Education Grants: Win or Lose, What to Do Next

education grant
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After you’ve sent off your proposal for an education grant, there’s nothing more you can do to influence the decision. You just have to wait and hope for the best. Stay optimistic. After all, you’ve done a great job planning and writing the proposal, so there’s a good chance you’ll get the grant. 

If you win, you’ll have everything in place to get started right away. If not, then get to work planning the next proposal; there are more grant opportunities just waiting for you.

Education Grants: 7 Things to Do When You Win One 

Be ready to hit the ground running should you win. Have your plans in place so you won't lose valuable time. Encourage staff to continue planning so they'll be ready, willing, and able to start immediately if and when the funding does come through.

Follow the plan. Do what you've said you want to do. Spend on budget items exactly. Measure what you've said you'll test. Send reports on time.

Understand roles. Make sure that everyone involved understands the project thoroughly and knows exactly what his/her role is in it.

Recognize personnel for their work; thank them publicly. Talk about how well the project is working.

Keep the support strong. Maintain enthusiasm for the project throughout its life. When people hear that a project is going well, it motivates those involved and convinces everyone that they have a great thing.

Sustain it. Make the program a regular part of the school's or district's program. Find ways to sustain it over time, even after the funding period ends.

Evaluate the outcomes early and often. Make small changes when they're needed-and before they adversely affect the success of your project.

Education Grants: 6 Things to Do If You Don't Get One 

Of course, it’s possible that you don’t get this grant. After all, you win some and you lose some. So start planning for the future.

Contact the funder and ask to read the reviewers' comments about your proposal (if the grant program provides this) so you'll know how close you were to winning and what you might want to change for future tries.

Read the summaries of projects that did win and analyze why these were selected.

Submit it again. If you think the plan has merit, propose it again and/or find a different funder. Maybe the proposal just needs tweaking to succeed. Don't lose heart or give up easily.

Adapt the proposal to fit another grant or even hire a professional grant writer to help punch it up.

Start the project anyway. If the idea is important and the staff is committed, begin whatever parts you can without the outside funding. Maybe the groups that said they might contribute funds will help you anyway.

Find a new idea. It's possible that no one is funding exactly the kind of initiative you want to do right now, but there's probably an alternative course you could take.

Gwen Solomon was Founding Director of The School of the Future in New York City, Coordinator of Instructional Technology Planning for New York City Public Schools, and Senior Analyst in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Instructional Technology. She has written and co-authored several books and many magazine articles on educational technology.