Do you have a great idea for a project, but aren’t sure how to get started…or how to pay for it? Given ongoing cuts to education on the state and national levels, educators may find it necessary (or even be required) to actively seek “outside” funding for programs and courses.
If you’ve never submitted a grant proposal, it may seem a daunting task…of course, for those who have submitted proposals, it’s still a daunting task. Fortunately, our own Dr. Susan Penfield, Research Coordinator for CERCLL and Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry here at the UA, offers some helpful tips on how to approach a grant or project proposal.
Dr. Penfield’s Top 6 Tips for First-Time Grant Writers
- Everything starts with a good idea
- Provide context for your work
- Let people know why it’s significant
- Let people know why you’re the right person for the job (don’t be shy)
- Have a clear work plan and time line
- Be sure to have a precise budget and that it’s in sync with the work plan
Something else that struck me from this discussion of grant writing: when you are building a grant, you are building relationships. As Dr. Penfield put it in a February, 2012 presentation, “Success depends on the degree to which you can identify with the interests of the program or agency. Be as ready to build a relationship with those offering funding as you are to write a proposal. Most funding sources have personnel specifically dedicated to this purpose.”
Even if you’re not particularly interested in applying for a grant, Dr. Penfield notes that ability to write persuasively, as you must in a grant application, is a valuable skill to develop for other types of projects. If you’re a K-12 instructor or administrator, maybe you want to propose a new activity or organization for your school, or put in a request for classroom supplies. It doesn’t have to be a large-scale initiative. Sharpening your persuasive writing skills is a valuable skill for professionals working at any educational level, and in all kinds of roles. (Fellow graduate students, we’re part of this discussion too!)
For the newbies, Dr. Penfield suggests starting small and developing a good track record. Also important to keep in mind, the process does not end, but rather begins with the actual award.
Can you share a grant writing success story? We’d love to hear from you. What resources or advice can you offer?
Grant Writing Professional Development Workshop
You can meet and talk with Susan yourself this summer at her CERCLL summer workshop: May 29-30, 2012: Speaking of Grants: Funding Possibilities for Language Educators.