Monday, September 19, 2011

Do You Have What It Takes?

At the start of any school year many teachers and administrators decide they need to find grant money for their schools. With the budget cuts that many schools have seen the last couple of years, I’m sure that this year will not be an exception. Many educators will want to find grant money. The question becomes, “Do you have what it takes to go out and get the grant money you need?”

I believe that any school can find grant money if its educators want it badly enough. But any educator who is going to be a successful grant writer must have three characteristics: desire, determination, and persistence. Without these characteristics, you might find some grant money, but you will not consistently do so.

First, to be successful, a grant writer must have a strong desire to solve a problem. Typically, this problem will involve a deficiency in the educational program at your school and must be solved in order for students to achieve to their potential. It doesn’t matter if your students are behind in math, reading, science, social studies, writing, or in the arts. As a grant writer, you must look on your problems and your deficiencies as unacceptable and have a strong desire to find the grant money to eliminate those deficiencies.

Second, if you are going to be a successful grant writer, you must have determination. You must identify your problem, find a logical solution, seek out grantors that give money for your type of problem, and fill out their grant applications properly and proficiently. You must dig up the data that supports your contention that you have a problem. You must research until you find a viable solution to your problem. And you must search and study until you find the proper grants that match well with your problem. These are not easy tasks, and you must show marked determination if you are to be successful as a grant writer.

Finally, you must be persistent. It is rare to have a problem at a school, write one grant, receive the grant money, and have your problem corrected. More often, you must write multiple grants to be assured of getting enough grant money to tackle your problem. It is only beginning grant writers who believe that finding a single grant opportunity will be enough to solve their problems with one stroke. And besides, what school has only one problem?

Any school can get grant money. I won’t say that it will be easy or that you’ll get grant money the first time you try. But if you are a person who truly desires to make your school a better place, who is determined to make a difference by writing grants, and who is persistent enough to continue to apply for grants until your problems are solved, then you will be a successful grant writer.

The question is, “Do you have what it takes to be a successful grant writer?”

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