Do you want to apply for education grants but don’t know how to write a proposal? If YES, here are 21 steps to writing a grant proposal for education purposes.
When we hear these words written as the title of an article, one may confuse it to mean that a student writes a proposal to solicit for funds in order to finance their educational aspiration. But seeking a grant for education simply means that a teacher or group of teachers who have identified a need in the educational system, have put together a proposal to seek funding for that project. This is aimed at improving the student’s performance or comprehension in any field it is requested for.
For example, a teacher may notice that quite a number of students may be struggling with learning the multiplication table at their school and may decide to establish some type of miniature playground that can teach the students the multiplication table within an environment that is fun.
So, the idea is that while the children are having fun sincerely, the multiplication table is taught. Sometimes the school itself may not have the extra funds to invest in such a project, so the teacher can seek for funding from grant organizations.
Some of these grant organizations may exclusively make their funds available to only schools, or there could be grant organizations that simply make grants available to eligible candidates, once they are able to prove their worth through a well written proposal.
In today’s article we will be looking at some of the major aspects of a grant proposal for education like the introduction, project description, budget and so on. We would also be discussing some tips that will make you have more grants paid.
When most people think of soliciting for funds, they may be uncertain as to whether their proposal will be good enough to get a grant. But one thing most people fail to understand is that if you never try you will never build the necessary skills that will get you receiving grants time and time again.
These tips will give you more insight on how to make your proposals grant worthy. Just in case you have never done this before, it would be good to know that usually there are staff members within the administrative board that have to approve grants that go beyond a certain amount.
So, it would be wise to ensure that you have already spoken to these people and that both the project and the amount you are seeking have been approved by the necessary admin personnel. Another interesting tip to consider when putting together a proposal of this nature is to think like the person who would be attending to the document you are about to send.
Put yourself in their shoes or in their mindset, find out questions they may be asking, points they may be looking for and concerns they may have about your intended program. When you have this kind of mindset, then you will write in a way that presents your case to the reviewer in terms they will identify with.
Tips such as these will be very helpful in giving you a well-rounded perspective on how to go about writing a grant proposal for education.
21 Steps to Writing a Perfect Grant Proposal for Education
- BE OPTIMISTIC
Usually there’s a kind of negative way of thinking when it comes to writing a grant proposal. Most people think about how much they are about to ask for, then wonder if the funds are actually going to be made available. First of all, getting people to believe in what you do for them to release their support in cash or kind could be quite tasking.
With a lot of fraudulent people out there only seeking to get money to use for their own private purposes, grant organizations and sponsors have to be careful. In spite of all these negative impressions, being optimistic about your proposal is paramount; it will give you the much-needed energy to persist when the times get hard.
When you face challenges putting together aspects of the proposal, or when you face challenges getting the administrative officer to sign off on the idea, you have to see yourself receiving the grant, see yourself executing the program successfully, just be super optimistic about the entire activity and you will see it will go a long way.
Writing needs inspirational energy, and a mind that cannot see things happening cannot access great ideas to document on paper. A negative mindset can make you take too much time in writing the proposal, because you really can’t see the idea taking off. When your mind is filled with negative thoughts, any little challenge you face could be made into a mountain of issues, you will suddenly have more reasons not to write.
However, the opposite is true when you have an optimistic mindset about the outcome of the entire process. You will be full of innovative ideas for the project, set-backs will be seen as stepping stones, and difficulty would be seen as training hoops you would have to scale through. In fact, it is this kind of enthusiastic approach to getting funds that will make your team members to give themselves entirely to the process; even they would want to see you succeed with your idea.
2. GET RELEVANT PEOPLE INVOLVED
It would be better for you if you have other people working on the proposal with you. This could be other teachers who can provide other perspectives to the project. Writing a proposal can be very tasking, you may even need the assistance of professionals.
Sometimes the person you need may not be someone who knows a lot about what is needed. It might just be someone who will read through the entire proposal for typographical error or spell checks. Sometimes this pair of fresh eyes can also comment on the way grammar is used in the proposal.
3. CROSS CHECK FOR MISTAKES
It’s just like writing an exam; you may need to cross check your entire document for simple mistakes that may cause the reviewer to see your proposal as a mediocre attempt. Most times when we write things like this, we are so busy looking at the bigger picture that we do not notice some of the little mistakes that may ruin our chances at receiving actual funds.
We can make mistakes in the way we write the document, the way we put together the budget, the way we address the grant organisation and so on. This is also one of the areas where you may definitely need someone to look through the entire proposal and give you feedback on how the entire write up is structured. They too can point out glaring mistakes that may have skipped your attention.
4. UNDERSTAND THE FUNDING ORGANISATION
You will be approaching an organisation for grants for your educational project; this organisation would be more obliged if they knew you had some type of understanding as to what they do. It’s like going for an interview with a firm and not knowing anything about what that firm.
So it would be advisable to research the grant organization of your choice, find out exactly what their interests are, what their vision is, and the kind of projects they have done before and so on. When you skillfully weave this into your write up, the reviewer will have the sense that you are not just approaching them for their money, but you actually care about what they care about. This will help tremendously in getting you the funding you need.
5. SEARCH FOR A GRANT ORGANISATION
This may as well be one of the very first few tips in writing an effective proposal for your educational project. First of all, look for organizations that are willing to make finances available for projects such as these. There are some who simply focus on making grants available for schooling projects alone, there are others who would be interested in the age group of the students who would benefit from the program and there are others that focus on the impact the program can have on the community.
Spending time to seek out the actual organizations you would be soliciting for their funds would give you a strong backbone for the proposal you are writing. It takes some type of insight to actually locate the organizations that will be willing to make this available to you.
6. ANALYZE THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE PROJECT
When looking into setting up a project like this, it would be much better to look into sustainability. Is it the kind of program that may require funding every academic session? If so would your granting agency be willing to make these monies available every academic session? How about staff, will those who volunteer their time for the program always feel okay about making their time available for the project?
These are questions you need to answer so that you will also know if you have what it takes to keep the program going. Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to start something when there are no clear-cut means of sustaining it. So, for the sake of maintaining your integrity, make sure you have paid attention to sustaining the program.
7. BE SIMPLE IN YOUR WRITING
The reviewer may not know most of the technical words that has to do with your field of expertise, so ensure you keep the wordings in your proposal simple enough for the reviewer to read through the document without getting a headache.
The truth is that you are trying to convince the reviewer about the potency of your idea; you are not trying to confuse the person. Usually when one finds it difficult to understand what is being communicated, one simply switches off. Nobody is going to grant a request for something they don’t understand.
Simplicity is the way to go when putting a document like this together. When I say simplicity, I mean in the syntax of the document not its content. It should make for an easy read, and the reviewer should be able to read through it effortlessly.
8. BE THOROUGH AND DETAILED
In order to be as thorough as you need to be, you need to spend a lot of time researching the various the project you want to execute. A person should be able to look at that proposal and see every detail of the project.
This is important because the reviewer would definitely have some questions about the project as they go through the proposal. Not only must you look into all the details, the project may require you to get into the mind of the reviewer and ask the questions he will most likely be thinking in his head.
This will ensure that there are no loopholes or places where the reviewer can develop faults with your writ up. You want to be faultless in your presentation of the facts; this type of excellent approach will definitely be an advantage to you getting the funds you need.
9. FOLLOW THE AGENCY’S GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A PROPOSAL
Some agencies have specified guidelines when it comes to grant proposals. When putting together your proposal, be sure to keep to those instructions; do not exceed the parameters they have provided for you. They may have their reasons; some may go as far as pointing out the font size you should use and how many pages the proposal should be. Adhering to the agency’s guidelines will make it easier for the agency to read your write up.
10. ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE WHAT IS NEEDED TO EXECUTE THE PROJECT
Writing the proposal is one thing, executing it is another. Sometimes the person or persons who wrote the proposals are not the people who will execute it.
If this is the case with your situation, then you may want to include certain details as to how the project can be executed so that in the situation where you are not the person to execute it, the desired outcome will still be achieved if the people who execute it follow the plans you have already laid out for the effective implementation of the project.
It will be much better if the timeline for the completion of the project is clearly stated in the proposal. The timeline for project completion is one of the major keys to getting your proposal approved by the granting agency. Everyone who sees the proposal would know the duration of the entire program with intricate details. It informs very clearly the actual events and resources the project would require.
12. USE STATISTICAL DATA
In convincing the reviewer about your idea, stating the statistics that support your idea will go a long way in strengthening the reviewer’s conviction about your idea. The very first set of statistical data should be the one that supports your stance, the one that supports the reason why you think this project or program is worth the money you are seeking. Research and look for the actual numbers and build up your case.
Look for statistics that reveal the negative conditions that are very present within your field, these negative statistics are also part of the reasons your program should be approved, so that through the effective execution of your program, the negative statistics can be reduced.
13. EDUCATE YOURSELF ON GRANT PROPOSAL WRITING
Don’t assume you know it all, educate yourself on grant proposal writing. The more you know about writing grant proposals, the more you will get better at putting it together. Your skill for writing this type of proposal would increase as you continue to get more materials.
When you broaden your awareness as to how these write ups are made, what grant agencies are looking for and the various opportunities that are out there for those looking for grants, you will be on your way to getting more finances for your projects.
14. PUT TOGETHER THE CURRICULUM
So, the curriculum of the entire program has to be put together and it has to be designed in a way that it addresses the problem you are trying to solve. If there were not problems with the traditional way things are taught, you wouldn’t have thought to develop a new program to address those weaknesses in the former approach. So you would need to put together some type of curriculum for your proposed program.
15. IDENTIFY MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES
When you include measurable objectives in your proposal, it is most likely going to get more attention. It shows that the progress of the program on the students can be measured in very clear parameters. So, it is safe to say that if such a program is not effective it will be clear after some time, then the entire project would have to be reviewed to discover why the initial approach was not effective. Adjustments can be made to ensure better results will be achieved.
16. BE REALISTIC
When it comes to projecting how much effort it would take to actually execute the project, you have to be very realistic. Do not go over the top expressing your ability to deliver certain results or influence certain outcomes. Look at your key strengths and weaknesses and identify if you would be able to deliver on the level you have projected.
Look at the strengths and weaknesses of your team as well, because you would not be executing this plan on your own, your team members have a part to play in achieving the goals of the project.
Also, be realistic about what the students stand to gain from the entire project, being overly ambitious about these things may make expectations higher than what is necessary, hence putting yourself and your entire team under pressure to perform.
17. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
It will also help your case if you are able to present to the reviewer how this project will help the professional development of other teachers and professionals within the field where the project is focused on. This will give the reviewer the impression that this project will not only impact students who participate in it, but it will also add value to the professionals who take pride in this particular educational sector.
18. WRITE FOR THE RIGHT REVIEWER
The way you style your proposal would have to appeal to the agency or organization you are writing to. This means the way you would write to a State agency would definitely be different in style from the way you would write to a Federal agency. The same goes for if you are writing to a private funding organization. Most private funding organizations have strict guidelines as to how to go about this and so do the governmental agencies.
10 ELEMENTS OF A GRANT PROPOSAL FOR EDUCATION
When it comes to writing a grant proposal below are very important things that should make up the content of your proposal;
This is where you introduce yourself, your school and your project to the reviewing party. The introduction is so important because it can spell the difference between whether the reviewer would continue to read or simply put the proposal away. Be sure to explain why you intend to execute such a program, give brief indications on certain points you would be citing in the entire proposal.
The first thing you want to make sure you understand before you complete this particular section is the project. What projects have you decided on running, how will this project impact those who participate in it and the field in which it will make impact in? One suggestion is that it should be a project you are particularly passionate about and have already been nursing in your heart for a while.
You also want to briefly introduce the plan in this particular segment of the proposal, you do not need to go into details about the plan but a little summary of the various methods you intend to employ in executing the program will go a long way in making your proposal interesting for the reviewer. You should have already looked into all of the aspects of the plan before making the summary of the plan available for your introduction.
One thing that will help you put together an excellent proposal is when you get to understand why you need to write this proposal to get your grant. Your reason must be strong enough to compel you to the hard work of putting together a document like this. You must be fully convinced that such a program would be the solution to whatever challenge you may have noticed in the school.
Don’t just go into writing a proposal because you think you can, spend some time planning how you are going to put together this proposal and the kind of approach you are going to take. Look into the various aspects of the entire project and even research if such an idea had been done in any other place, find out how well it went with those students.
Also make sure you have received proper permission from the authorizing personnel before beginning your proposal. It would be very frustrating if you and your team spend so much time working on your proposal only to have it turned down by the school administrative board even before it goes before the reviewers.
- DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Finally, you have the opportunity to go into details about the nature of the project. In the introduction, you had just given the reviewer a tip of the iceberg, so now; you have to go into full details as to how this project would be implemented.
You will be describing the various strategies you intend to use in this project, it would be much better if you carry out proper research about the methods and curriculum you want to use for the project, so that your description of the project can be convincing enough to receive a grant.
- THE NEED YOU INTEND TO MEET
For this proposal to be relevant there must be a need you intend to meet. This is the part of the proposal where you identify the problem facing the students. This is where you can freely use statistics to tell the story of the state of things and why they need to change.
Here you would explain why your method or approach to solving the problem would be effective. Get statistical data of how the methods you intend to employ for this program have worked in times past. Identify the need and further explain why this project is adequate for solving that problem.
Now you expand the solutions within the project as it has to do with solving the problem. Make sure to make this section as detailed as possible so as to really convince the reviewer of the effectiveness of your methods. Of course, you should have already done your research on how these solutions would work, your statistical data would also be plus in this particular aspect of the proposal.
- THE PLAN OF THE PROJECT
You have discussed the project in itself, but you didn’t go into the specific plans you intend to put in place to ensure that the objectives of the project are successful. This plan would include the strategies you intend to employ. The reviewer should be able to see the entire project unfold activity after activity, each of which would have its description, objectives and anticipated impact it hopes to instill in the students.
This is one of the most important aspects of the entire proposal; this is where you have to be as thorough as possible. Make sure to think about every fee that is payable to every participating body in the project. Do not forget to factor in tax payments as your grantee would most likely not make any more money available for the project once a particular amount is granted. So be sure to have done your homework, your research and anticipate all expenses as much as possible.
This is also where you need to ask for assistance from an accountant friend or someone who is good with numbers, someone who can help you look at the entire project and give you a very clear view of all the finances you would need to make the project a success.
Do not fall into the temptation of asking for more money than is required, do not pad the budget for selfish gains, it is understandable to make room for miscellaneous expenses, as one cannot anticipate every single thing that may happen as the project goes on.
- EVALUATION PLAN
You must have a way to evaluate how the entire project has been done, what needs to be improved and so on.
Looking through this entire article, you would find various tips that should help you secure the grants you need for the various educational programs you may want to establish in your school. Many have been successful with securing grants to the tune of $500,000 over the years.
So it is very possible to achieve those dreams for your school. Be sure to go through the various things discussed here and ensure that you write the best possible proposal for the project that will help with educating students in your school.