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Grant Writing

First StepsTop of Page

First Steps to Getting Started as a Successful Grant Writer
Are you new to grant writing? Do you wonder how to get started in grant writing to bring resources into your classroom, school, or district? The first two steps in grant writing are conducting a needs assessment and finding appropriate funding sources. 

1. Conducting your needs assessment is step one because you must know -- and be able to state clearly -- WHY you are writing your grant. Think through what is lacking, what is less than successful, or what needs improvement in your classroom, your school, or your district. Decide how the use of technology can improve the situation. Next determine what sources of information you can use to prove your case. Your proposal will be strongest when you can cite detailed data to substantiate your need.

Check out these web sites:

Read the CDE Style Manual or check out the CDE Writing Effective Proposals site. The major purpose of this Style Manual is to help staff members in the Department of Education better plan, organize, and prepare a manuscript in a form that is accurate and clear and that will require a minimum of rewriting, editing, and keyboarding before it is sent to press.

2. The next step is to find an appropriate funding source. Of course, you will use the Technology Funding Alert! This publication comes out once a month, September through June, and includes information on technology grants, product donations, and awards. Another rich source for technology grants is the Internet.

Federal Sources:

  • Federal Register - list of current U.S. Department of Education grant offerings
  • Grant Forecast - forecast of upcoming federal grants
  • National Science Foundation - Funds research and education in science and engineering, through grants, contract, and cooperative agreements. The Foundation accounts for about 20 percent of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

State Sources:

  • California Department of Education Available Funding - Funding profiles, requests for applications, proposals, and other data prior to deadlines
  • Search CDE Funding - Search by fiscal year, type, status, topic, keyword(s), or any combination. Use Advanced Search for more choices.
  • CDE Funding Results - Recipients of grants, contracts, and apportionments administered by CDE
  • CDE Outside Funding Sources -- Funding administered by agencies outside the California Department of Education (CDE). If you know of funding to add to this site, please use the Outside Funding Form posted on the page.
  • CDE Finance & Grants - Used for California state-sponsored grants only. Note that you can join the California Department of Education's listserv and they will notify you of new funding opportunities by e-mail.

Private Sources:

  • Corning Foundation - Community service programs for students, curriculum enrichment, student scholarships, facility improvement, and instructional technology projects for the classroom
  • Education World -Links to grants, grant writing information, and grant sources for education purposes
  • NEA Foundation - Created by the National Education Association, the NEA Foundation empowers public education employees to innovate, take risks, and become agents for change to improve teaching and learning in our society.
  • School Grants - SchoolGrants was created in 1999 as a way to share grant information with PK-12 educators. Grant writing can be intimidating to those who are new at it. SchoolGrants helps ease those fears by providing tips to those who need them. Finding suitable grant opportunities requires a great deal of time and research; SchoolGrants reduces the effort by listing a variety of opportunities available to elementary and secondary schools and districts across the United States.
  • Kathy Shrock's Grant Sources for Educators - A categorized list of sites useful for enhancing curriculum and professional growth. It is updated often to include the best sites for teaching and learning.
  • AT&T Education Grants - Areas of funding include programs/projects that use technology to enhance teaching and learning, encourage family involvement in schools, provide professional development opportunities for educators, prepare future teachers for the learning environment, and implement plans for lifelong learning and community collaboration.
  • The Foundation Center - Links to sources of money from foundations across the country. A particularly interesting page is Top Funders, where you can learn about the biggest foundation funders, how much they give, and what organizations they have funded.

When you have conducted your needs assessment and settled on suitable funding sources, you have taken the first two steps toward writing a winning grant.

22 Step PlanTop of Page

22 Step Plan to Successful Grant Writing

Step 1: Decide what your class/school/district needs.
Step 2: Find an appropriate funding source.
Step 3: Read the Request for Proposal thoroughly.
Step 4: Know what the deadline is and all about how to deliver your grant proposal.
Step 5: Follow your district's policy about submitting grants.
Step 6: Go to the writers' conference (if there is one).
Step 7: Assemble a grant writing team. Remember, NOBODY can work in a vacuum.
Step 8: Conduct a specific and thorough needs assessment.
Step 9: Organize proposal according to sub-titles given in the Request for Proposal.
Step 10: Don't write the abstract yet (write it after steps 11-15) - then write it well.
Step 11: Write your needs section first.
Step 12: Write your goals and objectives to meet and match your needs.
Step 13: Complete the first draft of your proposal.
Step 14: Design your budget.
Step 15: Design your appendices.
Step 16: Write your timeline (this is where it gets real).
Step 17: Get someone outside your team to read your grant proposal.
Step 18: Revise your proposal, checking for internal consistency.
Step 19: Double check your grant proposal against the RFP's checklist (if there is one).
Step 20: Don't miss the deadline - be sure about mailing versus arrival deadlines.
Step 21: Get and keep appropriate proof of mailing.
Step 22: Follow up to be certain that your proposal arrived on time. You may want to send a thank-you-for-letting-me-apply letter to the funding source.