Find the Money: Tips for Getting School Grants

It’s no secret that many early learning programs are barely getting by in this tough economy. Enrollment is down and it’s a struggle to pay the bills and keep staff. Updating your indoor  or outdoor space, purchasing new curriculum and even restocking the supply closet seem like impossible dreams. But those dreams can come true! It’s just a matter of finding the right funding source and putting together a compelling proposal that will bring those funds to your door.

The School Funding Center has a great blog that is full of grant writing tips and a link to an early childhood grant source database.

Some tips include:

  • Find grant sources whose giving purpose closely match your funding needs. Most foundations have a stated goal or reason for being. In addition, many list the types of projects they like to fund. Do your homework and be sure that you are applying to a source who is interested in funding a project like yours.
  • Apply to as many of those matching grant sources as possible. The more you apply to, the more likely you are to receive a positive response.
  • Whenever possible find facts and figures to backing up the importance of your need. Funding sources like statistics. It gives the impression that you know your stuff.
  • Include a detailed budget in your grant application to show grantors that you know the problem you are facing and what it will cost to fix it. Include information about cost of materials and personnel.

In my experience, including a compelling story is also helpful to capture the heartstrings of the people reading your application. So give grant writing a try. A little effort can bring in the dollars you need to help your program thrive.

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A Community Celebrates Early Childhood

Today plans were finalized to create an “Early Childhood Extravaganza” event in our local community. World of Wonder spearheaded the organization of the event, but it is taking place because a variety of organizations serving young children and there families saw this as a great opportunity to come together.

The extravaganza is a one-day event where any organization, school or business serving young children (birth-8yrs) can show the community what they have to offer. Families can learn about various schools, summer camps, enrichment programs and local services.

Key components to the event include:

  • Free for everyone thanks to the sponsorship of our local resource and referral agency
  • Exposure to the community- great for programs looking to advertise cheaply in this down economy
  • Open format- creates a great networking opportunity for all
  • Fun- in exchange for the free marketing opportunity, participating organization must come up with a fun activity for children. Ideally this activity will showcase the organization’s strengths. Some preschools are planning activities that show how important play is to learning. The local library will have an activity around reading to young children.
  • Strengthens community- through increased understanding of local resources and increased awareness of the importance of early childhood.

I’m proud to be a part of this event and urge other early childhood organizations in other communities to think about working together for the benefit of all.

Countdown on Another Fiscal Year

As the month of June comes to an end World of Wonder is busier than ever helping non-profits across the country spend their money before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Of course, we’re happy to help… WoW Kits are an excellent purchasing choice! It’s just such an odd thing, this flurry of activity. Organizations that so carefully count each penny and thoughtfully consider every purchase madly and desperately try to spend everything in their budgets as June draws to a close. It’s a busy time of year. Organizations are placing orders and tracking invoices. We’re filling orders and rushing shipments. Teachers are packing up their classrooms and closing the door on another school year. Parents are trying to figure out how to coordinate their children’s summer schedules and find a new rhythm for the summer months ahead. And the beat goes on…