“Tell me what you need,” David Bauer, author of The Teacher’s Guide to Winning Grants, recently told a teacher who sought his advice. The answer—“a new playground”—didn’t pass muster with the grants guru.
Bauer’s free Web site includes links to resources for finding public and private donors.
The Teacher’s Guide to Winning Grants
Bauer’s book outlines the process for getting grants and provides forms and worksheets.
Former teacher Joe Mizereck monitors grant-listing services and compiles opportunities on this free site for teachers.
This site offers guidelines on how to research funding opportunities and provides links to grantmaking organizations. Subscriptions range from $9.95 to $99.95, but some features—including a tool that lets you search for foundations—are free.
It’s not that the money for such requests isn’t out there; it’s just that applicants need to know how to get it. Bauer explained to the teacher: The most persuasive grant proposals focus on ends, not means. He advised her to present the playground equipment as a way to provide physical activity and to seek funding from local health insurance companies—which have a stake in preventing obesity.
Corporations give where they live, says Bauer, a former teacher who mastered the art of landing grants while working in inner city schools. He recommends searching local chambers of commerce for lists of regional companies.
Another tip: “Never use the ‘g word.’” Asking a grant provider to “give” can lead to rejection. Teachers should refer to grants as investments because foundations and corporations want to know that their money will produce results.
The biggest mistake, Bauer says, is sending the same proposal to multiple organizations. Instead, tailor proposals to reflect the priorities of each institution and apply for grants that have funded similar projects in the past.
A version of this article appeared in the December 01, 2006 edition of Teacher