Grants are a great way for schools to fund safety initiatives and equipment. Here’s how to ensure your application gets the attention of grant reviewers.
In the ongoing battle against youth vaping and the need for improved school safety, grants are a vital resource for schools and school districts.
Youth vaping is on the rise; since 2014, e-cigarettes and vapes have become the most popular tobacco products among youth in the United States. More than 2.5 million young people reported using e-cigarettes last year, according to official government data, with 14.1% of high schoolers and 3.3% of middle schoolers regularly vaping.
According to the 2023 Verkada Teen Vaping Survey, the best way to address the student vaping epidemic is through the use of technology like vape detectors and video security cameras. These tools can help organizations better identify vaping trends and build effective programs to address the vaping epidemic.
Funding is crucial to support the purchase of these technologies and to support these and other health-related initiatives. Other popular equipment that schools can get help for funding include safety and security systems, such as electronic door locks and panic buttons.
Here, we’ll outline some practical grant application tips for schools and school districts, helping school administrators navigate the often-complex landscape of grant funding.
Grant applications - why collaboration can be the difference maker
Collaboration can be the key to securing funding for school projects. Schools and school districts often face stiff competition when applying for grants. By partnering with neighboring schools or districts, schools can build and present a more substantial case, clearly demonstrating that a project will have an extensive and lasting impact.
For instance, if multiple schools collaborate on a grant proposal to fund vape detectors, it shows a shared commitment to solving a common problem. Such collaboration can attract the attention of grant-making organizations, as it promises more widespread and impactful results.
This approach also enables schools to pool resources and expertise, giving them a better chance of creating a comprehensive and powerful grant application. Bringing in stakeholders from different schools is a great way to share ideas and develop a more persuasive argument for funding.
Requirements checklist - make one and stick to it
Grant applications are like a puzzle, and the rules for each puzzle can vary. Grantmakers receive numerous applications and have a whole host of reasons for rejecting an application.
One of the most common reasons an application gets rejected is failing to follow the Request for Funding Proposal (RFP) instructions. This might be for something as seemingly insignificant as using the wrong font size, forgetting to include required documents, or submitting the application in the wrong format. This means all of your hard work could be for nothing, and that your school doesn’t get the support it needs.
Print a hard copy of the RFP and the application to prevent such errors. Go through them line by line, highlighting critical details. Pay close attention to:
- Due dates: Missing deadlines is one of the most common reasons an application is rejected. Give yourself plenty of time to make your case.
- Submission methods: Understand how and where the grant source wants applications.
- Contact information: Identify who to contact if you have questions.
- Formatting and page limits: Ensure your application meets the specified formatting requirements. Many sections have word limits - don’t go over them.
- Required attachments and forms: Pay attention to these documents. Check and double-check that the grantmakers have everything they need before you hit send.
Working through a comprehensive requirements checklist makes the application process smoother, significantly reducing the risk of your application being rejected over a technicality.
Demonstrate your understanding of the selection criteria
Each RFP document outlines the specific criteria grantmakers use to evaluate applications. Understanding these criteria can help tailor your application to match what grantmakers want to see. The most common criteria typically focus on the following:
- Project development: How well is your proposed project developed, and how do you plan to manage it? Outline timelines, including milestones and deadlines.
- Issue severity: How serious is the problem your project aims to address, such as youth vaping? Provide statistics and credible sources. Sources like the Verkada Teen Vaping Survey can be powerful tools for grant writing.
- Impact: How will your project specifically address the issue, and how will it impact your school or district? Provide relevant case studies, long-term benefits, and expected impact.
- Staff qualifications: Do your staff members have the qualifications to complete the project successfully? Explain roles and responsibilities, and plans to add additional skills if needed.
- Resources: Do you have the resources needed to deliver and manage a successful initiative? State how the funds would be allocated to enhance your current resources.
By addressing all of these subjects in your application, you demonstrate a clear understanding of the grantmaker’s goals and objectives and give them fewer reasons to choose to reject it.
Consider including specific examples or case studies related to the school or district’s unique situation. These real-world examples can make your application more compelling and show how the funding will make a real difference.
Tailoring your approach in this way increases your chances of success and can set you apart from other applicants who have not been as thorough.
Collaboration, attention to requirements, and writing to meet selection criteria are essential to secure grant funding for school safety and vape detectors. Schools and school districts must be diligent in their approach, as the competition for these grants is fierce.
You can strengthen your proposal by partnering with neighboring schools or districts, showing a collective commitment to the cause, and the promise of widespread benefits.
Pay attention to the importance of adhering to application requirements. A simple checklist can help ensure your application stays in the running by preventing common errors.
Finally, when crafting your application, ensure it addresses the specific selection criteria in the RFP. Tailoring your application to meet these criteria enhances your chances of success and signals to grantmakers that your project aligns with their goals.
With these grant application tips, school administrators can confidently approach the grant application process and increase their chances of securing funding for crucial school safety and health initiatives. Read our article here for more information on how to find available grants.