The 5-Step Plan To Securing Grants For Your Daycare

Grant writing isn't easy. Many other licensed child care centers, daycares, and other eligible organizations will be pursuing the same pot of gold. If you want to make sure you're setting yourself up for success, you'll have to be aware of the common pitfalls and mistakes that can occur when applying for grants. 

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In a hurry? You can download the grant guide and take it to go. 

As a daycare or early childcare centre operator, government and private grants can be one of the easiest ways to upgrade your facility's quality of care. If you consider yourself a child care facility, childhood educator, or child care center offering different child care options in a licensed child care space, this blog post is for you. 

We'll cover the top tips for writing grant applications that give you the best chance to secure the grant. Whether you're a seasoned grant writing pro or if this is your first time applying for a grant, these tips will increase your chances of a successful grant application. 

Step 1: Prepare, prepare, and prepare some more

Planning is the most critical step in the grant writing process. Your preparation should include:

1. Your proposed project costs

2. You childcare costs

3. The child care services you offer

4. Your child care fees

5. What exactly are your needs concerning the grant (what pain point will this solve for your or your clients?)

6. A project plan of how you would manage the grant money 

Organizations offering the grant want to see that you've thought about how you're going to put this money to work. It shows them you have a clear understanding of your needs, your clients' needs, and a dedication to improving your facility's quality of care. 

The grantor's goal is to provide money to facilities with the highest likelihood of making good use of that money. Stand out from the crowd by making sure you include detailed information about your needs, costs, and project plan.

A side benefit of getting clear on your organization's needs is that it will help you identify which grants you should be applying for in the future.  

A side benefit of getting clear on your organization's needs is that it will help you identify which grants you should be applying for in the future.  

Step 2: Designate a project champion

Grant writing can be a collaborative process, and it usually works out better if you involve other key stakeholders in the process. However, having too many cooks in the kitchen prevents progress. Get ahead of this problem by designating a project champion. The champion's role is to ensure consistent progress, be the final decision maker, and remove roadblocks. This person should be detail-oriented and good at managing projects. 

Simplified Tip: Putting a notice out to the parents of the children you serve can be an excellent way to crowdsource grant writing assistance. You may even find someone who matches the project champion role perfectly! 

Step 3: Start your grant search

We've compiled a list of grants available to you broken down by location. If you don't see your region listed, please reach out to us and let us know. We're continuously updating and adding new areas to our grant list. 

If you've completed steps 1 and 2, you should have a concrete understanding of what exactly you're looking for in a grant. This will allow you to zoom through this process. You won't have to waste time applying for grants that aren't relevant. 

Simplified Tip: Some grants aren't advertised or on any lists. These can be a gold mine because few people will be applying for them. The best way to see if there are any of these "hidden" grants you're eligible for is to call your local governments, community foundations, and local philanthropists. 

Step 4: Write the grant proposal

If you plan to write more than one grant proposal, start by creating a template and guideline for yourself and set it aside for the future.

If you have access to previous winning proposals, study them to understand the tone and style they used. Is it professional or informal? Did they include pictures and testimonials? Matching the tone and style used by previous winning proposals will increase your chances of receiving the grant!

If you don't have access to a previous proposal, don't worry. Each grant proposal should include the following sections:

Your proposal should be clear, concise, and, most importantly, positive! The goal of the grant proposal is to show the grantor that your world, quality of care, and services offered would be greatly enhanced if you received the grant. 

Simplified Tip: Make the proposal as personal as possible. Give the organization offering the grant a call and ask for clarification on the application form or eligibility criteria. This can be a great way to build a relationship with the grantor and potentially get information that will set your application apart. 

Step 5: Ask for constructive feedback

Realistically, you will not be awarded every grant you apply for. In a situation where you weren't awarded the grant, you can still get valuable feedback that can help increase your chances in the future. 

If you're rejected, call the grant administrator and ask to see the reviewer's comments on your proposal. If that's not possible, ask the administrator for constructive feedback:

1. Why was the proposal rejected?

2. What was good about the proposal?

3. How could the proposal have been improved?

4. What were the key differences between the award-winning proposal and yours?

Understanding where you went wrong can help you tailor your template and set your future proposal up for success.

Common Grant Writing Mistakes To Avoid 

1. Applying for grants you're not eligible for

This is one of the worst feelings ever. You've just spent a bunch of your valuable time preparing and writing a killer grant proposal only to find out that you aren't eligible for the grant. We've seen this happen, and it's usually because of a small detail that was missed.

2. Making decisions as if you've already received the grant

Unless otherwise stated, you should never assume you're going to receive the grant until you've had official confirmation. Spending money you don't have can have disastrous repercussions on your business. 

3. Failing to involve other key stakeholders

 Getting feedback on your grant proposal, or having other key stakeholders assist in writing the grant proposal can increase your chances of successfully receiving the grant. These key stakeholders can include other family child care providers, parents, local school boards, members of racialized communities, family child care consultants, persons with disabilities, or other community members in general.

Daycare Grant Frequently Asked Questions

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