Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase

The Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase is an online resource aiding education professionals in their pursuit of public and private grants to support local programs. Its five elements contain information and resources that assist the grant seeker with developing their project, writing the grant proposal and managing the grant upon its award.

Element 1: Assess Organizational Needs and Basis for Desired Funding

Purpose: Writing a successful grant application begins with understanding the reason for seeking grant funding from a governmental agency or private foundation. If the grant seeker is a school, the organizational assessment undertaken for improvement planning may provide useful reasons for the desired funding.

The grant seekers organizational assessment must address the subject area the funding organization has an interest in supporting. In regards to a governmental grant proposal, the assessment must address the request for proposal's focus.

Element 1 outlines the tasks involved in creating an organizational assessment.

Activity 1: Take a Snapshot of Your Organization

Activity 2: Identify Broad Areas in Need of Improvement

Element 2: Outline the Project Ideas

Purpose: Developing innovative grant ideas that fulfill organizational needs is essential in a successful grant application. The successful grant application will be one that effectively matches the grant seeker's project ideas with the grant funder's interests or programmatic focus!

Activity 1: Create a Project Team

Activity 2: Conceptualize Project

Task 3: Identify Grant Sources

Guideline: After establishing the project priorities the project team should identify grant sources funding similar program initiatives. When searching for grant sources the grant seeker should be aware of the federal agencies with an interest in promoting educational programs. Depending the project focus, it may be beneficial to look beyond the U.S. Department of Education or other education categories.


Benefits.gov offers a searchable database of available government benefit programs. The U.S. Department of Labor is the managing federal agency for this e-gov initiative from the U.S. federal government.

Education on the Web - Grants

This Education on the Web category on Grants includes databases on community foundations, corporate grantmakers, and private foundations.

Federal Funding Sources - Rural Information Center

This database in cooperation with the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance provides information on federal programs devoted to rural areas.


Grants.gov allows organizations to find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov is the single access point for programs offered by federal grant-making agencies. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the managing agency for this e-gov initiative from the U.S. government.

Philanthropy Organizations - Grant Making Organizations

This link is to a Yahoo search directory offering grant making organizations organized by subject category.

The Foundation Directory Online

The Foundation Center offers a subscription based searchable database of foundations and their giving interests. With four possible subscription levels, organizations frequently seeking foundation grants would find the investment worthwhile.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

This link to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a listing of all federal programs available to state and local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.

Funding Forecast - U.S. Department of Education Discretionary Grants

This U.S. Deaprtment of Education document lists "programs and competitions under which the Department has invited or expects to invite applications for new awards and provides actual or estimated deadline dates for the transmittal of applications under these programs."

Grantmaking at ED

This booklet provides a non-technical summary of the U.S. Department of Education’s discretionary grants process and the laws and regulations that govern it.


This link to the K12Grants.org website provides a list of grants available to schools organized by category, including grants from the federal and state levels.

Element 3: Organize for Action

Purpose: Prior to writing the grant application, the project lead should pre-plan how the application will be developed, a timeline for completing it, and an internal review process for the application. Element 3 outlines the steps in creating a road map for the application process.

Activity 1: Understand the Grant Requirements

Activity 2: Plan to Act

Element 4: Develop and Submit the Grant Proposal

Purpose: The grant proposal brings life to the project idea. It is the vehicle the grant seeker uses to sell their idea to the prospective funding sources. Element 4 outlines the steps to develop and submit a successful grant application. Once the application has been submitted, follow-up with the funder is essential.

Activity 1: Develop the Project Plan

Activity 2: Commit the Proposal to Paper

Activity 3: Review and Finalize the Proposal

Element 5: Implement the Grant

Purpose: Upon receiving the grant award it is necessary to have a process in place for administering and managing the grant. Element 5 outlines the steps involved with implementing the project and fulfilling the grant's administrative requirements.

Activity 1: Administer and Manage the Grant

Activity 2: Accomplish Change

Activity 3: Evaluate Project Outcomes