Tips to Winning Grants

By Howard J. Moskowitz

As school districts struggle to make ends meet in a down economy, grant funding is a way to avoid certain cuts to budgets that are already being squeezed. But while districts are quick to pursue grants, they’re not always successful in getting them.

Why? As someone who has reviewed hundreds of state and federal grant applications for a variety of agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and Head Start, I have seen some of the worst written documents you can imagine. I also have reviewed some outstanding proposals.

What is the difference between an award-winning grant application and one that is tossed aside? Over the past five years, I have developed a series of tips that every outstanding grant contains. Following my list to the letter won’t guarantee that your grant is accepted, but it will improve your odds of success in what has become an increasingly competitive market.

When you are writing a grant, here is what deserves your special attention.

Getting started
Teachers wish that students would follow directions. Grant reviewers wish that grant writers would do the same. Answer the specific questions asked in the request for proposal (RFP) and label and format your document as the funder specifies. You also can use bold highlights and bullet points to identify the various sections.

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