Grants for school security programs and other school safety measures are readily available if you just know where to look.
What Is Necessary for School Security
Before you start your search for school security funding make a list of what's necessary for your school in order to ensure safety for everyone. Although all school's needs differ your list might have items like this included:
- School property boundaries well-defined to ensure safe outdoor school games
- Security monitors, both mechanical such as cameras and people such as guards
- ID cards and monitors for school visitors
- Fixed lock entry doorways
- School lighting, such as wall mounted fixtures with vandal-resistant lens covers
- Switching out solid doors for glazed doors.
- Alarm system (could be main system, hand held, or other)
- Programs that teach children attending the school safety facts and procedures such as school workshop safety rules
- Safe online games to play at school for students
These are just ideas. When making your list it will help to gather teacher perceptions of school violence as well. No matter what kind of safety ideas you have in mind for your school there are ways to locate funding and grants for school security that will support your plans.
Finding Grants for School Security
There are different ways to go grant hunting. There are grant sites you pay for, free grant sites, and semi-paid grant sites. There are also scam grant sites. Grant and funding sites that sound like a commercial probably are a commercial. Avoid websites that say things like, "Order this book and learn all about how you can get millions in grants without lifting a finger!!!"
Wrong! It would be nice but it's not the truth.
Anyone who has applied for a grant knows that there is hard work involved. You'll need to spend time searching, reading, and applying for a real grant to get the funding you need for school security. If you need a good primer on the grant process and grant writing check out this primer from the Texas Education Agency.
Professional Grant Organization
The main professional association for fundraisers and grant seeking professionals is the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). It's a great place to start getting ideas about philanthropy, public policy, publications, and ethics in grants and other funding opportunities. There's a members section as well; but that's less important if you're a grant searcher. The other sections are top notch, including a section for youth in philanthropy - a great way for getting kids involved in their school's funding.
The Foundation Center is the gold standard in grant funding with an online directory featuring more than 80,000 funders and over 900,000 grants, they may be the only resource you need to find a grant. The Foundation Center charges a fee for major searches but plans are fairly inexpensive (starting around 20 dollars monthly) and you can choose from one of five plans to fit your needs. To learn more about signing up visit the enrollment page. There's a wealth of other information on grants as well including newsletters, articles, reports, trends, events, and store with funding resources.
Ed.gov is a great place to get information about grants for schools. The problem with Ed.gov is finding your way around can be a nightmare if you aren't used to grant searching. To make it easy try this link for assistance type and then click on the link titled "Discretionary Grants" this will get you to a page where you can start searching for grant by topic. This isn't the only way to use the site but a good way to start.
Free Grant Searches
You can actually type into an internet search, "School-based philanthropy" and get back many sites with grant searches. Don't avoid a site just because you think it may have nothing to do with school security. Many sites offer grants that will relate to one aspect of school security such as technology, computers, staffing funds, and building related costs. Think outside the box when you enter search terms. Continually searching for "school security" alone won't result in everything you need.
Lastly, don't neglect business websites. For example, bigger sporting good stores, fast food chains, cell phone networks, and just about every big business you can think of has a section of their website devoted to their philanthropy efforts.
Here are some places you can find free information for grant seekers and grant funding:
For plenty of free articles and program ideas about school security and safety visit the National Crime Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) products page. You can order publications that address school security and safety or download them (many for free).
The Best Tip Ever for Obtaining Grant Funding
Anyone can write and apply for a grant, but using a grant and proposal writing professional will increase your odds of actually obtaining grants for school security greatly. If your school doesn't have a funding professional on board it may be wise to hire one for a period. The example above of Ed.gov is a good one. Navigating their site would be difficult without prior funding experience. Knowing which rules apply to the grant funding process and how to successfully obtain grant funding takes a huge knowledge base that can't be gained easily by simply reading a few articles or websites.
If your school doesn't have funding for a grant writing professional talk to grant writing professors at the closest university to your school. They can recommend their most talented and advanced students who are almost always willing to work for lower fees in return for a great recommendation. Also, it can be useful to simply ask professional grant writers if they ever offer volunteer services or sliding scale services to non-profits or schools. Many do, so it can't hurt to ask.