Good grant writing depends on skilled wordcraft and the emphasis of key aspects of the nonprofit or applying agency to suit the target grant. It also depends (in the same way all good writing depends) on being able to reach the reader on a gut level. I found grant writing to be very rewarding, and look forward to the opportunity to work on more grants in the future. This was a single elective course, but skills learned in other classes were beneficial in the completion of the project below.
business plan creation • research and analysis of potential funding sources • grant writing • community partner relationships
For this project I partnered with local elementary music educator Amber Flores, whose classroom is badly in need of new instruments and multicultural curriculum materials that will speak to its diverse population. The grant writing process was divided into three parts:
First, Ms. Flores and I worked together to create a business plan. This was accomplished through several long discussions about the needs of her students, the particular demographic of the schools at which she teaches, and her own background and passion for teaching. We compiled every bit of information we thought might be useful and used that to determine the angles we might most successfully explore: general music grants, equity grants, and diversity grants. I spent some time organizing and wording the business plan so we would have a solid document to draw from when writing the final grant.
Second, we researched funding sources. At first there seemed to be many grants available to teachers, but it soon become clear that a large number of them were not a good fit due to geographical restrictions, time factors, or other grant qualifiers. It turned out to be a long process of research and evaluation. Keeping our potential angles in mind, we narrowed down the options to a few likely prospects, then chose the best one.
Last, I wrote a grant to apply for the Music is Revolution Mini Grant. This involved identifying relevant sections of the business plan and revising them to fit the grant, then smoothing out the wording to make Ms. Flores’ story as engaging as possible. At this time we also compiled an itemized budget for her project, as requested by the grant requirements.
At present we are still waiting to hear whether this grant will be funded.
*The names of the teacher and the schools have been changed for use in this portfolio.