Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Donor Choose - Grants

I was just recently awarded a grant through Donor Choose for science themed reading material for a classroom at our school. I was required to write a grant through a class I was taking as a final project (we didn't have to get it funded we just had to write and submit). Several of us in the class got our requests funded. Mine was flat out funded but a friend of mine got hers funded through a series of donations to the project (which is a great way to get parents involved by asking them to contribute a little bit to the materials you need).

For those educators who have not heard of Donor Choose it is a site where teachers can put up grant requests for their classroom. The entire process is very easy. The site walks you through everything step-by-step.

Some tips I would pass on are:

1. Put a picture up of you with your class (make sure photos are permissible of your students first). I think if donors can get a sense of who you are and your students you run a better chance of getting funded.

2. Work backwards. I wanted to get a grant for a science newsletter in the classroom but the site works with very specific vendors - none of whom carried the newsletter I wanted. I decided to look at the vendor sites first and then write my grant to match what I could get (in this case Time Magazine for Children for my writing/ELA class).

3. Write your responses in Word and copy into the blocks they give you. Save your Word document. I remember going to town the first time with my write up on the site and my computer froze and I lost everything and had to start from scratch (annoying!). I have used portions of my saved grant write ups with other non-Donor Choose grants this way.

4. Look at other grant requests for ideas. My problem isn't doing the write is coming up with the ideas. Sometimes one project might trigger an idea for another project (I got "build your own telescopes" for an astronomy grant after seeing a grant request for something else related to astronomy).

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