Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Critical Two Months for Grant Writers

The New Year has begun. It is typically a long grind from now until spring break. It is an excellent time to make progress with your students. You should have few distractions and no extended holidays. It is also probably the very best time of the year to write grants for your district, campus, or classroom.
                                                                     
During January and February you have more flexibility as a grant writer than at just about any other time of the year. Why? Because you have the opportunity to writegrants for three different segments of the school year. You still have time to write grants that can be used during the spring semester.  You can write grants that can be used for summer school. You can begin writing grants for the fall semester. Only during the early fall semester do you have this much opportunity, and often educators are so busy with the beginning of school, they don’t have time to write grants during September and October.
In one of my November posts, I told you that it was time to begin assessing your programs so you could use that information you gained in your winter and spring grant applications. If you didn’t follow my advice then, you need to make sure you assess each of your programs immediately to measure student growth during the first semester. If you did your assessments in December, you are far ahead of the game and have all the statistical information you need to apply for grants immediately.
If you intend to apply for grant money that can be used during the spring semester, I recommend that you find either foundation or corporate grants with deadlines not too far in the future. You can apply for the grant, win the money, and actually receive your funding in time for it to impact your students in the current semester. You should be able to find several of these grants in the Discount School Supply® free grant database. Don’t procrastinate. If you need grant money in the near future, you have to begin working on your applications now, today.
If you’re looking for a summer school grant, you have a little more time, but not much. Remember, you have to send in the application, get it approved, and get your funding by the time summer school begins. Summer school grants are good to write in that you are usually helping underserved student populations, you’re helping to shore up either basic or highly advanced skills, and/or you have an innovative program that you can’t wait to try out. All of these make for great grant material. I’d try to have my grant applications in for summer school no later than the end of February or mid-March.
Finally, if you are a long-range planner, and I hope you are, you can already see major needs for the fall semester. You may need to totally revamp a program or introduce a completely new program to your school. You not only have all your assessment data from last year, you have current assessment data from last semester.  You may be searching for larger amounts of money that come only from federal grants, state grants, or some of the larger foundation and corporate grants. You still want to begin your search for grants now and to begin writing those grants during January and February.
With so many school budgets being cut time after time, finding grant money has become absolutely necessary for many schools.  There is no better time for you to write grants than during January and February. The money is out there. Discount School Supply® provides you an excellent free database to find that money. The only thing holding back the process is you. Don’t be a procrastinator. Your students deserve the best, and that probably means you need to write a few grants to supplement your budget.  Start now.

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