Getting Stakeholders Onboard

In our previous articles on grantwriting, we addressed establishing a purpose and identifying expenses to write into your grant. This article addresses the concept of getting others interested in your project – and why you should try.

Writing a grant

During the summer of 2002, I had the pleasure of participating in the Teacher Leaders in Research Based Science Education (TLRBSE) project, a project dedicated to improving science education through the use of authentic research activities.

It is also a project that attempts to show how teachers can provide leadership to inspire others to try new things and expand their horizons.

Toward this end, we participated in a role-playing game called Making Change for School Improvement. In this game, “stakeholders” (edu-speak for people who may be involved in your project) are playing pieces, and you must move them across a game board as you gradually persuade them to either accept your project or at least tolerate it.

In the context of attempting to get funding for some Macs, for example, one obstacle you may run up against is having some decidedly anti-Mac stakeholders who are not ever going to change their minds. If you identify and connect with all the other stakeholders, you may not need to convince everyone.

Who, then, are stakeholders?

  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Administrators
  • Community Members
  • and anyone else you can think of!

However, many of these groups are subdivided into smaller ones. Administrators, for example, are more than just principals. There are assistant principals, counselors, directors of curriculum, deputy superintendents, superintendents, budget directors, and school board members. And secretaries, the backbone of any organization.

My point is that just having one or two representatives “in the loop” may not be sufficient. Some decisions are made by the school board, and if your advocate is not there to represent you, no one present at the meeting to decide the fate of your project may know anything about it.

I strongly recommend that you look into asking your professional development office to purchase this game and use it to learn about how to advocate for your project. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.

The game is called Making Change for School Improvement Game. The game costs $375 with a $10 shipping and handling fee. Three boards and game pieces, with handouts and directions, are included in one game set. The game is available from several different sources, including WestEd, or from

ST&C Associates Dept. 1
25 Hammond Road
Natick, Massachusetts 01760
Phone: 508-653-3284
Fax: 508-652-9954

The ST&C address is the one given to me by my trainer, Katherine Stiles. If you order it, please mention her name.

Keywords: #grantwriting #stakeholders #maclabreport

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