Let's face it. Some opportunities will be a great match for your project, and some won't. No harm done - as long as you realize this early in the process. It is important to note (and definitely important enough for a blog post) that every opportunity that you come across will not be a great match. The key is to start your own collection of grants, contests and opportunities that will support the work that you are doing, or the work that you plan to do (current projects or upcoming projects). If you ever find yourself trying really hard to answer a question on a grant application, or you feel the need to really dig for information that is relevant (border-line, making stuff up), then there is a pretty good chance that the opportunity is not a match for you and your project. In short, your first step in the writing process is to first find an opportunity that is a match for you. This means, the requirements and priorities of the granting organization fit the work that you are doing. This will require a bit of research on your part. What types of projects has the organization funded in the past? What ideas and areas of interest do they fund? What are their goals for the future? A simple search of the granting organization's website will usually give you this information. If the organization is a nonprofit, use sites like GuideStar - which will give you the organizations IRS 990s for the previous year - outlining to whom they donated and how much.
Don't limit yourself to content area and/or focus area. For example, you could be a social studies teacher who wants to get kids up and moving in your classroom and learning while moving their bodies. This opens you up for much more than typical social studies-related opportunities. This grant request is more about pedagogy and your style of teaching than your content area. You might be a team of teachers interested in STEAM grants and opportunities - what have you done in the past that makes you a relevant fit? What will you be doing in the future? Do you have a staple cross-curricular project that would benefit from outside support? If you haven't done anything STEAM-related, then maybe your pitch should include information about how you want to offer this to your students in the future! Be transparent. To make a great match, know thyself. Be knowledgeable about your relevant history, know what you are doing now, and have a plan for what you want to do in the future. When an opportunity comes across your screen, you will know if it is a good match for you, or not.
About the Author
I see opportunities come across my screen...a lot. I have acted on some, but not all. So, I started a collection. A collection of EDU opportunities. I share my collection @PitchThisEDU. Pick one and apply. Let me know if you need help. BTW - I'm a teacher, [purposeful] writer, tweeter. -Jen Hesseltine (@jenhesseltine)
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