Writing Grants: It’s a Numbers Game
By Don Peek

I firmly believe that almost anyone can get grant money. It’s all in the numbers. Fortunately for most of us, you don’t have to be a mathematician to get grants. You just have to understand how numbers impact your chances of writing successful grants.

First, the more grants you find that apply to your problem area, the greater your chance of getting grant money. That’s where a good grant database comes into play. You should use a grant database regularly until you find several grants that match the needs of your school or classroom. The closer you can match your needs to the grantor’s purpose for giving a grant, the greater your chance of getting the grant money.

Second, as I’ve written several times before, the more quality grant applications you submit, the more grant money you will receive. That sounds simple enough, but many people just write one grant. They either win the money or they don’t. Then, they just quit. If you really want to impact your classroom or your school with grant money, you need to apply for multiple grants, not just one. Write two, three, or four grants. If you have a large problem, you may need to apply for multiple grants to get all the money you need.

Third, the more statistics you use in your grant application the better. These statistics need to apply directly to the problem you’re having. They should show exactly what the problem is and how bad it is. You might show that 60% of your 4th graders are reading 1.5 years below the national average by using the data from your last standardized tests. You might also include that the at-risk students from this group are reading 2.5 years below the national average. These statistics show that you know your problem, and you know that you have to fix it.

Finally, you will use numbers in the budget you submit with your grant application to show that you understand the solution to your problem, and you know what it will cost to fix it. The budget will detail the materials and/or personnel you will need to get the type of growth you expect. Again, this will show the grantor that you thoroughly understand the problem you have, but you also understand what you will need to do to fix that problem.

You may not be great in math, but you should be able to use numbers well enough to understand how greatly they impact your success in getting grants. Use a database to find as many grants as you can that match your problem. Write multiple grants to address your problem. Use statistics to show the depth of your problem. Use the budget in your grant application to show you understand what you will have to spend to correct your problem.

Writing grants is a numbers game. Be sure you understand those numbers and use them to get the grant money you need.

Don Peek is an expert in school funding. He has run The School Funding Center since 2001. Its database contains over 100,000 grants available to all types of schools in the United States. Don worked in education for 20 years as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent before becoming the VP then the president of the training division of Renaissance Learning, developer of the Accelerated Reader.

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