Join Karl Kapp for an in-depth discussion in this video Why write grants?, part of Grant Writing for Education.
- Why write grants? The answer might seem obvious, for the money. But if that's the only driver behind you wanting to write a grant, you've got a long road ahead. Evaluators and funders are really good at reading between the lines, and they will easily note the absence of passion or sustainability in a grant focused solely on obtaining money. Usually writing a grant just for the money, it's not a recipe for success. Instead, you should seek grant opportunities that are tied to your professional goals and aspirations.
Keep in mind that grant writing will take a great deal of time and effort, and when things get rough, and they're gonna get rough, it's really hard to be motivated by some distant pot of money tied to a project that you don't even care about. Rather, think of grant writing as a method of funding your personal and professional growth. Think of it as a way to better understand your chosen field, and as a tool for building and sustaining innovative programs and projects.
Grants are an opportunity to bring prestige, credibility and scholarship to you, your students, and your organization. Grant writing provides the funding to purchase much-needed equipment, supplies and even additional human resources in tight times. It's a means of gaining the freedom to travel to conferences and workshops to become a better educator. Grants can be a pathway for providing students with opportunities and experiences that cannot be afforded any other way.
Grants can be a valuable tool for creating collaborations across institutions and geographic distances. Winning a grant can free you to focus on the research, teaching and service that you most enjoy, and have a burning passion to pursue. Grants can give your academic department the resources it needs to expand and grow. Just the process of seeking funding makes you a more seasoned and experienced professional. In many institutions, grant writing counts as a scholarly activity, and it helps with earning promotion and tenure.
And the research generated from a winning grant can be published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, which are also helpful for promotion and tenure. Seeking grants and external funding is basically an entrepreneurial activity, and therefore fosters creative ideas, innovative partnerships and breakthrough research. Grants helps produce new and creative ways of solving problems, and can lead to consulting engagements within your field, or even to the founding of your own entrepreneurial business.
At the institutional level, a robust grant writing program helps to expand programs, recruit and retain students, and promote the school within a larger local and academic community. A healthy grants program actually promotes private donations, and often leads to increased alumni involvement within the school. Ultimately, successful grant writing is not driven simply by a desire for money. Now don't get me wrong, the money and the resources provided by grants are important, and they're worth pursuing, however your focus throughout the grant writing process should be on tasks, programs and opportunities that the grant affords, not solely on the money.
- Finding a private or governmental funding agency
- Locating collaborators
- Understanding an RFP
- Dissecting the anatomy of a grant proposal: front matter to appendices
- Avoiding common grant-writing mistakes