How to Make Your Grant Application Stand Out

Just like crowdfunding, grant writing can be a powerful tool to raise money for your classroom when done well. AdoptAClassroom.org offers a variety of grants for teachers, but because sometimes a high volume of teachers apply, it’s especially important that your application is the best it can be.

Follow our grant writing guide for teachers to ensure that your application stands out.

Step 1: Pay Attention to the Deadline

When we announce a grant opportunity, pay attention to the deadline so you can give yourself time to plan, rather than rushing to complete it at the last minute.

To be among the first to know about grant opportunities, sign up for our teacher newsletter.

Step 2: Read the Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria

Be sure to carefully read our guidelines and evaluation criteria that we publish with every grant. The grant applications that are awarded funds typically follow all of the guidelines and criteria.

Step 3: Tell a Compelling Story

Those who are successful at applying for grants aren’t just good grantwriters, they’re expert storytellers. As a teacher, you naturally know how to keep a group engaged.

Use your experience as a teacher to talk about the importance of providing your students with the school materials you’d like to purchase with a grant. Talk about the students who flourished when they had access to learning materials, or the students who are currently struggling without them. Important: please keep the identities of your students anonymous.

Example Classroom Story

“Last year, I struggled to get my students interested in reading at the start of the school year. After looking through many of the books offered in our school’s library, I realized that almost none of the books represented my students’ struggles, joy, resistance, or empowerment. That week, I spent $400 of my own money to start building a classroom library with diverse books that were culturally relevant to my students.

The change in my students’ attitude toward reading happened almost immediately. During our daily reading time, nearly every child would read without distraction. I had multiple students who went from being unable to stay focused during our half hour reading time, to struggling to get them to want to put down a book and move on to our next lesson. My students developed a love of reading because of our classroom library, which is why it’s so important that I keep it updated with new books that represent every child who enters my classroom.”

Is your story compelling to the average person? Tell the story to your friends, family, or colleagues and see how they react. If your story brings tears to their eyes, or a smile to their face, use it in your application.

Step 4: Include High Quality Photos and/or Video

Always include photos or video with your grant application, if possible. Photos from your classroom, or a compelling video of you talking about the supplies you need or telling the story of a student in your class can give your application a boost.

Sometimes we require a photo or a video with grant applications, which is an even better reason to make sure what you’re submitting is high quality. You don’t need professional equipment to take a photo/video. In fact, we encourage you to use your phone or laptop’s webcam, just make sure the shot is in frame and isn’t blurry.

Photo/Video Tip: You can never go wrong including a photo or video shot from your classroom!

Step 5: Ask Someone to Edit Your Application

Do you have a friend, family member, or colleague who’s a great writer? Ask them to review your grant application to give notes and spot typos and grammatical errors. If you know more than one person willing to help, even better!

Step 6: Reread Before You Submit

Once you’ve made changes based on edits you’ve received, be sure to reread your application at least one more time before submitting it. A final readthrough may help you find an error made during the editing process, or you may discover that a note you received doesn’t work as well as you thought it would.

Step 7: Reuse Your Grant Application for Crowdfunding

If you followed our steps, you’ve taken the time to craft an excellent grant application. Even if your grant application isn’t selected for funding, you didn’t waste your time. Spending more time writing a grant application can actually save you time in the long run.

You can repurpose the story, photos, and/or video in your grant application for your AdoptAClassroom.org classroom fundraising page, social media posts, and fundraising emails. Learn more about how to update your classroom fundraising page here.

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