Navigating the grant process
For many SEL in Action grantees, this is the first time you’ve ever been awarded a grant. It can be confusing to know where to start. Should you accept the grant through your school or district? As an individual? How can you spend the funds? What budget reporting do you need? This section offers a few ideas and resources to get started.
More details and templates linked in the Grant Reporting section below.
- Accept your grant as an individual. Many grantees choose to accept their award as an individual, in which case the grant funds are given directly to them. The advantage to this system is that you can spend the money directly without going through anyone else. The disadvantage is that you’ll receive a 1099 form for your taxes; the IRS considers this to be individual income. If you choose to go this route, please consult with a tax professional.
- Create an LLC for your grant. Some grantees have created an LLC to receive grant funds. The advantages and disadvantages are similar to accepting the funds as an individual. If you choose to go this route, please consult with a tax professional.
- Accept the grant through your school or district. Choosing to send the money through your school or district means that you don’t have to worry about extra income on your personal taxes, but you do have to follow the steps required from your school or district in order to be able to spend the funds. How can you buy supplies? Pay for substitutes or stipends? What documentation is required? Make sure to talk to our school or district’s finance department to learn more about what is required for spending grants funds through them.
- Accept the grant through a partner nonprofit organization. If your grant will work with a nonprofit organization, the nonprofit can receive the funds directly. This is a great option if all of the funds will ultimately be channeled to the nonprofit organization. If funds are split between organizations, make sure that everyone is clear on the budget before funds are deposited in one place.
SEL in Action Grant Reporting
When you receive a grant, it’s common for you to have to write a grant report. Sometimes grantees submit interim reports midway through the grant or sometimes they submit final reports after the work is complete. For the SEL in Action Awards, we ask for a final report from grantees. You can find the questions and a template for the grant report, see a sample educator report and a sample district report.
It’s also helpful to collect materials for your final grant report along the way. Here are some items that could be helpful for you to compile each month or each term to help with your final report:
- Student work
- Quotes from program participants
- Social media posts
- Notes about successes
- Notes about challenges
- A list of outreach or publicity efforts
- Meeting agendas
- Feedback forms and/or surveys
- Monthly budget (see template below)
As you consider your grant report, think about how best to tell the story of your impact. This can be quantitative with survey data, for example, or it can be qualitative with social media or news coverage or videos. We welcome storytelling in many different forms!
SEL in Action will also ask for a budget about how your funds were spent. You can find a budget template below or linked as part of the grant report. This template includes a way to track what you’ve spent and when. If you decide to track your grant every month or every quarter, add spent funds in an ongoing way on this budget. You can also add projected expenses, if you know you’ll need to spend money later on.