"Fundraising and grant writing skills are becoming more and more important as budgets are being cut and materials more expensive to obtain. With cuts to education increasing . . . locating resources for alternative funding is very crucial to school librarians."
Nadelbach, S. (Jan 2008). Your Path to Grant Money! Library Media Connection; 26(4), 22-23.

money treeYou can't rely on your budget to meet the ever changing goals of your school library media program. Of course you can ask students to sell candy, advertise junk food on your school walls, and beg for donations. However there are many other approaches to funding library and school programs.

Explore the wide range of options as you seek outside funding.

How do I get started?

Begin by dreaming. Start with lots of ideas. Brainstorm all the things you'd like to do. What would you need to try these wonderful projects? Then, begin exploring funding sources. Rather than looking for a particular grant to meet a specific need, be flexible. You may need to modify your idea to get the funding you need.

eye means readRead Abshore, S. (Feb 2002). Grant Writing Made Easy (Access requires login). School Library Journal; 48(2), 38.
In order to get the grant, you first have to write a grant proposal.

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Where can I go for funding sources?

There are a several websites that provide information about funding, grants, and grant applications for educators and schools.

There are numerous funding sources; a few more are listed under Funding Sources at the bottom of this page.

eye means readRead Wallevand, K. (Sept 2010). Local Bank Steps In to Keep High School Library Open After Hours. DDAY News6.
As the Moorhead School District prepared to ask voters in November for help in dealing with severe financial woes, Gate City Bank has agreed to sponsor "after hours" time at the high school library.

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What about funding sources specifically for school library programs?

eye means readVisit and explore The Library Grants Center from Salem Press. Don't mist the Library Grants: How-To section.

Explore other websites to find funding for school libraries:

Partner with a teacher in your building and work on the grant project collaboratively! For example, write a grant with your reading specialist or special education teacher. Consider a grant for high school history or science.

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How do you write a grant that will get funded?

There's no guarantee. However if you don't write a grant, you'll never get one.

eye means readExplore Writing Successful Grants Knowledge Base from Mid-Continent Comprehensive Center.
Identify the key components for a grant proposal.

Complete the following steps in creating a grant proposal:

eye means readExplore Non-profit Guides: Grant Writing Tools for Non-profit Organizations (July 2007) from SeaCoast Web Design.
The site provides free tools, tips and templates to assist educators and librarians write grant proposals.

A successful grant proposal is one that has been planned and designed to meet local needs; one that fits the school and the community. One must match the proposal to the exact guidelines provided by the funder.

Other online resources for planning and writing a grant proposal:

Samples are provided to give ideas about the layout and structure but not as components to be copied and pasted into your own proposals.

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How do I handle rejection?

It's likely that you might have to apply for a number of grants before receiving funding. Eventually you'll be awarded a grant. The key is to keep trying.

If you get frustrated, try for some smaller grants. Don't give up.

eye means readRead Glaser, C. (May 2004). Got That Grant? Great! And if You Didn't? The Thomson Gale Report.

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What are other sources of funding for my program?

In addition to grants, there are many other fundraising programs you and your school can consider.

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Check Your Understanding

You're the new teacher librarian. In the past, the librarian had a candy bar drive in the fall, sold Christmas wrap from catalogs in the winter, and pushed magazines in the spring to supplement that library media budget. Your school already collects soup labels and boxtops and has a Coke banner on the football field. This money is used for buying computers. You've decided to go another direction.

Describe one of the many funding opportunities not already mentioned. How would you develop this type of program? Why do you think it's an effective approach? What do you plan to do with the money?

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bulletin boardMake It Real

There are many grant opportunities for school library media programs.

Write a grant proposal for a particular funding source.

Consider the Innovative Reading Grant at the American Association of School Librarians.


Read More About It

School librarian A. Tigges posted her experiences with applying for and receiving four library grants in 1 and 1/2 years; learn more at Grants (Oct 2011), a posting at the Blogsite of the Georgia Library Media Association.

Funding Sources

Awards and Grants from the International Reading Association

Donors Choice
An online charity that connects donors to classrooms in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests; then persons can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires them. Once a project reaches its funding goal, Donors Choice delivers the materials to the school.

Funding / Grants / Scholarships from The Rural School and Community Trust

Funding Solutions from Scholastic

Fundraising Links at Character Counts!

School Funding - Education grants from eSchool News

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