In many cases, charter schools depend upon grants for establishing the school. However, grants aren't always easy to obtain, and for many, the competition for funding is fierce. How can you edge out the competition? Read the following tips to learn how to get charter school grants:
- Application-It is extremely important that grant writers follow the application instructions precisely as they are given when they apply for a grant. Deadlines must be adhered to. In fact, your application will not even be looked at if you do not apply by the deadline. Your grant proposal may also be trashed if you leave off any required information or you add additional information that wasn't required.
- Innovative Ideas-While many people love exhibiting their creativity, now is not the time to go too far out on a limb. You won't be given money for a project or idea that sounds too off the wall. You can, however, take a workable idea and give it a fresh and innovative new look. Your best bet is to take a look at grant proposals that were accepted and see what worked for them. Be sure your ideas are clearly detailed with examples and instructions on how these ideas will be carried out as well.
- Good Curriculum-A charter school education must rely upon an exemplary curriculum. Make sure your curriculum not only covers the four basic core areas of study-English, math, science, and history-but that it also offers many other extracurricular activities and electives. Your curriculum must be as well-balanced as possible, and it must cater to every student on every level that will be instructed in the school.
- Realistic Goals-Be sure the goals for the charter school are realistic. Have an evaluation plan in place that shows how the school will be held accountable. Cite research to substantiate these goals. Use the success of other charter schools as your model for your own institution's plans and goals. Be clear and precise in the goals for the school, the faculty and the students.
- Extensions-If you think the project may one day be extended to other schools in the area, be sure to point that out. Give examples detailing how the project could eventually help more children in the area. Add additional information on similar programs that have worked in other areas.
- Detailed Budget-Your charter school grant proposal should include a detailed budget that shows just how the grant money will be spent. The budget should include as many possible expenses as possible, so that the grant reviewers will understand just how the total amount of money that is issued will be used.
- Proofread-Before you send in the grant proposal, it is imperative that you proofread it several times. You should then hand the proposal over to at least two more people to proofread it as well. If you know someone who is familiar with grant writing, enlist his or her help in polishing up the grant. You may also engage the services of a professional grant writer for help with this project.
- Reviewer Comments-Finally, don't be surprised if you get several denials before finally receiving a charter school grant. It is important that you write a thank-you note to each review panel, however, and if possible, ask the review committee for constructive comments that could improve your next grant writing endeavor.
Now you know how to get school funding. Good luck finding grant money for your charter school!