Illinois PTA recently celebrated four local PTAs earning National PTA program grants. These PTAs received $1,000 from National PTA and program sponsors to help bring PTA programs on STEM, literacy, digital citizenship, mental health, and the arts to their school. Here are some tips to help your PTA prepare for the next round of National PTA grants.

  1. Know what’s available. You can’t apply for a grant if you don’t know it’s out there. Sign up for National PTA newsletters, keep an eye on the grants page, and follow National PTA and Illinois PTA on social media for upcoming grant opportunities.
  2. Take advantage of training. National PTA often provides a webinar or two on how to apply for a grant when the application window opens. Those opportunities are included in the National PTA newsletters and on social media mentioned above. The training will cover what your PTA needs to do to apply for a grant and how to create a compelling application.
  3. Make sure your PTA is in good standing. National PTA always checks to ensure that a local PTA is in good standing before awarding a grant, so make sure your PTA has paid dues on time, filed its IRS Form 990 on time, and taken care of the other good standing items. You can find information on all good standing items in the online Leadership Resources on the Illinois PTA website. Your PTA president can provide you with the password if you need it to access the resources.
  4. Completely fill out the grant application. Make sure you answer every part of every question, using concrete, detailed examples and explanations that directly answer the questions asked.
  5. Share how the grant will affect your community. Identify a need in your school community that the grant and program would help address and share why the grant will make a difference.
  6. Promote family engagement. Family engagement is at the core of all National PTA programs, so be sure to share how the grant will help build stronger families in your community and stronger connections between your school and families.
  7. Get a second pair of eyes. Always have someone proofread your grant application for spelling, grammar, and clarity before you submit it. Make sure they are not just looking for typos but also understanding why the grant will make a difference for your PTA and your school. If you are not communicating the “why” effectively, rewrite any sections that are unclear.
  8. Don’t give up. Thousands of PTAs apply for these grants, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t win one the first time you apply. Review your application to consider what you could improve. Read up on the PTA grant winners and what they did with the grants they received when they are written up in National PTA newsletters. Think about how what they did with a National PTA grant could be done or improved on at your school.

Image courtesy Nick Youngson under Creative Commons license.