to pass this technology on to schools and educational organizations that could not otherwise afford it.
The Pilcrow Foundation offers the Rural Public Library Children’s Book Project, designed to ensure rural public and school libraries that serve the community have a sufficient selection of children’s books. The foundation accepts applications April 1 and October 1. Libraries can request books up to $1,200 in value.
Physical Education Soft Stick Lacrosse Equipment Grants are available to schools who are looking to upgrade their lacrosse programs or who want to implement a lacrosse program. US Lacrosse provides schools with 30 lacrosse sticks and 30 lacrosse balls, as well as an online curriculum for physical education.
If you apply for a grant that awards goods rather than money, make sure to be very specific in your program description. Describe in detail what you are going to use the equipment for and how you are integrating it into the curriculum. Your project description is crucial to show the funder why you have a greater need for the equipment than another applicant.
Your description should also include available options for storage and maintenance. If you already have a space to store equipment and you have a maintenance plan in place, mention this to the funder. If an organization is giving you actual goods, they are interested in seeing that you intend to treat the material well and that you have considered how to store it properly to ensure maximum lifespan.