Hiring a grant writer? enlisting help?

Hi CD community,

I’m embarking on my fourth year writing grants for our team. The students write a couple, but the vast bulk is done by me year-round. Our team is small, so we don’t have lots of students wanting to do grant writing when there is a robot to build. Only one student was interested in grant writing this past year, for instance, and I’m pretty sure she got her fill.

I am committed to grant writing for our team for the next several years, but I’m also interested in exploring other options for spreading the load, because it’s a lot. I just laid out my writing calendar and I have 26 on my docket for this coming fiscal year, plus others I’m exploring for fit. We are a 5th-year community team, and we just moved into a new permanent space (no longer in a mentor’s garage), so we rely 100% on outside funding.

I’m curious to hear how other community teams who have been around awhile handle grant writing. Do you have a successful system of enlisting parent help? Have you hired a grant writer? How does that work??

TIA!

Hello! My team(1902) is in a similar situation to yours, although we have been at things a good bit longer. First of all, congratulations on moving into a permanent space! It has made a huge difference in our ability to improve year to year and grow our team.

Recently grant money has been a significant amount of our total fundraising, so we have a good number to get done each year. Every so often we will get a parent or two to help out, but we don’t count on it as this is fairly infrequent. We keep all of our grants in a spreadsheet and try to keep things as open as possible to encourage student involvement, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. There are a few students who are consistently willing to help, which is awesome. The most important thing about our process is how frequently we pull wording from other grants and documents such as Chairman’s essays, etc for use in new grants. Very little actual writing occurs during our process, mostly revising what we have already written to fit new prompts and different organizations. We apply for a lot of the same grants year to year, so that process of revision and iteration has kept us going for a few years now. We have never hired a grant writer, but admittedly we are lucky to have some amazing sponsors that bring a good bit to the table before we start writing intensively. Our workload seems to be a bit lower than yours is.

We have seen success with the Solidworks Xchallenge program and other design competitions, which is something our more technical focused students can latch onto for the engineering challenge in addition to the monetary incentive. You can win up to $10,000 with the Xchallenge, and it isn’t super competitive yet. I would highly recommend checking it out.

Hope this helps!

Thanks, Nicholas! I will take a look at the Solidworks XChallenge