Grant writing is something that can be mystifying to people and many have no idea how to become a grant writer. Many people who work at non-profits end up grant writing at one point or another so it is a good skill to know, even if you don’t think your job will ever require you to help with writing grants. Grant writing is also a great skill for freelancers to have as it just adds to their list of skills and opens them up to more prospective clients.
What Is Grant Writing?
Grant writing is essentially an application process for funding sources. There are many government agencies, foundations, trusts, and corporations that release millions of dollars each year as grants to various non-profits and charities. In order to receive these funds, those who want them submit letters of intent and grant proposals demonstrating their financial need and detailing who their organization is and what their plan for using the funds is.
A lot goes into grant writing: researching and finding funding sources, selecting potential funders, analyzing the target audience and understanding what the funder’s goals are, writing the grant, formatting the grant properly, revising the proposal, and more.
The Importance of Grant Writing
The laws around how donations are taxed are constantly changing and a non-profit that relies solely on donations may end up with a huge tax bill at the end of the year if they even receive enough donations to keep going. Grants are taxed differently as they are not donations.
They are one of the main ways that non-profits are able to receive larger amounts of money and many times a grant proposal is asking a funder to provide money for a specific project the non-profit is working on, such as updating technology in their offices, providing more supplies for homeless shelters or schools, or training staff.
Without grants, many non-profits would not be able to find all the funding they need and they would not be able to support the communities they serve as well as they wanted to.
Learn How to Write Grants
One great source for learning any new skill, grant writing included, is Udemy. Udemy is an online classroom that enables individuals or businesses to sign up for classes they can take on their own time. There’s no need to travel for class or try to find a course that works with your already busy schedule because you can login and review the material for your courses at any time.
Udemy is committed to providing people with the skills they need to succeed, in life and in the workplace. They are constantly doing surveys and research into things like the skills gap and what employees all over the world need in order to improve their lives. Classes on Udemy are also affordable so you won’t break the bank trying to learn a new skill.
General Grant Writing Courses
If you have never written a grant before, a good place to start is with Grant Writing 101: How to Write Winning Grants. The course teaches you how to write grants in a fun way while still writing ones that will help you secure the money you need for your school, community theater group, conservation efforts, or anything else you might need to write a grant for.
The course has three hours of video and eleven modules. There are also 14 downloadable resources, including the e-book on writing grants, templates to help you with your first grants, and various checklists and cheat sheets that go with the modules. You will start off the course by learning the fact and fiction behind grant writing, the different types of grants, and the reasons behind why you need to write grants.
You’ll then learn the structure of writing a grant and the next five modules will focus on one aspect of that structure: talking about your organization, your needs and the target demographic, your goals and objectives, your budget, and finally the project design portion.
The last module will offer you additional resources you’ll need to become a successful grant writer, no matter what kind of organization or community group you’re writing the grant for.
Grant Writing: Keys to a Successful Proposal is another good course to start with or to take as a supplement to other courses. The course teaches mainly through video lectures so if you learn best that way, this course is for you! There are two hours of video divided into 22 lectures.
You’ll start by learning the basics behind what a grant is and then dive right into how to become a grant writer and start writing proposals. You’ll receive a resource on common terms and acronyms used in grants and go through one way of outlining a grant proposal: the introduction to your organization, problem statement, methods, outcomes, evaluation plan, plans for the future, budget, and ending summary.
You will also learn how to find the funds you’re looking for, as there’s no point in writing a grant if you don’t know where to send it! The course ends by teaching you how to write a Letter of Intent and also how to deal with any rejections you receive.
If you want to dive a little deeper into the whole grant writing process, Comprehensive Grant Writing for Beginners is a great course to take. This course is specifically designed for people who are not experienced with fundraising or grant writing and want to know about the whole process, not just the actual writing of the grant. It has one hour of video, five articles, and five downloadable resources.
This course provides some legal and ethical information about grant writing that is specific to the U.S. and Canada but anyone worldwide can take the course. After the main introduction and the legal and ethical information, the course dives into teaching you all about the preparation required for grant writing.
You’ll learn how to research and how to tell the stories of the people and/or organization you’re needing the funding for. You will then learn how to demonstrate why you need the funds you’re applying for. Next, you’ll learn how to search for funders and review a grants calendar so you understand the timing behind grant writing processes.
You will also learn how to complete different types of applications and when you should not apply for funds, then finish up with the reporting part of grant writing that comes after funds have been awarded.
Grant Writing for Non-Profits
Obviously, the above courses can be used by people who are looking to write grants for non-profits and most of them mention non-profits specifically in the course. Grant Research: Effective Strategies for Your Non-Profit is focused on finding the funding sources you need for your non-profit organization. It isn’t focused on the specific writing part of the process but this is a vital course to take, as there’s no point in writing grants if you don’t have any potential funders to send them to.
The course has 2.5 hours of video, 1 article, and four downloadable resources. After the course introduction, you will learn the three types of grantmakers: government, business, and foundation. Next, you will learn about databases where you can find funding sources as well as a few secret sources the course creator knows about.
Next, you’ll dive into grant research: intake forms, search terms, organizing results, making a prospects list, and screening the sources. You will also learn all about 990s, what they are and when to use them. The course wraps up with proposals, applications, and next steps.
Grant Writing for Non-Profits and Freelance Writers is another course you can take if you work for a non-profit or if you write grants as an outside freelancer for non-profits and other organizations. Much of the homework for the class requires that you have a non-profit in mind, either your own or one of your choosing if you are a freelancer. It has 1.5 hours of video and 35 downloaded resources and assignments.
This course will teach you how to find funders as well as how to write the actual grant. You will learn how to research and compile local, state, and federal funding sources. The course also teaches you how to “think like a funder” so you understand what funders are looking for in a grant. You will learn how to build a “boilerplate” – essentially a template that you can use when writing grants so that you have all the main language you need down before you start working on your first draft.
Finally, you’ll learn everything that goes into a successful grant application: letters of intent, developing relationships, meeting the expectations of the funders, and the budget.
Join the World of Grant Writing
Writing grants is an extremely important part of gaining funding for non-profits, schools, and community groups. Whether you are currently working somewhere that writes grants to receive funding, you’re thinking about working at a non-profit, or you are freelance writing, grant writing is a great skill to have. If you are looking for a job and can demonstrate to the non-profits you apply to that you already know how to write grants, that will boost your application to the top of the pile. Take a class today and learn how to become a grant writer so that you can start writing as soon as possible.