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How I Win Grant Money

by Kip Glazer
 | Jan 08, 2015

“Congratulations, Kip Glazer! You are the newest winner of our One Classroom at a Time Grant!”

A perky news reporter walked into my classroom with her cameraman in September 2013, holding an oversized check. She truly surprised me because I sent the application in June and completely forgot about it!

As a veteran teacher, I have written many, many grant applications. On my LinkedIn profile, I have listed several I have won over the years. However, I have always felt a bit uncomfortable about talking about my experience. Don’t get me wrong—I am not shy about submitting grant applications. I submit several of them each year, but many of them have been rejected. I have learned to deal with the feeling of getting polite rejection letters. They all pretty much say the same thing, they regret not being able to fund my project. They wish that I try another time. But as Shakespeare once said, “Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, but cheerily seek how to redress their harms.”

One of the reasons I win grants is because I do not let rejection get to me. Although I feel the reason I win grants was because I was at the right place at the right time, I am happy to share a few things I have done. I hope it will help teachers in a small way in submitting their own grant applications.

Just start!

Arthur Ashe once said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Anyone interested in winning grants should just start. Don’t wait. Do it now! Type in “teacher grants” into a search engine and begin. There are tons and tons of websites helping teachers find grants online. I also subscribe to list services that send out grant applications weekly. I usually look at the emails when I have about 20-30 minutes to spare. When I see a grant I think I should apply for, I just sit down and write the application and hit submit. I don’t stop until I am finished because I know it is unlikely I will go back to it later. Remember, you can never win a lottery unless you play! Just keep writing!

Create a go-to document

To expedite the process, I have a Google document I keep with all the list of projects I would like to pursue. Whenever I think of a new idea, I put it in that document. I add bullet points under different projects. I add what the project is about, how many students it will serve, what types of standards it will target, what supplies I will need, etc. That document also houses the paragraphs from some of my previous grant applications. I definitely keep paragraphs from winning grant applications!

Leverage media and target local organizations to build personal relationships

Several of the grants I won were small and they came mostly from local educational agencies or charitable organizations. Some of them were unsolicited. The first time I won a grant from my county office of education, there was a newspaper article. I cut out that article and sent it to various local charitable organizations with a letter asking for more donations to the project. I received a lot of polite rejection letters, but some led to making connections with people at local organizations. Even when they say no to me, I send a thank you card for their time. As a result, these new friends have donated money to my students who need help with AP testing fees.

I have also cultivated friendly relationships with local media. Prior what I consider to be innovative projects, I typically do an additional lesson with my students on how to write a press release for local media. I also email different online news sites to connect with the writers. One communication resulted in a Mindshift blog post. With that, I was able to contact other local charitable agencies to request additional funding for other projects.

Crowdsource and collaborate

In addition to asking for donations, I often ask my friends and their acquaintances to share information on various grants. Just the other day, a parent of one of my graduates sent me information on a $150 grant. It only took me five minutes to complete the application. It is worth letting people know you are always on the search for grants. I have also shared information on grants with other teachers that didn’t quite fit me. So please email me if you know of any grant for which I should be apply!

Always consider collaborating. The largest grant I won was with two other teachers. The grant was brought to me and we wrote the application together. While working on the grant application, I learned so much about what my colleagues are doing and we all benefited from winning the grant.

Document and share the results

Each time I won a grant, I made sure to create a quick digital presentation or a blog post of how the money was spent. No matter how small or how much large the award, funders love to see that their donations are making a difference. I not only honor the people whose generosity made things possible but also teach my students that no one does these things alone. It has always been important for me to teach my students to be gracious. A picture on a blog with credit accomplishes that more quickly. It has helped my cause as well. I have used my links to the pictures and videos more than once for additional projects. Pictures really are worth a thousand words!

I don’t mean to profess to be an expert grant writer. I am not. I am a teacher who won a few grants during her career. I sincerely hope you find some use from my experience. Good luck to you all!

Kip Glazer is a native of Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States in 1993 as a college student.  In 2002, she graduated Cum Laude from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She earned her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University in 2004, while receiving her California Single Subject Teaching Credential in both Social Studies and English. Since then, she has earned additional teaching credentials in Health, Foundational Mathematics, and School Administration. Glazer is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Learning Technologies at Pepperdine University. She is the current team leader for Independence High School’s Teachers’ Professional Development Grant funded by California State University, Chico. She maintains a blog about her projects and grants.

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