Ten Tips for Grant-Seeking Educator 1. Successful grant proposals present to potential funders the “how, when, who, what, where, and how much” of a given project. Your approach is the how, your time line is the when, your staff is the who, the resources are the what, the facilities are the where, and the project expenses are the how much. Fully address these questions in the order described in the grant announcement. 2. Most educators develop proposals from Requests for Proposals (RFPs) prepared by a grant-making agency. Make a print copy of the RFP and highlight action words. This will tell you where to concentrate your efforts. Read and re-read the RFP many times. Most people seem to truly understand the RFP the day after the proposal is due! 3. To get started writing, create a “Swiss cheese proposal.” This is simply a proposal that starts with a lot of holes that you fill. Begin with a notebook, tabbed into the sections determined by the RFP. Respond to each of the guidelines the RFP asks grantees to address; write these responses in the appropriate sections. 4. Responding to these guidelines becomes a matrix for checking off whether or not you’ve addressed each and every area expressed in the RFP. The RFP and scoring guidelines will give you pretty complete details of what is expected. Paying careful attention to see that you have addressed all the criteria will improve your chances of receiving the grant. 5. Collect certain information prior to writing the grant. Create a grant resource file in which you place the demographic data about your school, a description of your school or community, important facts, honors, commendations, and so on. Many of these descriptors you can keep online, ready to cut and paste into the Swiss cheese proposal as needed. 6. Even if you are working with a large committee in the proposal writing process, one person should do the actual writing. This way, your proposal will then have a common voice throughout. Keep away from run-on sentences, prepositional phrases, and nonaction verbs. Write from a positive point of view and give the reader hope. Avoid jargon. Write in clear, simple, concise English. 7. Tell what kids will do. Most grant-seekers overlook writing a scenario into their proposals. This gives the reader a mental picture of what will actually take place. 8. Don’t ask for stuff. Ask to fund a program! It is very hard to justify casual ideas. Remember that people make programs. Ten Tips for Grant-Seeking Educator 9. Tell the grant-seeker what you will do for them. Why you describe how you will evaluate what you will do, be sure to describe how you will share what you’ve learned with others. Process is usually more important than the product. 10. Remember that the website for submission “might” not be working the day your proposal is due, or that the person who needs to sign off on your proposal before submission “may not” be in the office. So plan ahead! Try to beat the deadline by a week if possible!