Thursday, October 18, 2012

October/November: Time to Write Those Grants

Wow!  This school year is zipping by. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. It might be going really quickly for you, or it might seem as slow as molasses. One of my best friends had a schedule so bad and a group of students so unruly one time that he started counting down the days until June on his calendar the first week of school. I guess pretty much everything is relative.

You could say the same for grant writing at any particular time of the year. You should always be looking for your next grant to write regardless of the time of year, but I can think of at least three good reasons that October and November may be just about the best grant-writing months of the year.

First, by this time of the year, whether you’re in a classroom or an administrative position, you should have everything settled into a manageable routine. I’m not saying you’re not busy. You’ll be busy all year. I’m just saying things should not be as hectic as they were at the beginning of school.  That means you should be able to schedule in some grant-writing time.

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you know by this time of the year, you should have already identified one or two problems that need correcting that have in no way been adequately covered in the current budget. You now need to narrow the field down to your most urgent problem, develop a solution complete with a workable budget, use a good grant database to find grants that fit your situation, and start completing grant applications.

Again, I know you’re busy, but finding grant money at this juncture of the year may be as important as anything else you’re doing. It can literally turn a program (and the lives of multiple children) around if done properly.

Another reason that October/November is such a good grant-writing period is that you can still write grants that will impact the current school year. If you win a grant now, you should have the money available to you for the spring semester. You don’t have to wait until next year to have an impact; you can have it now.

You have the added advantage of being able to start writing grants for summer school now, too.

It’s not too early to begin thinking about how you can get weak students caught up in the summer months with a good summer school program. Personally, I would focus my attention on the spring semester (because of the more immediate impact), but writing grants during the fall months allows you the flexibility of also applying for summer program grants

Finally, writing grants during October and November allows you to choose from the thousands and thousands of grants that are available this time of year. I believe more grants are announced in the fall than at any other time of the year. You need to take advantage of that fact.

Of course, you will have more competition when applying for grants this time if year, but believe me, there are plenty of grants to go around. Don’t put all your hopes on one or two grant applications.  Crank out as many as you can with the time that you have. The more quality applications you send out, the more likely you are to win grant money. It’s all a matter of numbers, and I wouldn’t want you to put all your hopes into getting one big grant and then be disappointed when you don’t get it.

October/November is prime grant-writing time. You should have a little more time to invest right now than you did at the beginning of school. You can write grants for either the spring semester or summer school. You have more grants available than at any other time of the year. Those are three good reasons you should be applying for multiple grants in the next six weeks.

Let’s get going.

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Most grants are made to fund a specific project and require some level of compliance and reporting. The grant writing process involves an applicant submitting a proposal to a potential funder, either on the applicant's own initiative or in response to a Request for Proposal from the funder. Other grants can be given to individuals, such as victims of natural disasters or individuals who seek to open a small business. Sometimes grant makers require grant seekers to have some form of tax exempt status, be a registered nonprofit organization or a local government. Thanks.
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