Top 8 FAQs About Writing — and Winning — Classroom Grants

I love talking to teachers and listening to their passion for their chosen career. I’ve never spoken with a teacher who’s in it for the money, the fame, or the perks. No, they sacrifice their time and energy to enhance their students’ learning experience, despite the fact that they are underpaid, under-appreciated, and under-supported.

In fact, a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics found that “94% of teachers spend their own money to stock their classrooms with the necessary supplies and resources.” In response, the National Education Association asked educators to share their #OutOfMyPocket stories to illustrate just how deep educators dig into their own pockets to purchase supplies for their classrooms.

While the larger, systemic failures fueling this problem need to be addressed with new legislation, teachers like you need relief. Now. Grants provide a great option for teachers who need access to supplies, materials, and innovative learning opportunities but don’t have the school budget to pay for it. From large corporations like Verizon to local foundations, organizations have stepped up to provide thousands of classroom grants for teachers. The trick: understanding how to find those opportunities and write winning grant applications.

This article answers the top questions about winning grants and provides resources to help educators streamline the grant writing process.

How do you get grant money?

To get grant money, you need to apply for a specific government or private grant. Then, a review board or group of grant reviewers will read all applications and select the winning one based on how well it matches their criteria. Grant winners will then be notified and, in most cases, must track how their funding is being used to report back to the grant provider.

How do you write a good grant application?

If you want to win a classroom grant for teachers, you first need to find the right opportunity for the type of funding you need. If you’re an engineering teacher who needs more CAD instruction for your students, make sure the grants you’re applying for are designed to fund that type of project. Then, you need to sell the story of why you need this funding. Focus on how you’ll improve the learning experience for your students or why these materials are essential to their education.

After you’ve locked down these details, it’s important to be methodical and thorough to ensure you don’t leave out any important information. We’ve created a free, downloadable grant writing checklist to make sure you include all the essentials.

What can grant money be used for?

You can find classroom grants for teachers that fund almost anything, from a new classroom pet to furniture, online learning tools, 3D printers, Chromebooks, and more. For this reason, it’s important to narrow down exactly what you need funding for before you start searching for grants. Once you send the grant reviewer the details of the initiative you want to be funded, you can’t change your mind when you win the grant.

Can you apply for more than one grant?

In most cases, you can apply for multiple classroom grants at a time. Government funding can sometimes be a little trickier, as some don’t fund the same school more than once. Other government grants can’t be combined. It’s important to thoroughly read all the instructions for every classroom grant for teachers.

How do you write a government grant proposal?

Government grants usually have the most complicated applications but the pay-off also tends to be proportionately larger than private grants. The key to writing government grant proposals is to be incredibly organized and get all key stakeholders involved right away. For those interested in government-funded classroom grants for teachers, here are the general steps you’ll follow to write a winning proposal:

  1. Identify your problem or need, especially in the context of the larger community. Government grants typically seek to enhance the community, and education is an essential aspect of a healthy community. Familiarize yourself with your classroom or school need, and conduct some basic research to identify why this is an important issue to fix. This is also a great time to get all key stakeholders involved and onboard with your vision for this grant money.
  2. Describe your solution to the problem and provide measurable outcomes. Grant reviewers want data and facts so they can measure the outcome of providing funding for your solution. Throughout your proposal, keep these outcomes and metrics in mind and formulate everything around meeting these realistic goals.
  3. Illustrate exactly how you plan to achieve your goals and outcomes. This is the part where you can really shine as a forward-thinking teacher. Explain your program design, and make sure you include expert opinions, research, and insights from the key stakeholders (principals, fellow teachers, CTE director, etc.) at your organization.
  4. Find grants that match your specific funding needs. Once you’ve gone through the process of identifying the problem and the solutions, you need to make sure you’re only applying to government grants that fund those specific types of projects. If you’re ever in doubt about how well your project matches with a grant’s objectives, contact the grant program officer and ask your questions. This open dialogue can also be beneficial when you’re in the throes of writing your application!
  5. Peruse all application details, deadlines, and requirements — then get writing! All classroom grants for teachers have their own very specific set of rules and requirements, so you have to really dig into the details with each one. Even though you have your problem statement, solutions, and research ready to go, you have to mold the messaging and formatting to match the exact requirements of each grant. Many grants are won just by adhering to the criteria and submitting all important documentation by the appropriate deadlines.

How long does it take to write a grant proposal?

It’s estimated that completing a grant proposal takes between 2-3 months. A large chunk of that time is typically spent doing research, gathering important materials or data points, getting all the key stakeholders involved, and crafting the right narrative. The actual writing portion will probably take about a week of dedicated work. Federal and local government classroom grants for teachers usually take longer than private grants, but again, it depends on each opportunity. We recommend planning for more time rather than less.

What is a grant proposal sample?

Kurzweil Educational Systems provides a sample grant proposal that you can use as inspiration in your grant writing efforts. While no two grant applications are exactly alike, this sample proposal gives a good idea of how to arrange key information and what to focus on in the application. The Grant Doctor also provides sample proposals for you to peruse, though most are for funding outside of classroom grants for teachers.

How long does it take to get a grant proposal approved?

It usually takes about 3-6 months to hear back from a grant review board. Often, how long it takes depends on how many grants the organization is offering, how many applications they received, and how long each application is. Classroom grants for teachers typically try to work with the school cycle, providing funding either before the new year or semester.

Additional grant resources

Now, it’s time to dig in and start leveraging classroom grants for teachers! Here are some resources to streamline the process and make winning a grant easier than ever:

Kelly Mantick
About the Author

SolidProfessor academic content writer and amateur hula hooper