Go for the grant: Tips for K-12 educators
Discover grant writing resources and best practices that can help you secure supplemental funding for your Sora collection and meet the literacy needs of every one of your readers.
First – why seek grant funding?
According to a recent national survey, 99% of educators say their most urgent need is for books and learning materials. Grant funding is a great way to help expand your Sora collection in order to better meet your readers where they are and bridge the access gap.
If you don’t have a dedicated grant writer on staff, that’s okay! With a little patience and know-how, you can absolutely craft your own grant proposals to help fund your Sora collection – and the tips and tricks on this page can help you get started.
What makes Sora a great use case for grant funding?
Because access matters! The correlation between access to books and students’ reading levels is clear. When they had access to a well-stocked library classroom, children read 50-60% more and reported higher reading engagement.
Sora helps close the access gap by providing your students with an anytime, anywhere gateway to ebooks, audiobooks, and read-alongs on any device. Plus, Sora generates robust aggregate and student-level reading data to help you verify that students are engaging with books.
Applying for a grant? We can help with that! We’ve prepared research and resources to support your proposal to use grant funds for Sora – all you need to do is download our free Grant Proposal Resources kit.Get the kit
Common types of funders
- Family organizations
- Independent private organizations
- Federated funds (donations from individuals and businesses i.e., United Way)
- Corporate (Dollar General Foundation, PNC Foundation, Verizon Foundation)
- Community foundations
- Financial institutions
Sora is also an applicable use for COVID-19 relief funding for K-12 schools. Contact your Account Manager to learn how you can leverage Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) funds to grow your digital collection and give more students access to the books they need before September 2024.
Grant Proposal Resources Kit
For a more detailed breakdown of common funders, download our free Grant Proposal Resources kit.
This kit contains Editable Word document & How-to document.
Where can you find grant opportunities?
Grant opportunities are everywhere. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be active, not passive – use the internet!
Here are some helpful places to start:
- Foundation Center Online: A subscription-based service that hosts information from 240,000+ organizations. Includes info on how to apply and focus areas.
- The Grantsmanship Center: Offers workshops, seminars, publications and more.
- View their state-by-state guide to funding sources.
- Grants.gov: A federal hub for grant opportunities that includes a search tool and list of subscriptions you can sign up for to receive new application opportunities.
- Try a Google search! Test terms like ed tech, digital divide, literacy, summer slide, library, SEL, diversity/equity, professional development, special education, dyslexia and Title I.
Take a deeper dive and download our Grant Proposal Resources kit – it includes a handy checklist of everything you see above – and more!Get the kit
Basic grant writing dos and don’ts
- DO consult the foundation website (or call or email) for the application form and any other supporting resources you might need to get started.
- DO start with an outline that mirrors the funder’s guidelines, questions and selection criteria so that nothing is left out.
- DON’T deviate from the funder’s outline, even if the topics or questions seem out of order.
- DO write as you would speak. DON’T be too formal or overtly casual.
- DO write in active voice.
- DO check for grammar and word repetition.
- DON’T include value judgments, political views or humor.
- DO spell your acronyms out on first use. DON’T use too many at one time.
- DO maintain your boilerplate language, including basic district information, regularly updated resumes for key staff members, program descriptions and past successes.
More grant writing resources to get you started
For more tips, a handy checklist and a research template that can help you answer the question “Why Sora?”, download our Grant Proposal Resources kit.
Congratulations! You got the grant. Now what?
Your grant proposal was accepted and you’re ready to use fresh funding to expand your digital collection. Do you have a plan for how to use the money? How are you measuring success? Here are some recommendations and resources that can help you with next steps.
CONNECT WITH YOUR SORA TEAM
Make a plan with your Account Manager
Your Sora team can help you strategize and optimize how you’re spending on ebooks and audiobooks.
Reports: Marketplace Insights Tab for K-12 Schools
Learn how to view collection usage and run popular reports for your school using the Insights tab in OverDrive Marketplace.
How to set up and use the student dashboard
Learn how authorized educators can view individual student reading data for Sora when your school has this feature enabled.
Enhance your curriculum with Sora
Free classroom resources that can help you get the most out of your digital collection.
If you have questions or ideas about additional ways to leverage grant funding for Sora, please contact your Account Manager.