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A Little Help from Inchy | Writing a Grant for a Book Vending Machine
Posted on 30th Jul 2021
Congratulations, you’re taking the first steps to create a better learning environment for your students! We’ve gone over quite frequently the success stories of educators receiving grants to bring Inchy to their schools, but that brings up the question - how do you write a grant proposal for education? Today, we dive into that.
Where to Start
Writing a grant proposal for education purposes is a multi-step process. First and foremost, you need to identify which institution you want to apply for a grant from. Some fund both individual teachers and organizations, some are just one or the other. Check to see what the guidelines are for the grant you’re applying for!
Aside from doing that research, another step in the process is to decide why you want the grant. What purpose is the funding going to serve - for example, a PBIS (positive behavioral intervention and supports) reward program via book vending machine - who will benefit from it, and why do you want the grant to begin with. Grant makers want to fund your ideas, they just also want to make sure you know what you want.
Stay Up to Date
A good bit of advice is to keep up to date with which organizations have grants available. The NEA has this page listed for national grants, that’s a good starting point but definitely check to see if your local community has any grant programs. The funders may have kids in your classroom that tips the scale to your proposal! Also, if your grant proposal is similar to a proven project, include it! That extra bit of proof that the idea works goes a long way. For example, check out our blog to look how often grants for book vending machines get approved!
Aside from knowing what you want, funders want grantees to have a solid plan in their proposal for how the materials will benefit the students. Asking for a book vending machine to be installed in your elementary school is fine, but saying you need the book vending machine for PBIS rewards and to bolster reading and comprehension in the entire student body as they prepare for middle and high school has a better chance of successfully receiving money. Funders don’t just pay for materials, they’re paying for innovation and ideas.
Of course, you also have to have a feasible project on a reasonable timeline (typically about a year). Can’t just go asking for $10,000 for a vague reason and then not have any long-term goal or plan. Similarly, you want your goals to be something that’s achievable for the students. Guaranteeing the whole body aces their standardized tests? Not something feasible. Saying you wish to improve test score averages? That’s more in the realm of possibility.
Writing a proposal takes time. Just getting the information down alone and ensuring you are following all the guidelines asked of you takes a minute. Then, there’s the proofreading, budget proposal, and signature collection. The biggest delays typically come in the signature collection department. Definitely get the proposal to the dean/principal and the school’s accountant/finance department as they tend to run point on these sponsorships. It could take weeks to get their signatures, so waiting for the deadline day could sink your entire proposal.
You absolutely should be writing clearly and having colleagues proofreading the proposal too. Think of the way you ask your students to write essays, following style guides and having the kid next to them read over the work to flag mistakes. It’s easier for someone else to read your work and find a mistake than it is for you, because you know what you meant to say and your brain fills in the gaps.
These steps are the most important when it comes to writing a grant proposal for education. There are a few others, but these should help strengthen your case the most. Regardless of whether or not your grant proposal is accepted, you’re trying to improve the students you’re entrusted to educate, which is commendable and admirable!
You can contact us by filling out a form here to enquire about bringing a vending machine to your school. Stay up to date with our blog, so you can track Inchy’s progress with us throughout the country. Also, if your grant proposal is accepted and you go with one of our book vending machines, there’s a possibility we feature your school in a post. Our machines are very customizable, able to be wrapped with whatever fun design you can think of. If you need help fundraising, fear not! We’ve helped hundreds of schools make the reading dream a reality!