How I Won Over $10,000 for My Classroom
Teachers spend an average of $500 out of their own pocket on school supplies each year. One in ten teachers spends more than $1000!
Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little help in paying for school supplies? Over the course of the last six years, I’ve been able to win over $10,000 in grants and I want to share some tips that can help you do the same.
When applying for different grants, make sure you write about things that set you apart. Instead of playing to your strengths, you may want to focus on your challenges. If you’re a new teacher, mention that. If you work at a Title I school, mention that, too. The strengths you need to focus on are your strengths as a teacher and your student’s strengths, as well. Be as specific as possible when talking about how you’re going to use the money and how it will impact both you and your students for the better.
When I look at grant opportunities, there are four different categories I break them into: local, state, national, and private sector. On the local level, you should continuously be asking your school and/or district if there are any grant opportunities available. Most districts have foundations dedicated to this purpose. Districts will also partner with local businesses in order to provide more opportunities for you. The dollar amounts for local grants are usually smaller than those at the state and national level, but they happen more often and they are easier to write for, so it can still be quite profitable.
State and national-level grants have a higher dollar amount attached to them but you have to do more work in order to apply for them. These usually have more paperwork to fill out and you are often competing with more people. These grants are often geared towards a specific subject or use, like buying more technology or updating your classroom’s physical library. These grants are usually designed for the entire school or district projects and are much harder to win. A lot of schools/districts will hire professional grant writers to win these grants, so while not impossible, it often makes it a lot harder for a classroom teacher to score a win.
Another way to earn money for your classroom is by searching online for grants that different companies in the private sector offer. A great website I use to look for these types of opportunities is grantwrangler.com. Another great company to work with is DonorsChoose.org because teachers get to create their own grant projects and the public can then find and fund it if it’s something they support. This is a great way to get your friends, family, and school community involved.
The last bit of advice I have is to never give up! I recently won a grant that I’ve written for over the past four years. Winning big grants often takes time, patience, and perseverance. There are always a ton of opportunities for teachers to earn a lot of money for their classrooms, but you have to be willing to put in the time to find them and apply. Once you start having success, I can assure you that your students will thank you and so will your bank account!