Make a Plan and Start Early
Have you ever wished for “just one more day” or “just one more week” or “just one more month” to complete a project? Doesn’t everyone? Then, give yourself a whole year!
Throughout 2009, when you see a grant program that piques your interest, put the due date on a 2010 calendar. A month-by-month calendar for 2010 is easily made and saved on your computer. Most grants come around again and again. And, generally, they are due each year at about the same time. However, grant application availability usually is announced only 30 – 60 days in advance of the due date. This is a tough timetable for a busy teacher.
By putting a tentative due date on a 2010 calendar you have time to think through and plan your grant request. You also have time to involve other teachers and organizations, as well as obtain letters of support. Remember that grantmakers particularly like the leverage their funding by having several entities benefit from one grant.
The key to making this plan work is to be disciplined enough to create – and meet – some intermediate deadlines. For example, set an intermediate deadline for
(1) selecting an appropriate project and gaining approval to move forward;
(2) then, set another one for meeting with potential partners;
(3) set another one for outlining the information required by your grant application (and listing sources for the information); and
(4) an intermediate deadline for drafting and requesting letters of support.
Finally, be sure to have an intermediate deadline for completing a draft of your application – especially the application narrative, the budget and the budget narrative. This intermediate deadline should be set about 3 – 4 weeks before the tentative due date on your 2010 calendar. This gives you plenty of time to edit it and tweak it into perfection. More importantly, it gives you some wiggle room when the real 2010 deadline is announced.
Sandy Spruill is the Grants Administrator for Georgia Public Broadcasting and a Member of the American Association of Grants Professionals.