Summary of Key Points:
- New classroom technology like computers, tablets, webcams, video conferencing software, and smartboards helps your students learn efficiently—especially when they need to attend class remotely. However, the cost of this technology is often beyond school budgets, so teachers and PTAs or PTOs may need to raise the money in other ways.
- In addition to fundraising with FutureFund’s tools, educators should explore the potential of applying for grants to help cover the costs of important educational tech. Numerous ongoing grants are available at federal, state, and local levels, as well as several from private organizations.
- Most grant applications require a summary of your project (an explanation of the equipment you need and how it will benefit your students). You may also have to demonstrate why your school or classroom needs the funding you’re applying for, clearly show the goals of your technology project, and show how the funds will be used in your budget.
- Teachers should create a compelling narrative in grant applications that highlights their experience, obtain endorsements or references to strengthen their proposal, and proofread the application carefully to ensure that it is complete and accurate before submitting.
New classroom technology allows your students to keep learning at the same pace as their peers—helping them prepare for the competitive college admissions process and their future careers. But while laptops, tablets, webcams, and smartboards can all improve student focus and learning outcomes, they can also be too expensive for most school budgets. So as a teacher, how can you and your PTA or PTO raise enough money to cover the costs?
FutureFund provides effective fundraising tools for educators, but we’re also dedicated to sharing resources that can help you acquire the money your school needs in other ways. Below, we’ve put together a guide to help you find and apply for grants that can pay for some or all of your educational technology.
Via Adobe Stock.
Types of Grants Available For Teachers, PTAs, & PTOs
One of the hardest parts of applying for grants is knowing where to find them—but we’ve got you covered. Significant funding is available to educators across the country through the U.S. Department of Education’s grant database.
The filters in the database allow you to find federal, state, county, and local grants, as well as those offered through nonprofits or private organizations. Read the Opportunity Titles for each grant carefully to find opportunities that fit your needs, then click on the title to learn more about the eligibility requirements, amount of available funding, and other details.
Best Practices For Writing Compelling Grant Applications
Competition for educational grants can be fierce, since many educators seek grant funding as a way to finance needed technology and other materials. Even for grants with multiple awards available, you’ll need to take steps to make sure your application stands out.
Requirements vary between different grants, but there are a few things you’ll usually have to do no matter what. Here are our suggestions for completing these essential parts of your application.
Summarizing Your Project
Most grants are structured around projects, so that’s how you’ll have to frame your application to purchase classroom technology. While the optimal length of these summaries depends on the grant you’re applying for, it’s best to keep them short and focused—normally one to three pages long unless otherwise specified.
Generally, you’ll want to make sure your project summary includes an explanation of:
- The specific equipment you intend to purchase with the funds awarded
- How this equipment will benefit your students
- How you’ll integrate the new technology into your classroom once purchased
- The predicted impact of the technology and how you’ll evaluate it
- An outline of your budget showing how and when the grant money will be allocated
In addition to an overall summary of your project, you’ll most likely need to spend a significant portion of your application showing why your students need the technology your project aims to finance. You’ll need to:
- Include information on the technology needs of your students based on your curriculum
- Identify gaps in your current classroom technology and show how these create limitations or challenges for students
- Use data to back up your claims (showing test scores and other key indicators of student learning outcomes can demonstrate the potential impact of new classroom technology)
- Highlight equity concerns (like disparities in access to technology or resources) that the new classroom technology will help to address
Showing Your Goals & Objectives
Being clear and specific about what the technology you intend to purchase will achieve can increase your chances of receiving funding. Here are some strategies you can use illustrate the objectives of your project:
- Frame the technology you intend to purchase so it aligns with the grant’s purpose—for example, you could apply for a grant aimed at improving student literacy by showing how new e-readers or tablets would improve student access to literature.
- Explain your goals according to the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) framework. Showing how your goals fit each of these criteria proves that they can be easily measured and evaluated.
- Include timelines and milestones that show when each stage of the project will be achieved and when its impact will be made clear.
Via Adobe Stock.
Providing a Budget
Nearly every grant you apply for will require a detailed breakdown of where the money will go once it’s been awarded. Your budget will need to accurately account for:
- The hardware you intend to purchase (laptops, tablets, webcams, etc.)
- Any software the new equipment needs to function (like video conferencing platforms or project management tools)
- Any training costs for school faculty or staff members to administer and maintain the new technology once purchased
- A timeline of when these costs will be incurred and what portion of the grant money will be allocated each one
Creating a Contingency Plan to Fund Your Classroom Technology
Grant money can go a long way towards funding the educational tools your students need, and the information above can give you a stronger foundation on which to apply for it. However, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll receive all (or any) of the grant money you apply for, so it’s in your best interests to find alternative fundraising methods as well.
FutureFund’s ready-made fundraising campaigns and built-in financial tools can help you raise money to supplement any grants you receive—or provide much-needed capital in lieu of grants that don’t materialize. To learn more, book a demo with FutureFund and find out how our platform can help you finance the equipment your students need to succeed.