I am often asked how it is that we fund arts integration at our school. We do a lot with it, including PLN’s, artist-in-residences, spring arts night, teacher field trips to see other successful schools, and more. This all requires money. Duh. And there’s not a whole bunch out there in school budgets anymore. Double Duh. So that leads to the conundrum of where to find funding.
I have found great success in grant writing. Now, before you roll your eyes, sigh and click to another website, let me answer your thoughts:
1.) Yes, this takes time.
2.) No, you don’t have any to spare as it is.
3.) Yes, they are often 20 pages long.
4.) No, there are no guarantees (and possibly very bad odds) that you’ll get the grant you’re writing.
So why in the world would I tell you to do it? Because it works at least 1% of the time and that 1% can fund your entire school year’s program.
It’s like when you were applying for scholarships to go to college. I don’t know about you, but I needed a whole lot more money to go to school than the federal government deemed in their FAFSA form. I applied to upwards of 100 scholarships and managed to get 3. But those three got me through 4 years of college (along with a few student loans).
Grant writing is exactly the same thing. Money is out there to be had – you just have to be persistent enough and strategic enough to get some.
I am often asked how it is that I am able to get said grants for my program. Due to the popularity of this question, I thought it might be a good idea to provide you with some of my top tips. Keep in mind, these work an average of 1-2% of the time. So you’re still going to have to work your tail off. But if you follow the strategies, you’ll end up with some extra cash, your program can take off and you can help support the advancement of education for all the children in your school. And isn’t that why we’re educators in the first place?
Okay….here goes. Here’s a basic list of where I start my searches for grants:
Americans for the Arts http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/toolkit/009.asp
Howard County Economic Authority
Howard County Arts Council:
HCPSS Office of Professional Development/PDS program:
You’ll notice that only ONE of these links is to a national organization and the rest are to my local businesses/partnerships. That’s because it’s based on the averages of numbers.
Look, I know that if I’m going to Vegas, my odds of winning are very slim because there are a lot of people there. But, if I go to the slots at Perryville, MD, I have a much better set of odds to work with. Same applies to grant writing for education.
Successful Grant Writing Tips:
• Think local – the more local the provider of the grant, the better the chances of getting the money.
• Follow directions! This is the easiest, but most important step! If it specifies margins and spacing, do what they ask.
• Be sure to include a cover page, contact information, and any media materials that are requested.
• Think KidTalk Process: the most successful grants are those that identify measurable goals. People want to see how you will use their money and be assured that there is a way to measure progress attained with the money.
• Have at least one other person listed as a contact person. Grant providers want as much accountability as possible, so work with someone else in your building.
• Be thorough. Include as much data and information as possible when submitting grants.
• Most importantly – keep writing! You’ll get turned down for more grants than you’ll ever receive. But even one will help you with your goals!
Have any other tips that have worked for you? Please share! Show me the money and show us all what you did with it!
** For more grantwriting ideas, tips, and strategies that work, stay tuned for my new ebook “Show Me the Moola!” which will be out March 25th for only $3.99!**
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.