Tools for Grant Writing
Data, statistics, and where to find them
Most grant projects start with an idea. But where does the idea come from? And what turns it into a good project design?
The answer is—or is often—data.
Data and statistics play a large role in grant writing efforts. They tell us about need: A large percentage of students aren’t reading at grade level.
They help us design projects to answer the need: Our state isn’t graduating enough qualified teachers; a large number of teacher candidates drop out during their first year.
And they help us zero in on effective strategies: Most of the candidates drop out because they lack basic skills, so we’ll concentrate on postsecondary remediation.
Where do you find the right data for your grant proposals and projects? GrantProse has developed a new guide to help you find data on a wide range of subjects and indicators: demographics, workforce and economic, education, children and youth, agriculture, nutrition, health, crime, transportation, and energy.
Here are a few of our favorite places to start a data search. Download our guide Data Sources for Grant Writing to access our entire annotated list of sources.
The federal government collects all kinds of statistics and provides you—the taxpayer—with all manner of data tools. A good place to start is the U.S. Census Bureau, which collects demographic information every 10 years on the country’s population and breaks it down by state and smaller divisions. The American Community Survey collects data yearly for its 1-, 3-, and 5-year estimates. (Want to know how young adults have changed over the last 30 years? Check out the latest ACS.)
FedStats is a one-stop clearinghouse with broad search capabilities and links to more than 100 federal agencies that collect and disseminate data, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s SMART System for Kids.
North Carolina’s state agencies offer numerous data resources. The NC Department of Commerce has several tools for users, including the D4 application (labor market data), AccessNC (economic and demographic profiles by county, region, and state), and its Labor and Economic Data Analysis (labor and economic information, as well as industry and occupational projections).
The NC Department of Public Instruction keeps a wealth of information and statistics on public schools, students, and teachers, including academic outcomes and school “report cards.” The University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill maintains a little-known database of application and acceptance rates of NC high school students by campus, school year, race, ethnicity, and gender, available for download in two formats.
Other resources include the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center, which allows users to download data and create reports and graphics on child and family well-being. StatsAmerica has a tool that allows users to calculate the economic distress of counties, regions, and neighborhoods. And don’t forget reports, which often provide statistics in the form of study findings. Many of the sources in our guide provide reports, and Google Scholar is a great starting point for report and study searches.
Visit our Resources page to view and download all our guides on grants and grant writing.
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