This is the time of year we love to hate: making those dreaded New Year’s resolutions. But try something new this yearinstead of resolving to lose weight (again!), take a look at my New Year’s resolutions for grant-seekers and consider adding these to your list:
1. Resolve to make 2001 the year that your school district actually spends time and energy planning for grants. Call in a consultant, learn how to set up a grants office, and put the structure in place so you’ll be ready by the 2001-02 school year. Schedule planning meetings this summer to identify your district’s needs (in terms of both students and teachers), take a look at your district’s technology plan, and develop a few ideas for projects that you’d like to see funded.
2. Resolve to make 2001 the year that you begin to practice proactive, instead of reactive, grant-seeking. Don’t sit around and wait to hear about funding opportunities. Get your project ideas together and start doing the research to match your projects’ goals with what funders want to fund. Ask for copies of last year’s requests for proposals (RFPs) and start working on your proposal as far in advance as you can.
3. Resolve to make 2001 the year that you do not wait until the very last minute to submit your proposal. I know, out of all these resolutions, this might be the hardest one to keep! But try, anyway, by creating a timeline for putting your proposal together and stick to this timeline as best you can.
4. Resolve to make 2001 the year that you will not take rejection personally. Remember, not every grant proposal can be fundedand even I don’t know anyone who has a 100-percent success rate (unless they’ve only written one grant proposal, and it was funded). Use the rejection as a learning experience to help you write a better grant proposal in the future.
5. Resolve to make 2001 the year that you will network, network, network. Always keep your eyes and ears open for potential collaborative partners on projects. Find out what your neighboring districts are doing, and see if there are ways that you can work together. If you don’t have a working relationship with the private schools and higher-education institutions in your community, now is the time to give these folks a call and start talking. If no one from your district has attended an eSchool News Grants and Funding for School Technology conference (http://www.eschoolnews.org/gf ), find out the 2001 schedule and plan to attend one! Make it a goal that, by the end of 2001, you will have contacted at least five new program officers to discuss grant programs.
6. Resolve to make 2001 the year that you will do your very best to manage the grants that you receive. Make a list of what is due and when, and make sure that you send the required reports in on time. Spend monies appropriately, according to the budget that you submitted, and make sure that you ask the funder in advance before changing your program and/or its budget.
7. Resolve to make 2001 the year that you remember to thank every funder for the opportunity to applyand make absolutely sure that you send a thank-you when your grant is funded. You are entering into a relationship with a funder that should be respectful and appreciative. (Besides, your mother always made you say “thank you” whenever you received a gift.)
Good luck as you pursue funding in 2001!