• Are You Ready to Apply?
  • Tips for Applying for Grants
  • How Polar Fits In to Grants
  • Other Helpful Information for Grant Seekers

Are You Ready to Apply?

Thinking about applying for a grant to fund Polar products and services and improve your program? Great! Before you begin working on an application, review the five questions below to ensure you are ready to begin pursuing grant funding for your physical activity program.

Grants are extremely competitive. Most programs make awards to just 5-10% of applicants, and some programs make awards to an even smaller percentage of applicants. Your application is more likely to be competitive if you've taken some key steps to prepare to apply before beginning to develop your grant application.

1. Do you have building and district-level administrative permission and support to apply for grants for physical activity and nutrition programs?

You can’t apply for grants without administrative support and permission. If you don’t have both now, your first step should be to work on obtaining them as quickly as possible. Nearly all grant applications require the organization (not the individual contact) to be the official applicant. You will need administrator signatures on your application documents evidencing their permission to apply and approval of the application. Additionally, once funding is received, administrative support will be critical to ensuring smooth and complete project implementation and organization compliance with funder rules and requirements.

2. Can you show need?

When considering grants for physical activity and nutrition education programs, socio-economic demographics can be important, but the ability to provide other data (like poor fitness testing, BMI, or behavior survey results) is also very important. If you don't have this kind of information on hand now for at least a representative portion of your target population, you need to work on gathering it prior to trying to apply for a grant.

Note that if your school has a significant amount of equipment in good condition, a fairly up-to-date and comprehensive physical education (PE) program, and/or resources available to students that extend their physical activity opportunities outside of PE, you might not be able to show as much need as schools without those things. Clear need is critical to obtaining grant funding.

If you've received grants in the past and are looking to receive more grant funding, your biggest challenge will likely be to continue to show enough new or remaining need to make a compelling case.

3. Are you interested in funding for a project that includes more than just Polar products and services? 

While we certainly want Polar products and services to play an important role in your grant project, we know that a comprehensive approach to addressing your local needs is more likely to be competitive than an application that is essentially just requesting funding for assessment tools. Take a look at what you need and apply a broad-based approach to your project design. If you feel strongly that you want to focus solely on Polar products and services, consider that other types of fundraising (outside of grants) may be better matches for your current focus.

4. Are you planning or willing to include project activities that extend outside of the school day?

While there are some grants for which this is not necessary, for many physical activity and nutrition education-focused grants available now, a school will have difficulty being competitive without including something outside of the school day. Typically, you can use grant funds to support these activities, so don't be discouraged if your organization does not have cash on hand to offer to support them. Also, keep in mind that these types of activities could be provided by the applicant and/or a community partner. If your organization is not in a position to offer out-of-school time programs, seek out a partner able to in order to include this important project component.

If you and your partners absolutely cannot offer anything outside of the school day, consider what other very unique project component you might include to entice the funder. Keep in mind that for most funders, adding something to your program that is unique to just your organization or even your region--but may not be unique compared to other areas of the country--may not be enough, especially if you are applying to a funder covering multiple states or offering a nationwide program. Think big, and aim for truly unique and innovative.

5. Do you have any community partners that could participate in the project to help enhance achievement of goals?

If not, are you willing to build partnerships NOW that would increase competitiveness and achievement of goals?

Partnerships are increasingly critical to receiving grant funding for most programs and especially for large-dollar and government-funded grant programs. If you do not have and are not in a position or willing to build partnerships at this time, grants may not be the best fundraising fit for your organization right now.

When you can answer "yes" to all five questions, you will be in a strong a position to begin applying for grants!

Tips for Applying for Grants

Confident you're ready to begin applying for grants? How exciting! As you begin the process of identifying the grant(s) you want to pursue and writing your grant application(s), keep the following top tips in mind.

  1. Make sure your project is an appropriate fit for the grant you plan to apply to before you submit an application. To do this, learn as much as you can about the program you are considering by thoroughly reviewing the RFP/grant guidelines, communicating with the program contact, reading about the program on the official website, and reading about projects the program has previously funded.
  2. Each proposal you submit should be unique: each application should respond directly to the specifications of the grant guidelines using detailed information about your local needs and resources.
  3. Be sure to follow any and all directions the funder gives!
  4. Provide the funder with the information requested by the RFP/grant guidelines in the order it is requested. This makes it easier for reviewers to identify where and how you have responded to each of the grant criteria.
  5. Don’t bother trying to tell a story or relating your vision —stay focused on the problem and how you plan to solve it!
  6. Strive to use language any reader—regardless of whether he/she works in your field—can understand. Define any acronyms and/or field-specific terms that are used in your narrative at least once.
  7. Provide evidence of a local need for the project! Use state and national statistics only for comparison purposes.
  8. Always discuss relevant local, state, and federal standards and/or mandates in terms of how you are currently unable to meet them, why, how your proposed project will change that, and to what degree.
  9. Discuss measurable outcomes, in addition to your goals and objectives, that are clearly linked to your stated needs and proposed project activities.
  10. Make sure your partners are active partners, rather than partners in name only. Any letters of support should demonstrate commitment to the project by explaining how the partner will contribute to the project.
  11. Have someone who has not worked on the narrative read it over to help you ensure clarity before you finalize it.
  12. Be sure items requested in your budget are discussed in your narrative and are clearly linked to addressing the needs you have discussed and realizing your stated outcomes.
  13. Always include a budget narrative that illustrates how you calculated each number contributing to your budget total and provides adequate justification for each line item.
  14. Your application should include only documents specifically requested by the funder. Any additional information will almost certainly not be read.
  15. Get reviewers comments for all government proposals you submit and any foundation proposals willing to provide the information. Use that feedback to prepare future proposals. Visit www.fcc.gov/foia for information on how to request reviewer scores and comments for your federal grant proposals through the Freedom of Information Act.
  16. Keep the numbers in mind: many, many grant programs now fund just 5-10% of applications submitted. Obtaining funding takes time, and chances are you will have to submit more grants than you will win. Don't let yourself get discouraged. Keep refining your project design and submitting applications, and you will achieve your funding goals.

How Polar Fits into Grants

Polar offers state-of-the art individual and group physical activity and fitness assessment technologies, including but not limited to products designed especially for personal fitness, athlete training, and use in schools. The overall case for these products is clear, and your interest in pursuing grant funding to obtain them evidences your commitment to fitness, overall health, and the improvement of both through objective data and data-driven decision-making.

So how does Polar fit into grants? We'll discuss a few common ways here, but talk with your Polar Sales Representative for more ideas about how Polar can best fit into your grant application based on your organization's specific needs, priorities, and project design.

Evaluation and Assessment: The most common way Polar products and services fit into grant projects is as tools for assessment of outcomes as part of the evaluation of the effectiveness of the grant project. Did you achieve the goals and outcomes you wanted to? For physical activity and fitness achievement outcomes for individuals and groups, Polar products are ideal assessment tools. As all tools are tested and proven effective, and all tools generate objective results, an evaluation that includes Polar products is an evaluation offering accurate, objective, measured, quantitative results! Funders look for evaluation plans with these elements! Think about the outcomes you want to achieve and how Polar can play a role in helping you evaluate them, and in doing so, contribute to your overall project evaluation plan.

Project Design: Depending on your project design and aims, Polar products and services can play a variety of important roles. For example, if you are looking to address grading and assessment inadequacies, Polar products are a strong fit for implementing objective measurement tools that will complement broader revised grading and assessment policies. If physical education (PE) teachers have lacked opportunities for professional development specific to their field in recent years, Polar trainings are an ideal response to teacher learning needs related to achievement of fitness and recommended amounts of physical activity, assessment, and technology. If your project aims to educate your target population about heart health, Polar heart rate monitors can offer the data, real-time feedback, and visual needed to drive these lessons home in a real and comprehensible way. If your project aims to increase physical activity time during PE, the broader school day, or during out-of-school time activities, Polar products offer an objective means for ensuring that each individual student is achieving the specific physical activity time and intensity aims you've set--and is motivated to do so by real-time feedback!

Project NEED: If you have some Polar products now but are hoping to obtain grant funding to expand the use of Polar within your organization, or you're looking for funding for other physical activity projects (such as funding staffing for a before or after school program that will offer students new opportunities for regular physical activity), leverage the data from your existing Polar products! Create a strong case for need by presenting objective data showing how much time and at which intensity levels students are active now and/or where student fitness levels are at currently and explain why those levels are inadequate compared to recommendations and standards, or compare the achievement of students using Polar products to those who do not have access to them yet!

Other Helpful Information for Grant Seekers

This page provides a series of brief posts on a variety of grant-related topics including grant vocabulary and how to use recognized assessments to create a case for need.

Important Grant Vocabulary!

5 Reasons to Apply for Grants

Why Templating Grants is a Poor Approach To Applying For Grants

Free Resources for Finding Grants

Should I Apply for a Research Grant?