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Your Go-To Guide for Getting Grants

What You Need to Know About Finding & Applying for Grants as a Parent Group

When it comes to bringing in money for your PTO/PTA, it doesn't get much better than a grant.

Grants are funds given for specific causes or projects that do not need to be paid back. These monetary awards are given out based on merit, need, or simply meeting the qualifications.

Very few of us would say no to a big gift of money, but there's a lot of us who can get intimidated by lengthy application forms or hung up when faced with the challenge of putting into words the answer to the question: "why does your school deserve this money?" As great as they are, grants take work to get! Which is why we've put together this go-to guide to help you learn about grants and get tips for applying during the 2018-2019 school year.

But before we get into how to apply for grants, let's make sure we understand the difference between grants and fundraisers...

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Go for the Grant? Or, Raise the $$ Yourself?

Grants and fundraisers are not the same thing and your PTO should go over a few questions to decide which option is best for your budgetary needs:

  • Is this money going toward a specific project/purpose? If so, grants are a great way to go, if not, then you should stick to fundraising so you can use the money in whatever capacity is needed.
  • Do you need the money sooner rather than later? Grants can take anywhere from a few months up to a year to process, review and make a final decision (local grants may be the exception here, so keep your eye out for those opportunities!). Fundraising, on the other hand, can begin whenever you decide and can be completed in the course of a few months.
  • Have you ever applied for a grant before? If the answer is no, that's ok (& you're reading the right blog!), but having someone with experience in grant writing or filling out applications for grants will really help throughout the process. Fundraisers are more DIY-friendly since you set the goals and standards from the very start and don't have to adhere to external guidelines.

Tips for Applying

All grants are different. Different awards, different deadlines, different purposes and different requirements for applying. Some will require filling out an application, others will require a written proposal, and some ask for a portfolio of past projects to prove that you deserve this monetary gift! Here are some tips to get you movin' in the right direction!

  1. Don't just meet the deadline, beat it: Getting started early will allow you and your team to really brainstorm on the important aspects of the application: how to define your group, why you need the money (beyond the surface level reasons – get to the core of the issue), and what aspects to highlight in your application... which brings us to #2!
  2. Find shared interests: A huge part of getting grants is to find organizations that align with your interests/focus and to communicate those shared interests in your application. If you need to get money for classroom supplies and you've found an organization that gives out grants for educational purposes, then your application needs to communicate the deeper importance of equipping our educators with the tools they need to be effective. The same goes for health/wellness programs, the arts, and other areas that need funding.
  3. Get your team together: Ideally, your team for getting grants (whether that's your regular PTO group or a group made from teachers, faculty & PTO members) should consist of people who are knowledgeable about the project that needs funding, a leader to coordinate the team and make sure the deadline(s) is met, and a strong writer to put your ideas onto paper!
  4. Answer the core questions: Your team should have concrete answers to the following questions – 1) What is the purpose of your project? 2) How, specifically, will you use the money (where will it be allocated)? 3) If you are not funded, what are other creative ways you will pursue your project (to show you are committed to the task at hand and won't abandon ship if the funding doesn't come through)? 4) Who will benefit from this grant (students, community members, teachers, etc.)? 5) How will you report how you've spent the money (pictures, video, testimonies, etc.)?
  5. Read the fine print: An important step when you have finished the application or proposal is that you are careful to adhere to the details. This means more than reviewing for grammar and spelling errors. Most grants have specific ways in which they want applications turned in, so make sure you know whether they want it mailed in an 8 1/2 x 11 envelope, emailed in a zipped file, arranged in a certain order (cover letter first, contact page second, etc.), and that each portion of the application is filled out and proofread.
  6. Research additional grants: Basically, don't put all your eggs in one basket. The application process might be tenuous but it's important to continually be researching for grants that align with your interests and can provide you with the funding needed to meet your goals!

2 Grants Offered by Get Movin'!

Fundraising Kickoff Video Contest

Creating a video to kick off your fundraiser? Enter our competition and you could win a $1,000 grant!

Schools who team up with us are wildly creative and we want to reward the enthusiasm they bring to their fundraiser by highlighting the unique videos they create. Any school that is teamed up with us for the fall has the opportunity to enter their video into this competition and win this grant.

Fundraiser Logo Contest

Example fundraising logo (drawn by a student!)

Show us your unique fundraising logo for a chance to win $300! Schools teamed up with us for the fall are eligible for this grant if they submit their creative fundraising logo.

Want a chance to enter our grants and win big for the fall? Team up with us for your fundraiser!

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