Module 15


Taking Action for the Coastal
and Marine Environment





Reading 1 The Role of Edu-action programs in Changing Learner Behaviours Reading 2 Changing Learner Behaviour Through Environmental Education
Reading 3 Finding The Funds -A Students’ Guide To Writing A Grant Application    


Reading 3

Finding The Funds -A Studentsí Guide To Writing A Grant Application

Adapted from: Chesapeake Choices and Challenges (1995), Chesapeake Bay Foundation.


You’ve got great ideas! You’ve got tonnes of enthusiasm! You’ve got a place, time, and date for your project! You’ve 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 guaranteed.

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 -

- Coastcare
- Fishcare
- Rivercare
- Landcare

• 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 start.
- projects in the environment that are not connected to improving habitat.
- projects using non-native species (such as goldfish).
- textbooks, computers, etc. for an entire class.

NHT supports

• 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 NHT
• 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.

3. Brainstorm

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 can’t 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 process!

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?
3. Budget 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 marine environments?
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 support your
project. Your schools council, small community businesses will often provide additional support.
Is your school providing any resources for your project (space, paper, time)?
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 body
  Wait for confirmation and feedback; revise if necessary