In case you missed it!
Below is a list of educational grants and opportunities from the @PitchThisEDU Twitter feed. Visit @PitchThisEDU on Twitter for a complete listing.
Become a SparkFun Community Partner
Toshiba America Foundation Grants
Crayola Creative Leadership Grants
School Library Journal - School Librarian of the Year
NEA Foundation Grants to Educators
Stemfinity - State, Federal & Private Grant Opportunities
First the Seed Foundation - Tomatoshere
The 3 Rs
So, you think you found a match (see previous blog post). Your first step in writing a successful pitch for any grant proposal, contest (or other opportunity) is to write yourself a brief history. This history can include information about yourself, your team, your classroom, your school, your region. Bottom line...you choose what goes in your history - be honest and transparent - but, you don't need to include everything. Keep it simple and brief. The idea is to create a text of history that can be recycled and tweaked with every 'opp-pitch' (opportunity pitch) you make. For this step, take a page out of Austin Kleon's book, "Steal Like an Artist" - step away from your computer and sit at a table or desk with paper, pens/pencils, sticky notes and Sharpies (if that's your thing) and brainstorm some key aspects of your professional history. The idea is to pull out the history that is relevant to the proposal you are writing...obviously, without making anything up. You will end up with a skeleton-history that you can adjust to match any pitch you write. Once you have some historical highlights mapped out, write yourself a brief history honing in on points relevant to the grant application you are writing. After editing and having several friends and colleagues look it over, save your history in its own GoogleDoc or file and label it history. You can now copy and paste this into any proposal you write. Simply add and subtract relevant information depending on the granting organization - remember you want them to know you are a great match for what they are offering. Now for the disclaimer: prepare to feel rewarded. Writing a brief history to be used in an opp-pitch naturally withdraws accomplishments from your memory. When you go back to review and edit your history, you will likely feel awesome at the progress you have made so far in your professional lifetime. This feeling, at the beginning of the grant-writing process, will give you the energy you need to finish this thing.
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.
@PitchThisEDU = Opps 4 Ts + Ss
Some things just make sense. Like planning ahead. Smiling. Making connections. Something else that just makes sense - exposing kids to new learning opportunities. I am in constant search of new ideas, new things to bring to the classroom. I search a lot. I search so much, I have started a collection of opportunities in education. Some have due dates. Some don't. Some are grants, some are contests, some are just snippets of stuff. Rather than hoard these opportunities, I am going to share them @PitchThisEDU. Starting now. My advice - pick one that is a good match for you, your students, your classroom, your school - spend time with your team putting together your pitch, and apply. If you need help, please reach out. I am happy to help.
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)