Five Tips & Tricks for Grant Applications
posted by: Melissa | September 28, 2017, 05:47 PM   

Maybe it’s an idea for that classroom project that is sure to inspire your students, the newest bit of education tech that your school hasn’t worked into their budget yet, or a field trip for which there isn’t enough funds for. Whatever the cause, most teachers will reach a spot in their career where they need to look outside their schools and districts for classroom funds.


Today, many teachers turn to crowdfunding sites like DonorsChoose.org for their funding needs, but traditional sources of funding such as foundation or association grants remain a reliable source of funds for teachers. Many teachers find the process of formally applying for a grant an intimidating one, but it’s still a valuable skill to learn. Grant applications are easier to write than they appear to be and numerous teachers have mastered the skill completely, applying for grant after grant and turning the formal grant process into a reliable source of funding for their classrooms.


Whether you’re using a crowdfunding platform or going through a formal grant application process, here are five tips to remember that can help you secure the funds you’re seeking:


  1. Have a goal in mind. Often, teachers will apply for classroom materials while only offering a nebulous explanation of what they’ll do with them. Having a concrete purpose for the funds helps the person reading your application to buy into you.
  2. Show the need. Grantors want to know that their money is going to a good cause. As important as explaining what you plan to do with the funds is explaining why you need to do it. This includes discussing the impact the grant will have on your students, and why you’re unable to secure the funds through other means. If you are a Title 1 school, majority-minority, primarily low-income, etc., be sure to share that information in your application!
  3. Make the application look professional. Yes, teachers often use fun fonts and lots of cartoony clip art when making worksheets or classroom newsletters, but applying for funds is not the time for that. This is the time to show off your professional side and to highlight yourself as a knowledgeable, skilled professional who cares for your students. Use a professional font, no larger than 12 pt, and include graphics and pictures that highlight your students, classroom, and the reason you’re applying.
  4. Avoid “Eduspeak.” There’s a tendency when trying to look and sound professional to beef up the content of an application with a lot of education-specific jargon or eduspeak. Contrary to what you’re going for, the over reliance on jargon can make your application confusing and difficult to read, especially if the audience is not an education professional. Use only those terms that apply directly to the purpose of the grant and have a non-educator read over your application to make sure that the language isn’t confusing.
  5. Apply more than once. Foundations and associations are often limited in the funds that they can give out and you may not get the funds for those new manipulatives the first place you apply. However, most foundations and associations are looking for the same type of information, making it relatively easy to tailor the content of your application to fit the requested format of each foundation and apply multiple times, increasing your chance of getting the funds that you want. If you don’t get funds with the first few applications, look at your content and see how you can improve it and then try again.

If you’d like to put these tips into practice right away, ASTA has its own Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant program that we run twice a year in the fall and spring. Our October 31st fall deadline is right around the corner!


You can apply using our easy online form on our scholarship and grant page. Apply today!


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