Grant Alert: General Mills Foundation is Accepting Applications to Promote Nutrition for Kids and The Safeway Foundation is Offering Grants for Education

General Mills is currently accepting applications for their Champions for Healthy Kids program.  The program focuses on improving the physical fitness, nutrition and overall health of kids ages 2-18. The foundation will award 50 grants of $10,000 to non-profit organizations.  Applications must be received by December 3, 2012 and applicants will be notified by May 2013.  To apply click here.

The Safeway Foundation is currently accepting requests for 2013 funding.  The Foundation contributes to non-profit organizations. Applicants should have an interest in education, health and human services, hunger relief, and assisting individuals with disabilities.  Grant recipients will likely receive an award between $2,500 to $10,000.  Any organization awarded by The Safeway Foundation must serve the community where Safeway stores are located.  National applications will be reviewed January 2013 and most regional grants are reviewed biannually. Find out more here.

Grant Alert: Home Depot is Accepting Applications for their Youth Garden Grant Award and the Northrop Grumman Foundation is Offering Grants for Education Initiatives

The Home Depot and the National Gardening Association is currently accepting applications for their Youth Garden grants.  Any school or community organizations which offer child-centered garden programs can apply.  Special priority will be given to organizations that place emphasis on one or more of the following objectives: integration of content standards, nutrition connections, environmental awareness, entrepreneurship, social aspects of garden such as leadership development, team building, community support and/or service-learning.  Five gift cards for $1,000 each will be awarded, a $500 gift card for The Home Depot and a $500 gift card to the Gardening with Kids catalog.  Another 95 programs will receive a $500 gift card for The Home Depot.  All applications must be received by December 3, 2012.  To apply click here.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation is currently accepting requests for 2013 funding.  The Foundation contributes to non-profit organizations. Applicants should have an interest in education related initiatives that promote the advancement of science, technology, engineering and math on a national level.  Requests will be accepted until December 7, 2012 and applicants will be notified by March 31, 2013. Find out more here.

Grant Alert: Costco is Offering Grants for Education and Express Scripts is Accepting Applications for Education and Healthcare Initiatives

Costco Wholesale is currently offering grants specifically to empower people to lead healthy, productive lives and strengthen communities. Costco’s giving is focused on children, education, and health and human services. They accept and review requests throughout the year and focuses on charitable programs and community activities in the markets where they do business. Find out more about their charitable giving program here.

The Express Scripts Foundation provides grants to fund programs of eligible nonprofit organizations. They support programs with an area of interest in underserved youth education, school readiness, improvement of literacy, math competencies, pharmacy education, U.S. military troops and family education, as well as, science enrichment. Grant requests may be submitted and are accepted throughout the year. Learn more and take the eligibility quiz here.

Grant Alert: CVS Caremark is Accepting Applications to Assist Children with Disabilities and Nickelodeon and NEA Foundation are Offering Student Achievement Grants

CVS Caremark Charitable Trust is currently accepting applications for up to $5,000 to charitable organizations that are making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. Programs should serve children with disabilities under the age of 21 and address accessibility to physical activity, early intervention, and health and rehabilitation services. Please note that eligible organizations must have a CVS pharmacy store located in their state. The application deadline is October 31, 2012. Learn more here.

An additional grant presently being offered is from the NEA Foundation and Nickelodeon. The Big Help Program encourages the development and implementation of ideas, techniques and approaches for addressing four key concerns: Environmental awareness, health and wellness, students’ rights to a quality public education and active community involvement. Applicants must be U.S. public school teachers in grades PreK-12, school support professionals, or faculty and staff at public higher education institutions. The grant amounts are for $2,000 and $5,000. The application deadline is October 15, 2012. Start your application here.

Higher Education and Social Media Adoption

Lauren Kozeny is Granted’s summer intern. She is a senior at Mizzou and has been working on our social media campaigns this summer.

Social media is not going away, and hopefully your local colleges and universities are adapting. According to this infographic, 100 percent of colleges and universities use social media of some kind. I was not surprised to see this statistic. In fact, my own school is a great example of a university that is using social media well. The University of Missouri (Mizzou) currently has more than 221,700 likes on Facebook, which is more than three of the top five social media colleges have according to Student Advisor. Mizzou even has an athletics social media directory. For those college sports enthusiasts, this directory offers a comprehensive list of the social media channels for all of our athletics programs.

Your school’s social media won’t become successful by chance. Every school that steps out into the world of social media is faced with the challenge of using it well.  The first thing to pay attention to is the person who will manage the accounts. This person needs to not only understand social media, but also be passionate about the school. For example, Mizzou’s Facebook page manager makes an effort to respond to student comments and questions.  This one-on-one interaction and availability is vital to a successful social media presence, and it will make people feel that your school cares. It will also help you build stronger connections with your most interactive fans and followers. People who interact with your pages have a radar for inauthenticity, and they won’t get involved if they sense that your school is not genuine online. It’s important to remember to be human, not just professional.

Social media will present your community with the chance to see your school’s personality and strengths in a new way.  Having a profile set up isn’t enough – your school needs to create valuable content.  Content creation does not need to be a source of anxiety for your page manager, though.  Schools can use social media as an outlet for students and faculty to produce content to show off the school’s personality and offer valuable information.  For example, Mizzou uses their multiple social media accounts to promote special events, report emergencies, broadcast lectures, announce research breakthroughs, and share student accomplishments. Schools can also use social media in unique ways for student collaboration and interaction with teachers.  For instance, some teachers host class discussions on Twitter.  Students may even feel more comfortable asking questions through social media rather than in person or through email.

So, how is your local college or university using their social media channels?

Grant Alert: Target Funds Field Trips and Lowe’s Helps Parent Teacher Groups

Target is accepting field trip grant requests from August 1 through September 30, 2012. With school budgets tightening, children are given fewer opportunities to learn outside the classroom.  Target recognizes the value of sending kids to museums, historical sites, and other cultural organizations. This grant is available to K-12 schools nationwide. Winning schools will receive a $700 grant to send one classroom on a field trip. Start your application here.

As the school year starts, another grant to keep in mind is Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant funded by Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.  The Toolbox for Education grant awards up to $5,000 to parent teacher groups nationwide. These grants can be used to improve schools through already established parent teacher groups. This foundation focuses primarily on K-12 public schools and gives funding priority to basic necessities.  The fall grant application cycle is now open, and will close when 1,500 applications have been received, or by October 12, 2012. Learn more here.

10 Actions to Skyrocket Your Grant Writing Success…Continued

I hope you found the first five actions from last week helpful. Let’s pick up where we left off with and dive into last five tips to becoming a successful grant writer.

Action #5

Find a mentor and never stop learning.

Consider asking a successful grant writer to mentor you for several months.  This writer may have more work than she can handle and would appreciate your assistance.  This experience will increase your confidence and provide you with the opportunity to learn from an accomplished grant writer.

I can’t stress enough the importance of continuous training to hone your grant writing skills.  There are excellent online training programs, grant writing books, and classes at local community colleges and universities.  No matter what route you choose, make it a point to frequently update your grant writing skills.

Action #4

Volunteer to be a proposal reader.

Why is this important?  Because being a proposal reader can significantly enhance your success as a grant writer.

There are three primary benefits to being a proposal reader…

1.     You will better know and understand your competition. 

When you serve as a proposal reader, you get an “up-close-and-personal” view of other grant writers’ proposals.  You learn what your competition looks like, how your competitors frame their ideas, things they do to make their proposals stand out, and different ways they present similar information.

2.     You can gather ideas that strengthen your proposals.

Serving as a reader means you get to see all the different ways that fellow grant writers approach similar topics.  You have the rare opportunity to review multiple proposals and see how other writers use communication techniques such as charts, tables, graphs, bold type, highlighted text, and colored print to make their points to the readers.

3.     You broaden your professional network.

Just like you add followers to your social media networking sites like LinkedIn, it’s equally important that you expand your professional network by including people who work at funding agencies.  By serving as a proposal reader, you get the rare opportunity to “hob knob” with these individuals who influence decisions about which grant proposals are funded and how money is distributed. This makes it much easier to begin building rapport.

Action #3

Whenever appropriate, use tables, charts and graphs.

You know the old adage… a picture’s worth a 1,000 words?  This holds true with grant writing.

Any time you can use a table, chart or graph to display data or other information, use it.  Proposal readers have only a limited amount of time they can spend reading each proposal.  The quicker and easier they can get through your proposal, find all the information they’re looking for, and score it, the happier they’ll be.  Tables, charts and graphs make it simple and clear for them to digest large amounts of information and they also break up the text on a page, making it easier on readers’ eyes.  An unique page layout is always makes for a more interesting read.

Action #2

Use clear, concise, and compelling language.

In other words, know your audience and make sure you use persuasive terms that will appeal to the readers.  The narrative should be written so that proposal readers can quickly identify such things as the problem and the proposed solution.

The most important ideas should be highlighted and repeated in several different places throughout the proposal.  This way, if a reader misses it in one place, he/she will catch it in another.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone else to proofread your final document.  They’ll probably catch things you didn’t. And, never forget the KISS Rule – Keep It Short & Simple!  Don’t exaggerate.  Don’t embellish.  Just use your persuasive writing skills to let the facts speak for themselves.

Action #1

Write to the readers!

Readers will be scoring your proposal.  They make recommendations on which proposals to fund and which proposals to reject.  Their recommendations are almost always followed by the funding agency. With that in mind, make it as easy as you can for them to find the information they’re looking for and to understand your proposed project.

Information in your proposal should be exactly where they expect it to be.  Your writing should be succinct and thoughtful.  Go for quality, not quantity.  Readers don’t want to be impressed with the number of pages you can give them; they will be more impressed with the quality of the content within your writing.

We hope you find these actions helpful. For additional information on each action, be sure to sign up to the right to receive a video detailing these actions and more!

 

10 Actions to Skyrocket Your Grant Writing Success

In order to write award-winning grant proposals that bring additional money and resources into your organization, we’ve outlined (David Letterman style) 10 critical tips you must know to write successful proposals. Master these 10 actions and you’ll be well on your way to grant writing success!

Action #10

If you’re new to grant writing, begin by writing foundation proposals.

When compared to writing state or federal proposals, applying for money from foundations is usually a shorter and far less intimidating process. That’s why, if you’re new to grant writing, foundation funding is a great place to start.

There are three primary approaches to applying for grant money from foundations: First, some foundations request that you write a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). Second, some organizations ask that you complete an application – most of the time it’s an online application – that outlines pertinent information about the project you’re proposing. And finally, some foundations request a proposal.

I recommend you take a look at several award-winning foundation applications and proposals. I think you’ll begin to see why applying for foundation funding is a great place to begin.

Action #9

Read, re-read, and re-re-read the Request for Proposals (RFP) or the application.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) clearly describes, in detail, an explanation of the problem that needs to be solved. It also outlines what the funder expects you to do with the money. Then, it explains the results or outcomes it expects from you if you are awarded the grant.

The RFP will also tell you what information needs to be included in your proposal and the way you should organize it. Make sure you read and answer the RFP closely so you’re proposal isn’t passed up.

Action #8

Match your organization’s need to the correct funding source.

This is very important. Too many organizations run after the money. They find pockets of available cash and go after it. In the process, they run the very real risk of altering their own organization’s mission, programs, and services.

A much better approach is to identify the needs your organization has, and then look for funders who want to fund project that meet your needs. This may be a little more time-consuming, but it means that your needs will be directly matched to the funding priorities of the funder.

Action #7

Know the difference between goals and objectives, and train yourself to write strong, measureable objectives.

This is a very basic, and extremely critical part of grant writing. You must write broad goals and measureable objectives if you plan on submitting winning grant proposals.

An objective in a grant is basically what you’re trying to accomplish. Proposal readers (the people scoring your proposal) want to see that you’ve thought about how you’re going to achieve the results you want. If you can measure your results, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your project. This is what funders are looking for.

Goals are broad statements; objectives are specific, measurable statements.

If you’ve never written objectives before, this process might be a little intimidating at first. But, with a little practice, you’ll become an expert in no time at all!

Action #6

Read as many award-winning proposals as you can get your hands on.

• Work with an experienced, successful grant writer, and read every grant proposal he/she has written.
• Join grant writing forums
• Join grant writing groups on LinkedIn. They have active discussions about pertinent topics such as keeping track of proposal deadlines, fee structures, grant writing skills clients are looking for, and conflict of interest issues.
• Join grant writing professional organizations
• Put together a mastermind group of like-minded professionals

Be on the lookout for our next blog post on actions five through one on how to skyrocket your grant writing success.

For additional information on each action above, make sure you sign up on the right to receive a video outlining these actions and more!

How To Effectively Use A Proposal Readers’ Evaluation Tool

Many grant applications or Request for Proposals (RFPs) include a tool called the Proposal Readers’ Evaluation Tool.  This is especially true for RFPs released by state or federal agencies.  This tool tells you exactly what you have to include in your proposal and how many points you will earn for each section of your proposal.  Usually, the larger the number of points a section is worth, the more important the information is to the funder.

Proposal readers should be able to easily find the information in your proposal that corresponds to their evaluation tool.  By making it easy for the readers, you increase your chances of getting funded.

If the funder provides an evaluation rubric, use it.  It’s your best friend.  It clearly explains what the readers will be looking for and how they will score each proposal.  If a rubric is provided, and you use it, you’ll be several steps ahead of other grant writers who don’t use it.

If proposal readers can’t locate the information, they can’t give you the points.  Writing exactly what readers want to see and making the information easy to locate are critical to earning points and winning grant awards.

Put yourself in the shoes of the readers and write each proposal so that it is easy to find the information they seek. Remember, every single point counts!  Some proposals are funded because they scored just one point higher than their closest competitor!

 

Grant Alert: P&G Begins Accepting Grant Applications and Toshiba America Foundation Grants Look to Improve Classrooms

On July 1, P&G began accepting grant applications. This foundation aims to provide a valuable education to children all over the world. P&G outlines their objective by saying, “We want to help children live by ensuring a healthy start; provide them with places, tools and programs that enhance their ability to learn; and help them develop skills for life so they can thrive.” P&G focuses on programs that emphasize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in middle and high school, and Children in Need ages 0-12. The due date for P&G’s application is September 12, 2012. To start off the application process, take an eligibility quiz here.

Another education grant that is currently available is given by the Toshiba America Foundation. Established in 1990, this foundation supports special projects designed by teachers to improve their own classroom instruction for students in grades 6-12. The foundation puts an emphasis on programs designed by math and science teachers to make their classrooms more exciting and effective for students. The foundation accepts applications on a rolling basis for requests up to $5,000. This type of grant is ideal for teachers who want to make learning more exciting, but whose school does not currently have the budget to bring their idea to life. One recent application that won a grant from this foundation had students build their own functioning beehive to monitor and study.  In 2011, the Toshiba America Foundation gave $528,912 for 135 grants (high: $56,000; low: $270). Learn more about this grant and apply here.