Taking Action for the Coastal
and Marine Environment
||The Role of Edu-action programs in Changing
||Changing Learner Behaviour Through Environmental
||Finding The Funds -A Students Guide
To Writing A Grant Application
Finding The Funds -A Studentsí Guide To Writing A Grant Application
|Adapted from: Chesapeake Choices and Challenges (1995), Chesapeake
Youve got great ideas! Youve got tonnes of enthusiasm! Youve
got a place, time, and date for your project! Youve got everything
you need. Right?
Well. Maybe not. If your project involves things like materials or transportation,
you might need MONEY.
This guide will help you to find the funds you need to make your Edu -
action Project a success.
A. Preparing to Write a Grant
1. What is a grant?
A grant is a certain amount of money that is awarded to a group to pay
for a specific project that the group wants to do. A group receives a
grant by applying for it through a competitive process. Funding is not
Think of it this way: If you want to paint your bedroom purple, you might
ask your mother for money to buy the paint. Before she will give you the
money, she will want to know all of your reasons for wanting to paint
your bedroom purple. She will want to make sure that you are spending
the money on purple paint, and not using it to buy 50 bags of lollies.
And she will probably want to know when you will be painting, when you
will be finished, and how you plan to paint the whole bedroom all by yourself.
If you can come up with good enough explanations and answers, then your
mother might give you the money.
Applying for a grant works the same way. When you apply for a grant, you
need to convince the funding body that you have good reasons for doing
your project. You need to explain why your project is appropriate and
important. You also need to prove that you have done your research and
that you can do the project when, where, and how you say you will. If
your explanations and answers are convincing, the funding body might give
you a grant!
2. Which funding bodies can assist schools in Edu-Action projects?
Your state Department of Natural Resources and Environment can advise
you on the availability of Commonwealth, State or Regional funds that
may be available to help you with you project. Some of the organisations
that are currently funding projects to do with improvement of coastal
and marine environments include
Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) Programs including -
State Government Agencies
Local Land Managers
Private Enterprise through Sponsorship.
The Internet is a good tool with which to search for grants within agencies.
There may be a project in your area that you can add to with your own
work. Working together with other groups is a good way to improve your
chances of getting funding.
Projects that are unlikely to get funding include:
- projects that are already finished. You need to apply before you
- projects in the environment that are not connected to improving
- projects using non-native species (such as goldfish).
- textbooks, computers, etc. for an entire class.
programs that have a positive impact on the environment and
will educate others about issues in the Coastal and Marine Environment
projects that involve the community
projects that are well planned and well organised
projects that receive support from other sources as well as from
reference materials to help you do your project
3. How much money can we request?
You should request exactly as much money as your project will require.
School projects should start small and grow as the situation demands and
the success dictates. Many good projects can be set up for under $1000.
4. How do we start writing our grant proposal?
Take a deep breath! The first thing to remember about grant proposals
is that you have, or can get, everything you need to fill them out. Your
very first step, after you have chosen a project idea, is to call the
local coastal or land manager or the Natural Heritage Trust for information
and feedback. Part of their job is to help you write a good grant application.
The Grant Writing Checklist at the end of this activity will
help you follow the correct steps as you write your grant.
If your project is to take place on public land (including all rivers,
streams, bays and inlets and most of the coast) then approval from the
local land manager is required before funding will be considered. As a
part of the preparation it is important that you contact the local management
agency. It is also important to get permission from your school, as your
application will probably need to be signed by the principal.
B. Brainstorming Your Grant Proposal
1. Look at the application!
Read over the grant application carefully. On a big piece of paper,
write each of the major questions (starting with DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT)
at the top of a page.
This will help you when you start to brainstorm.
2. Be sure you understand each question!
Before you begin brainstorming, make sure that you understand what is
being asked. If you have questions about the grant application at any
point, you can call the funding body.
Using separate sheets, brainstorm each question one by one. Use the
guidelines for each question table on the next page to help
you understand the questions on the grant application. Remember that brainstorming
involves writing down ideas no matter how crazy they seem at the time.
When you have filled each page with ideas and cant think of any
more, then you can stop!
4. Refine your Brainstorm
Go through your lists and put stars next to the ideas that you most want
to use in your grant proposal. There might be some ideas that you can
just discard, and others that you like but that need more explanation.
Get a new piece of paper and label it "Things to Find Out.' On this
piece of paper, list any information that you still need to find to write
your grant proposal. For example, if you don't know how much the materials
for your project will cost, then you can't fill out the "Budget'
question on the application.
5. Do Additional Research as Necessary
Make phone calls and research to find the information you are missing.
Remember: the telephone is a powerful tool that can help you find the
information you need. If you don't know how much something costs, try
calling a store that sells the item. If you don't understand exactly what
one of the questions on the grant application means, try calling the funding
body for help. But don't just leave sections blank !!
6. Write a Rough Draft
Once you have all of your information assembled, write a rough draft
of each question. The rough draft is a crucial step for figuring out exactly
what you want to say and ironing out any mistakes. Since this is a lot
of writing, you might want to give each question to a different person
or group. You may need to write several rough drafts before you are happy
with your answers.
7. Get Feedback
When your rough draft is finished, you should show it to a number of
different people. You should get corrections and feedback from your teacher;
you should give a copy to your principal so that he/she knows what you
plan to do.
You will have the best chance of receiving funding if you stay in touch
with your local coastal manager and the funding body throughout the entire
C. Finishing the Grant
1. Type it up
Grant applications should be typed on a typewriter or a computer. If
you decide to type the applications on a computer, instead of using the
original application form, be sure to write and answer the questions exactly
as they are written and in order. You can often obtain an electronic version
of the form from the Internet, then just fill in the spaces by computer.
2. Look it over
After all this work, it would be terrible if your grant application
had a big spelling error in the first paragraph! Proof-read carefully
and spell-check to be sure that everything is perfect. It is especially
important that you check the math in your budget. The punctuation and
grammar in your application should, of course, be flawless.
3. Get all the necessary signatures
You need to have original signatures (no photocopies or faxes!) for
the Project Leaders as well as land managers and people from whom advice
has been obtained if these are asked for.
4. Send it off
5. Wait for confirmation and feedback
You should receive confirmation that your grant application has been
received. If you have not heard anything for several weeks then you could
contact the organisation to see if your application was received.
Guidelines for Completing a Grant Application
|1. Description of Project
||Describe your project thoroughly. How long have you
been studying the issues?
Do you intend to do other projects too?
What are your goals for the project?
Where, when, how will you do the project?
Who/what will benefit?
|2. Schedule of Project
||When will you start the project?
What will be your sequence of events?
When will your project be finished?
||How much will everything cost?
4. Describe Plans for Continuing Support Beyond Period of Grant
|If you plan to continue the project next year, how will
you fund it?
5. Describe Plans to Evaluate Project Success and Effectiveness
|What will make the project successful in your eyes?
How will you decide whether your project was successful?
|6. Describe Any Secondary, Positive Impacts of Project
||Does your project involve the community?
How does your project encourage others to help restore coastal and
How will your project help others who wish to do similar projects?
|7. Has Your Organisation Requested Financial Support
from Other Sources?
|| List the other organisations, businesses, etc. that
project. Your schools council, small community businesses will often
provide additional support.
Is your school providing any resources for your project (space, paper,
What is the value of your school actually doing the project? - cost
the amount of time contributed to the project by volunteers. This
is often forgotten but is a major local contribution to the project.
|8. Has Your Organisation Received Financial Support
from Organisations for Other Projects?
||List funding sources for other projects, if possible.
Grant Writing Check List
Follow these steps:
||Inform your teacher and principal that
you are writing a grant
||Read over the application carefully
||Get in touch with the potential funding
body to ask any questions you have about the application
||Research your project
||Brainstorm each question
||Refine your brainstorm
||Find out anything you do not yet know
about your project
||Write a rough draft (or two, or three)
||Get feedback from your teacher, your
principal, and funding body
||Type your application
||Double-check your application
||Double-check your budget
||Get all the necessary signatures
||Send your application to the funding
||Wait for confirmation and feedback;
revise if necessary