SHOW ME THE GRANT MONEY!
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01/23/09
Grants for Libraries - Thinking Outside the Bookshelves Part 3
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN, GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 6:22 am

Q. Now that we have the concept where do we find grant money?

A. One place is all the usual suspects. Most governmental agencies and libraries are bombarded with announcements about grants. Then, you can easily occupy several days by searching the Internet for “grants,” “grant resources,” “grant funds,” etc. Also there are many grant writing firms that compile ListServs about upcoming grants and they are happy to have you on their emailing list. These are usually update and reliable. Just keep in mind they also want you to become overwhelmed, give up and hire them to do all the work. My experience with library staff is that they don’t think outside-the-box, toward more untraditional grant sources.

Q. For example?

A. I’ll give you three.

After school funds. These are some of the most lucrative and consistent funding streams flowing into communities right now. And with a new administration on the horizon, there’s talk of this money being doubled. So what I’ve done in the past is partner up local libraries with local after school programs and had them submit joint applications. After school participants can make regular visits to their local library for reading groups, research, to help out staff, to use technology – and any other number of limitless activities.

Second, corporate sponsorships. Most large corporations have local and/or national community giving divisions. And what I’ve learned over the years is that for some reasons schools and libraries seldom apply. They see themselves as government entities and corporations only giving to the private sector, and that’s not true. Often the application process to these corporations is very simple and the awards long-term and generous.

Third, technology grants. Again, the mindset of many libraries is to apply for money from those grants earmarked technology for libraries only. That is too limiting. There are many other sources. Let’s go back to education grants again. Libraries can partner with schools and say “you help us get money for new computers and we will put all your reading and math programs software on our library computers so students and families can access them at any time. ” It’s a win-win for everyone involved. I guess what I’m saying is that libraries shouldn’t limit themselves to grants that they think are exclusively for libraries only.

Think beyond the bookcases, reach out to new partners. Be creative. Come up with a new concept. That’s what wins grants.

More about this in the next Blog and in my new book: RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 In Competitive Grant Awards.