FAQ

How can teachers find private funding for classroom equipment?

Some foundation grants are available to schools to improve education. The sponsoring grantmakers typically require that proposal inquiries applications be funneled through the relevant school district and be on official letterhead. Your district may have on staff a grantwriter or a fundraising consultant to coordinate such efforts. Be sure to find out if such a position exists and work with and through that person.

Going after this type of grant will probably be a fairly formal process and will require considerably more than just filling out a request form for a specific purchase. You can expect to need to present a well thought-out case to support your project with evidence to support your expected results. You can also find less formal opportunities for grants for business and available for teachers.

Information for teachers and other business people

The Ford Foundation offers grants to “bring transformational education improvements to students in communities of concentrated poverty…”  You can look at their grant application process and requirements here: http://www.fordfoundation.org/issues/educational-opportunity-and-scholarship/more-and-better-learning-time/for-grant-seekers

Some companies and organizations hold contests for teachers with prizes of cash or other incentives. Click this link to see some current contest opportunities for teachers.

A resource with even greater potential than the occasional small contest is crowd funding.  Sites like donors choose.org focus specifically on helping teachers get the funds they need for their classrooms. There are also several other sites:  check out this NBC news article to learn more about them and see the positive experience teachers have had with them.

In addition to publicizing your requests  through crowd funding there is also opportunity in simply going directly to companies and organizations in your own community. Banks can be a promising possibility, and of course most businesses have budgets for projects which generate positive publicity. Check with members of your PTA to find some connections.

How can I find grants to create a new nonprofit organization?

Foundations definitely fund specific new projects, particularly innovative ones. But we know of few if any instances where they have actually awarded grants for the creation of new nonprofits. They prefer to work with proven entities with a track record of success.

You might be able to get funding for your project if you partner with an existing nonprofit, especially one which has had success winning grants. Funders like to see partnering between organizations.

You can find many useful, up-to-date books on Amazon that explain more about what it takes to start a nonprofit, which is considerably. Check them out and also check with your local library for more information sources. These websites can also help to set you on the right path:

http://nonprofit.about.com/business/nonprofit/msubstart.htm
http://fdncenter.org/

What workshops can I take to learn more about grantsmanship or fundraising?

The opportunities are numbers! Here are a few to investigate:

The Grantsmanship Center offers excellent training on all the important steps of grantsmanship.
http://www.tgci.com

Grantspace.org, a service of the Foundation Center, offers online courses, in-person training, and intensive, multi-day “boot camp” training opportunities well worth investigating.
http://grantspace.org/classroom/training-courses/proposal-writing-basics

The Center for Nonprofit Management in Southern California. offers high quality seminars on a wide variety of topics important to grant seekers:
http://cnmsocal.org/education/

Which books are the most helpful for beginning grantwriters?

The book Program Planning & Proposal Writing by Norton J. Kiritz is described as “the original guide to planning successful programs and writing winning grant proposals.” It has been a classic for 40 years. Now it have been updated and expanded and the new version called “Grantsmanship: Program Planning & Proposal Writing” will be available in mid-January 2015. You can order the new publication at http://www.tgci.com/publications-purchase.

The Foundation Center’s most recent edition of the Guide to Proposal Writing, by Jane C. Geever and Patricia McNeill is available at the link below.  It includes Pre-Proposal Planning Tips, Proposal Components, and Guidance from Grantmakers.
http://marketplace.foundationcenter.org/Publications/Fundraising/The-Foundation-Centers-Guide-to-Proposal-Writing-6th-Edition