Why Even Write Grants?
By Don Peek
Why would you want to be a grant writer? It's a lot of work to pull together a grant application. And it's even more work if you're fortunate enough to receive the grant. You have to keep records, prove that you've spent the money properly, and record the results of your program -- even if those results are not positive. So why even put yourself through the grant-writing process?
The most immediate and seemingly logical answer to that question is, "For the money, of course."
But don't be too hasty with that response.
The best, most successful grants are not usually written with just the money in mind. True, money can help move the change process along, but if your purpose for writing grants is truly to better the lives of students and teachers, the chance for success in doing that improves dramatically when you have a positive, well-defined grant program in place.
What challenges are your students facing? What do they need help learning in your school? What behaviors are they exhibiting that might get in the way of achievement? Can your students read at grade level? Are they proficient enough in math to make major purchases without being ripped off? Can they speak English well enough to live productively in American society? Are your teachers trained well enough to truly educate every child in their classrooms?
Get passionate! You should write grants to change lives. That passion and determination will come across in your grant applications, and it will show up in the results you eventually achieve. That’s why you as a grant writer should apply for grants
But why do most schools in the United States apply for grants? Unfortunately, it’s usually just because they need the grant money. Grant writers should never apply for grant money just because their schools need additional money. They should apply for grants primarily to improve their schools.
Schools should apply for grants to enable them to correct problems and deficiencies they have in order to give their students a better education. A school’s focus should always be on student achievement. That’s why we have schools. That’s why we have grants. Don’t write grants for the money. Write grants to improve the education each student receives at your school.
Don Peek is an expert in school funding. He has run The School Funding Center since 2001. Its database contains over 100,000 grants available to all types of schools in the United States. Don worked in education for 20 years as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent before becoming the VP then the president of the training division of Renaissance Learning, developer of the Accelerated Reader.