Congratulations! You have taken an important step toward turning your idea into reality. The information presented on these pages is intended to inform administrators, teachers, and staff about ways to develop an idea, locate funding sources, and prepare a grant proposal for worthy projects and initiatives in the Windham School system. Keep in mind that each funding source has specific guidelines that must be followed, so these steps are merely a general roadmap to success. Please know that successful grant-writing involves solid advance planning and preparation. It takes time to coordinate your planning and research, organize, write and package your proposal, submit your proposal, and follow-up with the funder. There is help available in the Windham School District to keep the process as straightforward as possible. Please read the Grantwriting Support document to learn about resources to help you in your quest.
In general, here are the steps to follow:
- Be clear about your idea and why you need funding outside of the normal budgeting procedures.
Prove that you have a significant need or problem in your proposal. What is the data that supports that need, or what is the compelling story of why your project is worthy.
Deliver an answer to the need, or solution to the problem, based on experience, ability, logic, and imagination. Make sure your proposal describes a program/project for change.
To help with this part, download and complete this outline: Grant Planning Worksheet
The answers you provide on the Grant Planning Worksheet will eventually be used (copy/pasted) in a proposal, so be thinking right from the start about "making your best case" in your writing.
- Research grantmakers, including funding purposes and priorities, and applicant eligibility.
- Determine whether the grantmakers' goals and objectives match your grantseeking purposes.
- Target your proposal to grantmakers appropriate to your field and project, but do not limit your funding request to one source.
- Contact the grantmaker, before you write your proposal, to be sure you clearly understand the grantmaker's guidelines.
For suggestions about who to ask for funding, click here.
If you have completed the Grant Planning Worksheet, then you will want to copy/paste those answers into the appropriate section on the grant application. It is always a good idea to have a conversation with someone at the grantmaker's office (unless guidelines clearly state otherwise) to talk about your idea, and to ensure that it "fits" with their funding goals. Don't waste their time, though. Research their website extensively first and know their guidelines. Recognize where you might be different, unique, and creative...ask questions about these particular parts of your idea. It does three things...ensures it will be considered for funding, begins to develop a relationship with the funder, and potentially stands out in the funder's mind. If they like your idea over the phone, they may take a special interest in it when it arrives via mail or electronically.
- Always follow the exact specifications of the grantmakers in their applications, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and guidelines. Clearly understand the grantmaker's guidelines before you write your proposal. Make sure the grantmaker's goals and objectives match your grantseeking purposes.
- State your organization's needs and objectives clearly and concisely. Use concise, persuasive writing; do not waste words. Use active rather than passive verbs. Use proper grammar and correct spelling. Be clear, factual, supportable, and professional. A well-written proposal is a key factor in the grantmaker's decision-making process.
- Be clear about why you are seeking a grant, what you plan to do with the money, and why you are a good fit with the grantmaker's priorities. Prepare an interesting, persuasive and unique proposal.
- Always cover the following important criteria: project purpose, feasibility, community need, funds needed, applicant accountability and competence.
- Answer these questions: Who are you? How do you qualify? What do you want? What problem will you address and how? Who will benefit and how? What specific objectives will you accomplish and how? How will you measure your results? How does your funding request comply with the grantmaker's purpose, goals and objectives?
- Demonstrate project logic and outcome, impact of funds, and community support. Be specific about broad goals, measurable objectives, and quantified outcomes.
- Present your proposal in the appropriate and complete format, and include all required attachments.
- Follow-up with the grantmaker about the status, evaluation, and outcome of your proposal, after it is submitted. Request feedback about your proposal's strengths and weaknesses.