Getting Funded: Grant Writing Tips for Speech-Language Pathologists
If you’re currently working within the education system and service a local school district, you undoubtedly know the struggle of having enough funds to provide the best learning environment you can for your students. You’ve likely paid for a number of materials and resources out of your own pocket in order to create enriching therapy sessions every school year.
Receiving funding for materials and activities is often one of the biggest struggles speech-language pathologists encounter. Grants from the local and federal government as well as other local or national organizations can go a long way towards helping you in the funding of your classroom’s activities.
Maybe you’ve considered writing a grant proposal to receive funding for classroom tools that could greatly benefit your students but were overwhelmed by the process. The grant writing application can certainly be confusing and frustrating, but to not apply for a grant when you have the opportunity is the equivalent of leaving money on the table. If you don’t ever ask for it, you won’t ever receive it!
Finding the Right Organizations for Your Grant
It’s estimated that over $50 billion dollars in grant money is awarded every year. The grants come from corporations, organizations, local foundations, and even the government—both at the local and federal level. For every need, there is almost surely an organization suited and willing to fund a project.
There are two main things to remember when you’ve chosen to apply for your speech-language grant: you must be ready to invest the time the grant writing process takes, and you must be very clear on what it is you need. Once you’ve figured out those two things, the next step is finding the right organization or foundation to fund your grant.
One of the best places to start is locally. There are many corporations, foundations, and organizations that exclusively fund local grants. This is probably one of the best places to begin. Once you’ve found organizations that match your purpose, make sure you know the contact information for the organization, guidelines, and any meeting dates. This information is crucial during your grant writing process.
Writing Your Grant
Following all the directions and guidelines is crucial to the grant writing process. The organizations you’re reaching out to may have specific criteria or format you must adhere to in order for your grant application to be accepted. Many grant proposals are turned down solely on the fact that directions weren’t followed properly.
As mentioned earlier, the more you can be specific about what you want, the better picture you’ll be giving the organizations you’re applying to. Of course, you’re thinking about the list of things you could really use grant money for, but it’s best if you can prioritize your needs in order of importance and choose what you know will benefit your classroom the most.
From there you need to clarify “why” the grant is necessary. Include who you’re asking for. Is it just your classroom or other SLPs in your district? Once you’ve painted a clear picture of whom, comes the task of explaining how you will use the equipment, tools, or resources you’re given. That information falls under how the grant will help your students reach their goals.
Post Grant Writing Tips
Once you’ve completed the grant application and written your proposal, you might choose to have it checked over by colleagues or someone you trust or you know who has successfully received grants. Their knowledge and information can be extremely helpful in spotting errors in your application or making sure you didn’t miss any important steps.
Prior to turning in your grant to be reviewed, find out who will be reviewing your grant or who you should reach out to for assistance or any questions you may have.
If your grant was accepted, congratulations! Don’t forget to evaluate and explain how successful the grant was to the organization that awarded you with funding. Making sure they know how beneficial the grant was and how your students applied the funds can help you receive additional grants from them in the future.