The Basics of Grant-Based PTA Fundraising
Updated: May 26
Funds are vital to a PTA’s livelihood, and in today’s economy, raising funds is not an easy task. Many people hesitate to ask their community for donations during these uncertain times. For those PTOs and PTAs, grants can be an additional source of fundraising. If done right, grants can amount to a sizeable sum of one's fundraising target. Here are some of the basics of grant fundraising.
What are Grants?
Grants are monetary donations from businesses, community groups, or foundations. These donations are made to facilitate specific aims or functions that a PTA might want to work towards, such as equipping students with relevant technology for virtual learning, providing them with more STEM opportunities, or furthering the skill development of PTA or PTO leadership.
In all cases, the purpose of a grant must correlate with the PTA’s use of the funds. For instance, if the grant is provided to improve PTA leadership skills, then the grant must be used to do so. In many cases, if grant money is not used for the pre-decided purpose, problems arise where the PTA may be held accountable and asked to return the given money and denied future assistance. Since grants are usually not small donations, the process to acquire them is thorough, so it’s important to put in the effort.
Grant Proposals – the Ins and Outs
Knowing how to request a grant is important, but knowing what goes into a grant proposal is equally important. What can you put down on paper that will raise the chances of you receiving that much-needed donation? Every good grant proposal should include at least the following:
A brief introduction about your PTA and its aims
An outline of the project in question and how it adds to the community
Statistical and other research data that backs up your chosen project and its predicted effect
The specific activities that will be carried out under the project and how the grant money will be allocated
An estimated project budget
Once you have the basics together, it is time to refine your submission. There are three areas where you should spend your time.
1. Be sure to look at the goals of the grant issuer. For example, if the grant is STEM-related, you will want to spend more time explaining what your PTA has done (or not done) in the STEM space and how your proposed uses will advance the grant's goals. You will want to align your mission for the fund with the mission of the grant writer and show the impact the funds will have on your community.
2. For grants that outline how entries will be scored, make sure you address each area that will be scored. For example, if there are three unique criteria, address each area in your grant proposal.
3. Pay attention to your writing. This means you should aim to tell a compelling story. You should also spend equal, or more, time editing as you do on the first draft. Finally, get a second set of eyes to review your work.
Additional tips can be found on the California State PTA's grant page.
Searching for a Grant
The endpoint always comes down to finding a suitable grant. The National PTA grant page is a great source, but you can also google for additional options.
So, there you have it. Best of luck!