Monday, August 09, 2010

Funding Your Afterschool Science Program Part II: Monitoring and Applying for Grants

This is a special two part blog post on finding grants for your afterschool science program. Check out last week's post for where to find grants for afterschool programs. 

One of the most challenging aspects of managing an afterschool program is securing adequate funding. Even if the program charges a participation or admission fee, it is rarely enough to cover the total costs of operation. Keeping track of grant opportunities ensures that programs will have adequate time to prepare successful grant applications.

Some organizations use professional grant management software that not only alerts users to upcoming grant deadlines, but also more easily keeps track of how grants are being spent. One of the best known is Grantstracker. Another excellent resource is The Foundation Center Online, which allows users to search for ideal funders and easily keep track of upcoming deadlines.

Free resources are also available. The US Government's Grants page is a massive, if somewhat bulky, grants resource for a huge variety of education programs. GrantsAlert is less extensive but easier to use. 

An easy way to keep track of grant application deadlines is to create a Google account devoted to grants only. Google Alerts allows you to get daily or weekly updates on keywords relevant to your interests (such as "robotics afterschool program grants" , "Education grants Omaha NE" , or "STEM grants K-5"). A Google Calendar allows you to categorize the grants that you are interested in, and will send you alerts for when grant applications are coming up. Even if you find out about a grant deadline that has passed, keep track of its due date so you can check back next year.

Our upcoming Conference will have many more opportunities for learning about funding trends. Sign up today!

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