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A Step-by-Step Guide to Our Fundraising Toolkit

Some of the most frequently asked questions we receive concern how to secure funding for One School, One Book. Read to Them recognizes the challenges educators face when seeking funding for their reading programs, and aims to empower all applicants in their efforts to cultivate a love of reading among their community.

We recently revamped our Fundraising Toolkit, and we thought we’d take the opportunity to walk you through the resources that are available to help you craft a winning grant proposal. Let’s dive in! 

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The Grant Writing Process

In the first pages of Our Fundraising Toolkit, you will find tips for navigating every step of the grant writing process. It is so important to pay attention to common practices of grant writing, such as following all application directions and making sure your language is clear to the funder. 

Third Party Studies and Books 

Providing evidence-based research is essential to your grant application. Not only does it lend credibility to your proposal, it can also build trust with grant reviewers and increase the likelihood of the application being approved. Drawing on established research shows that your project is grounded in evidence with the potential to make a meaningful impact. 

We have a curated list of third party studies and books about the value of reading aloud, achievement gaps, and literacy. With the exception of The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, each study should be accessible via PDF. 

Grant Databases

We understand that it isn’t alway easy to find funding opportunities. To address this need, we have compiled 14 different grant databases to aid your funding search. The majority of the databases are free, and most include an option to upgrade to a paid service subscription. By centralizing this information, we hope to save you time and effort, and to provide access to a wide range of potential grant opportunities.

Grant Proposal Language 

Pre-written grant proposal language is a surefire way to streamline the application process, making it easier for you to submit a thorough and well-structured proposal. We have provided necessary program information for you to use in your application, including: an about the organization and mission section, a program description, and recommended school-specific information about program implementation and potential community partnerships. Please note that the page’s sample language refers to One School, One Book. If you are trying to secure funding for one of our other programs, you will need to substitute the appropriate program name. 

Narrative: Why One School, One Book? 

A classroom of students poses in front of a decorative display

In these sample pages, we have crafted a narrative that is a clear, concrete example of a successful application. This is the section of the application where you lay out your case, establishing the program and its potential impact in your school. Our hope is that this sample narrative can help you in structuring your own narrative. We have also included a list of specified topics to expand on if they apply to your school: 

  • If you have a high student poverty rate, you can discuss correlation of literacy, poverty, and high school graduation rates. 
  • If a majority of your students qualify for free or reduced lunch, you can discuss correlation of literacy, poverty, and high school graduation rates. 
  • If there is any community involvement, you will find that collaborative efforts and community involvement are favored by funders. 
  • If there is a low proficiency rate in literacy for your school, you can discuss how reading aloud together as a family improves literacy skills. 
  • If family involvement is low, the entire premise of One School, One Book is to get families involved. 

Now would be the perfect time to explore those Third-Party Studies! 

Evaluation

It is incredibly likely that grant funders will ask for a post-program evaluation to measure impact and growth of the program. One of the best ways to do this is to send home a survey with your students for parents to fill out– or to create an online survey through platforms like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. We have compiled a sample set of survey questions that you are free to use as you wish; this includes adding or cutting questions, altering the verbiage, and translating them to broaden the scope of your survey group. When making your survey, however, be sure to also personalize it to your school. 

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Business Sponsorships 

It can be easy to focus on corporate sponsorships, and this section is a helpful reminder that local businesses have a vested interest in sponsoring a read aloud event in their community! Think locally owned businesses as well as national chains that have a presence in your community. The possibilities are endless! 

A Letter to Local Businesses

Like the sample narrative above, we have provided sample language for a letter you can write to local businesses. Quick tip: if your selected book contains themes of financial literacy, consider reaching out to a community bank. 

To download a PDF of the Fundraising Toolkit, click here.

What successes or challenges have you had in securing funds for your reading event? Do you have any other questions about our Fundraising Toolkit? Please let us know in the comments below!

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