STEM grants: 5 easy steps for success!
While perpetually busy, summer is a time when educators and busy nonprofit directors can find time to step back for a moment and reflect upon the year thus far. We are half way through 2017 – how is the year going? Are your STEM programs and curriculum well defined? Do you have a clear focus on what you want to do? Do you have a plan? If you answered yes to these questions, add applying for a grant to your summer to do list! Here is how to get STEM grants in five easy steps:
Clearly identify what you are doing. You should be able to articulate what your mission is, who your target audience is, what makes you/your idea/your STEM program stand out from the crowd, and what makes you well-qualified.
Define what you want to do. You should be able to articulate all aspects of your idea, new STEM program, etc. What is it exactly? How many will you serve? What will your process be? What are the desired outcomes? What materials, time, space, etc. will you need? How will results be measured?
Research for STEM grants that match. This is potentially the most challenging (and time consuming) step. It is not necessarily difficult, but is often a matter of weeding through many poor fits to find a few of the best matches. Use a grant research database to simplify the process. To find the best matches, look for funding organizations in your town, county, and state whose mission most closely aligns with yours.
Prioritize. When you do get a good research list together with several viable prospects, prioritize your list. Start with STEM grants that have approaching deadlines, those that require the least expense of time (LOIs rather than proposals), or ones where you and/or your school may already have connections.
Apply! Write your LOIs and proposals in exact accordance with the funder’s stated expectations. Include what they say, in the order they say it – and NO typos! 🙂 There is no ‘special trick’ to grant writing. The key in writing an effective grant application or letter of intent (LOI) is to present a compelling case, backed by concrete evidence.
And that’s it! Five simple steps to getting a STEM grant! While the process itself is not overly challenging, it can take quite a bit of time. Set a goal to do one step a week – breaking the process down into small steps makes it more manageable, and ensures the process will be done by the end of the summer! Now get out there and get a grant!