The Fog Lifts and Clear Vision Comes In

The fog is lifting and clear vision is in sight for 2020. The education landscape is giving way to plenty of funding opportunities just waiting for your solutions. As 2019 came to a close, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 ushered in a sunny outlook.

Set your sights on the Department of Education’s discretionary funding of $72.8 billion, up $1.3 billion from FY 2019. Among the formula funds seeing bright increases are:

  • Title I grants to school districts (up $450 million, to $16.3 billion);
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B grants to states (up $400 million, to $12.8 billion);
  • Title II-A Supporting Effective Instruction grants (up $76 million, to $2.1 billion);
  • Title III English Language Acquisition grants (up $50 million, to $787 million);
  • Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants (up $40 million, to $1.2 billion);
  • Title IV-B 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants (up $28 million, to $1.2 billion); and
  • TRIO programs (up $30 million, to $1.1 billion).

Don’t be far sighted because the bill also boosts the maximum federal Pell Grant award per student by $150 to $6,345 for the 2020-21 academic year, as well as increases for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants (up $25 million, to $865 million) and Federal Work-Study grants (up $50 million, to $1.2 billion).

The sun continues to shine through for other vital education-related programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, including Head Start (up $550 million, to $10.6 billion), the Child Care and Development Block Grant (up $550 million, to $5.8 billion), and Preschool Development Grants (up $25 million, to $275 million).

The warmth we are about to experience also comprises two other education bills. The Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act makes permanent $255 million in annual funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). The Building Blocks of STEM Act modifies several National Science Foundation (NSF) programs that provide grants to institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education research focused on early childhood.

Keep your sunglasses handy, because the competitive funds are also glowing. Magnet Schools, Teacher and School Leader Programs, Supporting Effective Educator Development Program, Education and Innovation Research, Migrant Education, and Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grants are just a few where the fog is lifting and opportunities emerging.

This is all good news. There is new excitement for a bright year in funding. The rays are coming down making it possible for schools to purchase your solutions. Are you ready to bask in the sun? Grab your sunscreen and get to know which of these funds match your solutions, help your schools understand and take advantage of them, and position your products and services now to be fully ready for the sunshine!

It’s the Time of the Season Filled with Joy

This bright and beautiful time of the year brings a bigger and brighter in 2020!

Soon RFPMatch will unwrap a new GrantsAlert, our companion website service for educators, and we want you to share our joy and anticipation. For almost two decades, GrantsAlert is grateful for the educators and community members that follow us to help make a difference in education. Now we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our service to even bigger and better grant opportunities in 2020.

There is also more to unwrap! RFPMatchOnDemand, our funding tool for business, is offering improvements with even more powerful productivity resources.  Most importantly, you have a funding success team committed to help you, our customer.

Our mission is to be your valued partner and resource in the quest for funding by harnessing the power of technology and proven expertise to efficiently assess opportunities.  We do this through our 4 P’s of our mission.


The Funding Success Team is getting ready to bring you the best and brightest opportunities in 2020. Sound the trumpets, and get ready to spread the joy as we have many new opportunities ahead for your business sales and marketing teams, our students, our classrooms, our schools, and our communities!

Traveling the Yellow Brick Road of Grant Writing

Year after year as surveys and market research are issued, the top pain point expressed by school and district decision-makers is the lack of funds for education.  In the quest for uncovering the needed financial resources for their students and staff, many turn to grants. In fact, a recent Gallup and NewSchools Venture Fund report noted applying for grants is a key choice of principals (61%) and administrators (75%) to purchase digital learning tools.

Yet when it comes to writing a proposal, the funding challenges are often intensified. Grant writing for schools and school districts can be daunting, complex, time consuming, and resource draining.  But as a company selling to school, you can ease the pain of the grant writing process for your customers. Often an initial reaction might be to hire a grant writer for the school district. Please be aware some states have regulations regarding the commercialization of activities in public schools. The General Accounting Office notes many variances among the states when it comes to commercialization, which includes grants and fundraising.  For instance, one state noted below, issues a clear warning to the districts about “free” grant writing services.

Beware of Free Grant Writing

There are companies that operate online offering “free” grant writing services that are not free. Some require you sign a contract before receiving an award that ask you to purchase from a third party in exchange for their services if awarded.

However, you cannot use grant funds before you receive the award and any purchases must be allowable. Agreements entered into before you receive a grant award are not payable with funds. We recommend that you contact your attorney before entering into any agreements.

From Evaluation Guidelines in RFA: No more than 4% of each program’s total budget can be used for local evaluation efforts. You may NOT use grant funds to pay for grant writing or make purchases, enter into any contract or incur expenses before you have a signed grant agreement. -pg. 22 of Iowa RFA

Example: If you receive an award of $100,000- You may spend up to $4,000 on local evaluation.

Grant Writing expenses are paid with your funds and are not reimbursable with grant funds.

So what are the ways to support the grant writing need? uses proven practices based on nearly five decades of funding knowledge and experience in grant writing. Here are some key strategies when working with schools and school districts in grant writing.

  1. Know the target. With a good tool like RFPMatchOnDemand, you will be able to review a host of possible grants. Target those that fit your solution and the schools need. Scope out a wish list of future grants that you can share with the school or district. Consider the deadlines and allow sufficient time for the school district to adequately plan for a response.
  2. Offer In-Kind Support. This might involve a webinar by a grant expert who conducts training on how to write the grant. It could be supplying “grant” language on how your product fits their need and solution. Another support may be compiling research such as white papers and other sources you can share. You may even offer to serve as a “reader,” providing them a different viewpoint during the writing process.
  3. Build Internal Capacity. Instead of hiring grant writers, consider grant coaches who can guide, direct, and give constructive feedback during the process. This empowers the schools to “own” the program and enables them to develop skills and talents to tackle more opportunities in the future. The skills learned in grant writing are transferrable to high quality program planning and development.
  4. Grant a Grant.Should you want a more philanthropic approach, you may want to provide grant-writing services to schools. Again, be mindful of state laws and regulations governing commercial activities in public schools.
  5. Be a Trusted Partner. The best grants are team efforts, as no one should go alone!

As we mentioned on our sister website,, grants are often like the Wizard of Oz.  A lot of noise, confusion and fear that dissipates once the curtain is peeled back.  Yet, also remember there were three others (and Toto) supporting Dorothy to get to the end of the Yellow Brick Road.

Good luck and may you not encounter any flying monkeys, they are the worst.

Stressing About School Spending?

Take the stress out of your sales and marketing efforts by knowing where the money is that states and school districts have to spend.  Did you know the May 2019 U.S. Census Bureau reported an increase in the amount of money spent per pupil? The latest report highlighted some major considerations for school spending, such as:

  • The amount spent per pupil for public elementary and secondary education for all states increased by 3.7% to $12,201 per pupil during the 2017 fiscal year, compared to $11,763 per pupil in 2016.
  • The increase in spending was due in part to an overall increase in revenue for school systems.
  • In 2017, public elementary and secondary education revenue, from all sources, amounted to $694.1 billion, up 3.4% from $671.2 billion in 2016.

A critical strategy to your sales and marketing efforts includes knowing the school districts that have money to spend.  These major highlights are one of the factors to help you target key public school systems.

The 2019-2020 school year calls for a “green” approach to positioning your products and services through funding. Want to learn more about how to target school districts based on the Census Report?  Register at and go to RESOURCES. Check out the free resource titled Where’s the Money? 

You can also call us at 800-766-8002 or email at  Provide us your contact information and we will send you a free $$ Stress Reliever for the school year!

Need to find the money today. It is so easy to get started. Go to


Funding: Something to Laugh About When Selling to Schools?


“Using funding information is just laughable.”

“I don’t have the time.”

“You want me to find the money for schools to buy my product? Not my responsibility!”

“My customers should know where their money is to buy my product.”

“This funding information is not worth the investment.”

These are real statements expressed to me when I share funding insights and actions with education companies. Yet, I also hear sales and marketing executives tell me they feel they are going against the grain when selling to schools with tight education budgets. Now in my 46th year of working with public education and with private industry, the focus I have is always that funding continues to be no laughing matter. I have “lived” with schools, districts, and states that struggle with the need for financial resources and I have also “lived” with education companies that struggle to bring much-needed products and solutions to make a difference for learning. And there lies the big gap — the financial hurdle between the need for your solution and the uncertainty or lack of means to procure it.

As a sales or marketing expert, you are in a pivotal position to help bridge the gap. We know selling involves the need to build a trusting relationship with potential customers.  Naturally you want to educate and help your customers on recognizing the value of your product, but you can also build credibility by showing them how to tap into revenue streams. However, first youneed to have understanding what reliable revenue streams that purchasers can use to purchase your products and services. When the two of you can transfer this funding knowledge together, you have earned trust.

Here at we believe we should always strive for laughter and fun in the work that we do. My horse and I often laugh together and in doing so, we build a trusting bond. We want you to build that bond with your customers. And we want you to put the fun back in funding!


Request for Proposal (RFP) Three Reasons to Fall In Love

February is a time of year when we are surrounded by images and messages of love. Perhaps you, or someone you know, may be considering a Request for Proposal to the love in your life. At we fall in love everyday with being able to help companies uncover the best resources to make a […]

Fall Ushers in New Funding

The fall season has arrived on the farm. In many places like my farm, leaves change colors, students are back in school, football kicks off, and bonfires burn bright. This seasonal shift is also true for funding. As fall arrives, so does the arrival of allocated funds to many local school districts. Fall often signals the beginning of the start of the Fall Funds Falling!

We often hear that grants are all about timing. But did you know that timelines don’t really tell the story? Throughout the year funds continuously fall. Discussing what funds are available and what they can be used for during your conversations with education decisions makers is a key selling strategy.

Typically, the fall season is a time when schools are spending newly authorized federal formula funds for the current fiscal year. In addition, schools might also be looking for ways to spend carryover funds from previous fiscal years before the October 30 deadline.

Fall is also a time when grantees for many discretionary funding programs are announced. Several that were announced in the past week are the Education Innovation & Research awards and the COPS School Violence Prevention Program.  Did any of your potential partners receive grants through those programs?

This fall, before you enter the school building for meetings, consider your funding plan and how it aligns with the school’s funding sources. Be knowledgeable about the funds to enable decision makers to procure your products and services. Remember, right now funds are emerging throughout school districts. Are you prepared to rake them in?

All Aboard the Funding Train

As a young girl growing up during the Western era, I was in love with the singing cowboy, Gene Autry, and his horse Champion. In his movie “Mule Train” from Columbia Pictures, the theme song describes an Old West driver moving his team of mules forward.  As he travels along, he mentions the goods he is delivering to far away customers.

The song echoed in my mind as my “Mule” underwent repair service this week. Like the lyrics of the song, my Kawasaki Mule is critical to moving work forward on my farm. When the Mule was repaired and returned, I got more than service. I saw first hand an important lesson in selling and it was genuinely conveyed by the dealership at Kawasaki of Hickory, NC . The man that sold me the 4X4 utility workhorse said, “We don’t sell, we back what we sell and value you for trusting us. We want you to be satisfied and hopefully say positive comments about us.”

A gentle reminder that selling doesn’t end with a sale. When it moves beyond, it becomes the foundation for a solid relationship.  And in the case of this dealership, it offered an expression of gratitude to a satisfied customer! That is what we strive for at We want to be the conduit between education agencies and organizations that offer solutions to schools and districts. We provide “just in time” fund matchmaking to businesses that sell products or services to education. Ultimately we do our work because we genuinely want to make a difference for students, teachers, and schools.

And like the Mule train moving forward, we want happy, satisfied clients. We know that is what you want too!

Reach out today to learn how can we help your train move forward in the education sector.

RFPs: A Thing of the Past

Back in Italy’s heyday, an iconic cathedral was built in Florence that included space to add a jaw-droppingly enormous dome.  The problem? Nobody knew how to design and build the dome structure to complete the cathedral. In 1418, the leaders launched a contest to see which great artisan was up for the challenge.

A number of men approached the leaders with design ideas. One of those men was Filippo Brunelleschi, who provided drawings that showed an enclosed dome without visible crossbeams for support. When asked how he would accomplish the dome without the typical supports, Brunelleschi allegedly showed them a turnip that he had carved as a model. (A favorite tidbit about that turnip: out of fear that others would steal his design, he immediately used the turnip to make a soup to keep his design secret safe.)  Brunelleschi’s design was ultimately chosen and is now the acclaimed Duomo of the Florence cityscape.

What does this architectural feat have to do with education funding and procurement? The process—right down to the turnip model—was not much different than the RFP protocol of current times.

Today’s RFPs might be a touch more sophisticated—many are online, require detailed budget spreadsheets, and some even require pre-bid qualifications to access the full proposal. But, the core qualities of a successful RFP have withstood the test of time:  creativity, clarity, and ingenuity.

Brunelleschi was able to convey his idea in a way that proved him to be the right designer for the job.  In the same way, the most successful solution providers in the education sector are able to understand the key issues and needs of their customers and to thoroughly address those challenges.

One way that your company can stand out from the competition is by deeply understanding the current insights and trends of the education funding landscape. If you know that a state’s long-term goals include stronger parental engagement, you are able to address how your solutions can help meet this need. If you understand the current focus on better linkage of CTE programs to local workforce needs, you have the ability to showcase certifications and curriculum that will accomplish this connection. See our Trend paper, Integration of Education and Workforce Development: A Courtship Funding Opportunityto learn more about the current climate around this issue.

RFPMatch ONDemand offers funding resources, trends, and insights that will provide your company with an edge in the education sector. And, the best news of all is that this information is gathered and compiled in a way that makes it easy for you to find and use. Wading through hours of content to find relevant data is a thing of the past. Our virtual portal allows you to grasp the insights that matter to your solutions—wherever and whenever.

Register today to learn how we can support your company’s masterpieces of work.

RFPMatch: All Things Funding, Elevated to a Whole New Level

Imagine something wonderful, like chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven. Pretty great, right? But what if those cookies were made with a secret recipe that included fragrant, browned butter, a turbinado sugar border, and fleur de sel from the coastal town of Maldon? It’s chocolate chip cookie goodness, elevated to a whole new level.

That’s what we’ve spent the past year creating for you: the all new RFPMatch. It’s your matchmaker for all things funding—elevated! Its new features make it even more relevant, more accessible, and more powerful. Something wonderful, taken to a whole new level.

The new RFPMatch site includes three offerings:

1. RFPMatch ONDemand, a portal that is your virtual assistant providing you precisely aligned funding insights, timely grant opportunities, and actionable state-specific funding recommendations. The portal is full of curated resources to help you find the right funding opportunities for your education partners. Register for free to peruse the site and gain access to a limited number of resources–or purchase a subscription for full access to a trove of information.

2. RFPMatch Services, consultative services for solution providers to help connect the dots between education funding and how to sell, market, and develop solutions for schools. Our team’s customized guidance can help you solve the most common education-sales barrier: “We love your product, but we just don’t have the funding.”

3. GrantsAlert, a free site for educators with regularly updated grant listings and opportunities to help make funding more accessible to schools. We offer this site, completely free of charge, because the heart of RFPMatch beats for educators.

We are also thrilled to announce that RFPMatch was selected as a SETDA Emerging Partner. This distinction showcases our ability to collaborate with education solution providers to shine a light on the latest funding trends and resources. Learn more about our new partnership with SETDA here.

We hope you enjoy exploring the new, elevated experience you’ll discover at RFPMatch. Let us know how we can be of service to you!