Grant Writing for Education!

Grant writing for Education!! The job title said, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, yet my direct Supervisor and her supervisors placed a request for a proposal on my desk and “strongly encouraged me” to write the grant.


Grant writing for Education!!  The job title said, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, yet my direct Supervisor and her supervisors placed a request for a proposal on my desk and “strongly encouraged me” to write the grant.  This request was followed by the guilt of securing funding to avoid teacher furloughs and secure much needed resources for the students. Has this happened to you?  Were you wondering, when you would find the time to write the grant and complete your other job responsibilities?  Where is the manual for this arduous process?  Couldn’t we benefit from hiring an experience grant writer?

These are just a few of the questions EducationGrantsHelp is hoping to answer with this new resource for the Education community.  This column is being developed to help you navigate your way through the grant maze and secure the resources and tools you need to ensure equitable education opportunities for your students, staff and the community.  The process, the preparation, and the grant writing will be addressed in future articles.

For the past 25 years, I have experienced what happens when your school’s budget is drastically reduced, but you are still charged with educating students and keeping highly qualified teachers.  I have served as a teacher, Administrator, Grant Writer, and Consultant in public education,  private schools, and charter schools. The practical experience has taught me how to survive the grant maze and successfully secure grants from the federal government, state, and foundations.   With successive issues of this monthly column, I will begin the task of breaking down the grant process to make it work for you and your organization.  It is our hope that those feelings of frustration will dissolve and be replaced with a new found confidence.

Several times in my former position, I was given the task of completing a federal grant in less than three weeks, only to discover our school was not adequately prepared to apply for the major competitive grants or the foundation grants.  I will always be a teacher at heart, so here is the first lesson.  Here are 8 actions you can take now to prepare to submit for grant and avoid the unprepared grant trap:

  1. Register with SAM: What is SAM? The System for Award Management (SAM) that combines federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one new system.  Before you can apply for a federal grant, you MUST register your Entity (business, individual, or government agency) to do business with the Federal Government. https://www.sam.gov/portal/SAM
  1. Alignment: Review your school’s and/ or District’s strategic plan.  It is vital you are able to demonstrate how your proposal needs align with your organization’s mission and vision statements and defined goals. Your proposal should be easy to read and identifies what you are really going to do.
  1. Be Logical: Create a logic model that cites the needs, goals and objectives of the project in the order of how the process will occur.  Each priority (input) should have a stated outcomes (output/activity); directly aligned with the intermediate and long-term outcomes. A well written logic model communicates clarity and demonstrates your organization is prepared to collect data and measure the outcomes.
  1.  Research and Read:  Schedule at least three days to read the supportive documents from the funders’ website.  This information will give you a clear idea of the expectations of the funder. There are no shortcuts, read, research, and take notes.
  1. Select a TEAM:  Your team could consist of at least two other people but no more than five core writing team members.  Define roles for each team member. This number is contingent upon the size of your school or district.   The team will assist the lead person in understanding the guidelines, deadlines, application procedures, budgeting, and editing. These suggestions will assist you in  adhering to the rules for submission.  They guidelines will always  differ.
  1. Budget:  Develop a budget that is aligned to your logic model.  Create a complete picture of how you will use the funds to implement the proposal.  Do not create a line item that is not connected to the project.  It sends an unclear message.
  1. Professional: Remember to include two options of your contact information with your application and do not wait till the last minute to submit your grant proposal.  Many e-grant systems are outdated and submit a busy signal the day of the deadline. You want to make sure the funder knows how to contact you to award the grant monies.

To create and submit an award winning grant, remember it is a proposal not a dissertation.  Grant writing is like writing your first lesson plan or creating your first school budget, once you successfully accomplish the task you are poised for continued success.   We have backward mapped a series of supportive articles to guide you through the grant writing process and maintain your sanity.  Resources and  templates will be provided to assist you complete the process successfully, so stay connected to this blog; Grant Writing for Education with Sherry Washington.

Please feel free to email me at sherry.washington@govgrantshelp.com  with questions you have about the grant writing process for Education.  Explore our new website for Educators and share your questions and concerns on the discussion board at the grant help webpage.  Next month I will discuss how to prepare your organization's grant file and organize your information and required paperwork.  This step is vital in creating a competitive grant application.

Let’s get started in helping you  acquire the resources you need for your organization through grant writing.

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