The Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase

The Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase is an online resource aiding education professionals in their pursuit of public and private grants to support local programs. Its five elements contain information and resources that assist the grant seeker with developing their project, writing the grant proposal and managing the grant upon its award.

Element 1: Assess Organizational Needs and Basis for Desired Funding

Purpose: Writing a successful grant application begins with understanding the reason for seeking grant funding from a governmental agency or private foundation. If the grant seeker is a school, the organizational assessment undertaken for improvement planning may provide useful reasons for the desired funding.

The grant seekers organizational assessment must address the subject area the funding organization has an interest in supporting. In regards to a governmental grant proposal, the assessment must address the request for proposal's focus.

Element 1 outlines the tasks involved in creating an organizational assessment.

Activity 1: Take a Snapshot of Your Organization

Activity 2: Identify Broad Areas in Need of Improvement

Element 2: Outline the Project Ideas

Purpose: Developing innovative grant ideas that fulfill organizational needs is essential in a successful grant application. The successful grant application will be one that effectively matches the grant seeker's project ideas with the grant funder's interests or programmatic focus!

Activity 1: Create a Project Team

Activity 2: Conceptualize Project

Element 3: Organize for Action

Purpose: Prior to writing the grant application, the project lead should pre-plan how the application will be developed, a timeline for completing it, and an internal review process for the application. Element 3 outlines the steps in creating a road map for the application process.

Activity 1: Understand the Grant Requirements

Activity 2: Plan to Act

Element 4: Develop and Submit the Grant Proposal

Purpose: The grant proposal brings life to the project idea. It is the vehicle the grant seeker uses to sell their idea to the prospective funding sources. Element 4 outlines the steps to develop and submit a successful grant application. Once the application has been submitted, follow-up with the funder is essential.

Activity 1: Develop the Project Plan

Activity 2: Commit the Proposal to Paper

Activity 3: Review and Finalize the Proposal

Element 5: Implement the Grant

Purpose: Upon receiving the grant award it is necessary to have a process in place for administering and managing the grant. Element 5 outlines the steps involved with implementing the project and fulfilling the grant's administrative requirements.

Activity 1: Administer and Manage the Grant

Activity 2: Accomplish Change

Activity 3: Evaluate Project Outcomes

Task 3: Report Results to Constituent Groups


Guideline: Communicating with constituent groups is an ongoing activity. Sharing the organization's progress in achieving the grant's goals is important. Recognizing different audiences have varying information needs, tell the story in a way to meet each audiences' needs. When sharing quantitative information be sure it is in an easy to understand format and a language suitable for each audience.

Different Formats for Different Audiences

This document lists a number of different types of reports and suggests appropriate audiences for each report.

Guidelines for Effective Public Engagement

This Education Leadership Toolkit document offers five guidelines for effective public engagement. The Education Leadership Toolkit was a project of the National School Boards Foundation under a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools receiving funds under any applicable U.S. Department of Education program. School districts should ensure all staff members and outside contractors, such as counselors and interpreters, are familiar with the applicable policies on the privacy of student records.

Presenting to Difficult Audiences

Not everyone may be receptive to the message being conveyed. This document provides five recommendations for presenting difficult messages to audiences.


Statistics Every Writer Should Know

This resource describes in "plain English, some basic concepts in statistics that every writer should know."


The Fog Index

The Fog index was developed by Robert Gunning to measure how hard something is to read. His Fog Index in The Technique of Clear Writing (McGraw-Hill) is considered the most reliable formula for testing your writing. It is not an index of how good your writing is, but of how easy it is to understand. Using the index, grant administrators can test the communications they send to constituent groups.