Dr. Judy Riffle breaks down the anatomy of funded school safety grants with tips and tactics that will sharpen your grant writing efforts and make your application highly competitive.
It’s summer and school leaders across the nation are working on plans to keep their students safe this coming school year, but there is a common problem; they simply need more money to be able to do so. Not surprisingly, the demand for school safety funding far exceeds the available supply of grant dollars.
The purpose of school safety funding is to enable schools to secure the needed equipment, services and technology to protect students from violence, weapons, threats, bullying and harassment. The physical protection is only part of the school safety puzzle; the emotional effect of a threat can be as strong, if not stronger, than that of the physical threat. If students or staff do not feel safe coming to school, they are placed in an environment that does not support learning.
Some school districts do not have the opportunity to apply for state and/or federal funding. However, it’s important to carefully plan for upcoming grant opportunities through a grant calendar, planning meetings and research before the actual grant competition starts. Often, there is a short window to complete the entire grant application. Competition is strong since school safety is such a priority for schools and school districts. What are grant funders looking for? How do you get the funding? How do you stand out in the crowd? Below I explore tasks, tips and best practices for getting these important programs funded by school safety grants.
Before you begin your grant application, it is important for you to read about past funded grant projects. Noting common qualities among previously funded projects can offer hidden insights into the funder’s mindset in determining which applicants are likely to be awarded.
It is also important for you to do your research about school safety vocabulary. There is a big difference between a planned attack at a school versus a violent act in the community that spills over into the school environment, such as those requiring a lock down or “shelter in place.” Make sure you understand terms such as hardened schools, active shooter, targeted violence, mass casualty incident, armed assault, intrusion, larceny, burglary and robbery to ensure you use them correctly in grant proposals.
As you start writing, you must be compelling. The needs section must grab the reader’s attention immediately.
Here are some important topics to include in your grant application to help your school get the funding it needs for school safety.
Following the tips above will position you to better compete for limited funding and deliver a quality grant proposal. It is our duty as educators and grant professionals to support learning in every way possible, especially safety.
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