Best Practices in Grant Proposal Writing for Environmental Education Projects and Programs
Lovaas, Paul M.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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Productive environmental education – which seeks to engage citizens of all demographics in critical, knowledge-based conversation about how to sustain and enhance the environment – requires the deliberate and prudent management of resources, including financial resources. Additionally, environmental education projects and programs often require special, or supplementary funding. Due to these realities, many environmental educators need to find, compete for, and secure funding for their projects and programs out of a scarce pool of existing financial resources, including grant programs. This study investigated the grant proposal writing experiences, practices, and results of seven environmental education professionals in the State of Wisconsin with the aim of facilitating the successful acquisition of scarce grant funding. Respondents participated in a semi-structured interview and submitted an accompanying questionnaire to provide the qualitative data for this study. The transcription and qualitative analysis of the transcribed interview text led to 131 recognized propositions, or related ideas. These propositions were combined with similar, or related propositions to form 21 categories. Ultimately, the text-based categories were combined further based upon textual and thematic similarities to produce a theoretical narrative built upon the three themes of (1) grant proposal preparation factors, (2) grant proposal writing factors, and (3) environmental education grant proposal differentiation. From the theoretical narrative presented in this research report the author also presented a summative list of best practice recommendations for future environmental education grant writers.