Free Online Grant Writing Classes
Ready to learn how to write a winning nonprofit grant proposal choose your first course and learn where to find grants, how to become a grant writer, grant writing best practices, and so much more, explore some of our most popular courses on grant writing.
Get Grant Ready
Cornerstone ondemand foundation.
This short video covers the basics of preparing a grant application.
Acquiring Public Grants
Dare mighty things.
This guide details the keys to winning government grants.
Cornerstone ondemand foundation, learn how to write effective and persuasive grant proposals..
Earn a free certificate in grant writing!
Learn how to find the right grants for your nonprofit and write great grant proposals with this free, 2-hour online training. Eligible for CFRE Continuing Education Credits.
> Click here to learn more about this free grant writing certificate program
- Basic course to prepare Applications for Government Project Grants.
- Learn to prepare compelling letters, proposals, and applications for Foundation, Corporate, and Government Project Grants for all eligible organizations.
- This is our most comprehensive grant writing course to win competitive grant awards!
- Course may be purchased separately, or as part of the Certified Grant Writer ® Series.
- Basic course to prepare letters, proposals and applications for Foundation and Corporate Project Grants.
- Certified Grant Writer ® Series
- Package includes an online course as well as CGW Review and Exam
- Click here for English version
- Click here for Spanish version
- In-depth course on designing competitive evaluation plans
- Appropriate for grantseekers preparing project grant proposals and applications.
- Appropriate for staff at Government agencies, Nonprofits, Hospitals, Educational Institutions, and For-Profit Business. Learn how to manage grants that have been awarded to your organization.
- Appropriate for experienced grant writers (2-5 years of experience) who want to start a Grant Consulting Business
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- Professional Certificate in Grant Writing
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San Diego and California are home to thousands of nonprofit organizations, including nonprofit organizations like community food banks, mentoring programs, health clinics, art organizations, environmental organizations,as well as school districts and local governments. These organizations must compete for funding in an increasingly challenging funding environment. Grant writing is a key component of securing funding for many of San Diego's most dynamic organizations.
Spring Courses Now Available
With a Professional Certificate in Grant Writing from SDSU Global Campus, you’ll learn how to research and construct grant proposals that are clear, persuasive, and aligned with the priorities of your funders.
About the Program
San Diego and California are home to thousands of nonprofit organizations. These organizations must compete for funding in an increasingly challenging funding environment. Grant writing is a key component of securing funding for many of San Diego's most dynamic organizations. Nonprofits, school districts, and local governments regularly seek staff and consultants with comprehensive writing, research, and strategic skills to obtain grant funding.
Total Estimated Cost $xxx Total Cost/Unit -->
Min. Completion Time
Online + Asynchronous
Build your grant writing skills and learn how to market yourself to employers by earning a Professional Certificate in Grant Writing from SDSU Global Campus. In as few as 10 weeks, you’ll learn how to develop compelling grant proposals that will help your organization obtain the funding it needs.
What Do Our Students Have to Say?
- Kaitlen Daigle, Assignment Editor, Fox 5 San Diego
Is This Program Right for Me?
Are you an SDSU Alumni Lifetime Member? If so, click here to learn more about how you can receive 20% off registration for this program.
Your organization needs funding. SDSU’s Grant Writing Certificate program can help you get them. Whether you’re new to grant writing, or you’re taking on a new role in your organization, our program can show you how to develop compelling, effective grant proposals in just 10 weeks.
SDSU’s online grant writing courses will show you how to get funds for a variety of organizations, including:
- Community Food Banks
- Mentoring Programs
- Health Clinics
- Art Organizations
- Environmental Organizations
- School Districts
- Local Governments
- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
This program is ideal for current and aspiring grant writers working full-time and freelancing, as well as:
- Employees from nonprofit organizations
- Employees from city and county governments, chambers of commerce
- Individuals working in education (private and public)
- Public health professionals
- Social workers
- Independent consultants/ grant writers
This program is focused on nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations that provide charitable or public benefit services. The course is not oriented toward research grants or grants for individuals or businesses.
SDSU is a State-approved provider for the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). If you’re unemployed or underemployed, you may be eligible to receive full or partial tuition assistance on this program. Equal Opportunity is the Law. Equal opportunity employer/program auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Click here to learn more .
What Can I Learn?
SDSU’s online grant writing courses will show you how to craft grant proposals that will help your organization compete in an increasingly competitive funding environment.
Employers look for both training and experience in their grant writers. This grant writing program will help you:
- Build the foundational knowledge you need to identify and research grant prospects.
- Write a proposal.
- Work to help nonprofit leaders strategically position their organizations to succeed.
- Learn how to interview staff and volunteers to get the information you need to develop highly-effective grant proposals.
- Combine your technical writing skills with the ability to understand guidelines, communicate clearly and persuasively with your audience.
- Develop a compelling program narrative and budget.
- Gain a deeper understanding of nonprofit management and programming.
- Learn how to strengthen an organization to better compete for funds.
The program consists of two 25-hour online courses:
- Introduction to Grants and Funding Research is designed for those with no or little prior experience developing grant proposals. This course requires approximately 3-4 hours of work per week, including homework.
- Grant Proposal Development will provide you with an opportunity to practice and develop grant writing skills. This course requires approximately 4-6 hours of work per week, including homework.
Lessons in both courses are pre-recorded, which means that you can watch them on your schedule. You’ll also connect with your instructor one-on-one via email and the course’s discussion board.
To earn your Professional Certificate in Grant Writing, you’ll need to complete both courses.
Meet Your Instructor
Get Help from the SDSU Writing Center
When you join the program, you’ll be able to get valuable feedback on your writing from the San Diego State University Writing Center. Click here to learn more .
Labor analysis fundraising manager — nationwide.
101,300 Job postings in the last 12 months
+16% Projected job growth in the next 10 years
$73,073 Average salary of graduates
Source: Burning Glass/Emsi, 2022
With budget cuts and revenue shortages across the country, today’s funding environment is fiercer than ever before. As nonprofit organizations compete for funds, they’re seeking well-trained grant writers to research and develop highly-effective grant proposals.
Nationwide employment opportunities for grant writers are projected to grow by more than 10% over the next decade. Compensation is varied — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many grant writers are self-employed, and they usually charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for their services.
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a grant writer is $51,395, and can range from $33,000 to over $80,000 per year, depending on your experience level, location, and other factors.
Why Should You Choose Us?
All courses are 100% online, self-paced, and accessible from anywhere in the world, which makes this grant writing program ideal for working professionals and busy students. You can complete the program in as few as 10 weeks, or take up to two years to complete all your courses.
This grant writing program is led by expert grant writer Jay Katz. He brings over 25 years of professional grant writing experience to every virtual lesson. Through his expertise, you’ll learn what works — and what doesn’t — for today’s grant writers.
As one of the top 100 public colleges in the country, when you earn a certificate from San Diego State University, you’re putting a name on your résumé that will help you stand out in the professional world.
To earn your Professional Certificate in Grant Writing, you’ll need to take both courses. This means that you can complete the program and earn your certificate in just 10 weeks.
View the schedule below and click on the red course names to register.
*Dates and fees subject to change.
Finished all the required courses? Click the button below to receive your certificate.
Request Your Certificate
To register for courses in the Grant Writing program, please complete the following steps:
- Choose your courses in the "Courses" tab.
- Click on the red course links to register.
- Check the dates and times to ensure that you can attend all sessions of the course.
- Click “Add to Cart.”
- Add more courses to your cart or click “Checkout.”
- Log into your SDSU Global Campus Account, if you haven’t already done so.
- Pay for your course(s).
Enroll in the program at any time, even before registering for a course. It’s free, and offers many benefits:
- Secure your curriculum (should the requirements change in the future).
- See upcoming courses when you log into your student account.
- Track your progress.
Enrolling in a program doesn’t mean you’re registered for courses. You’ll still need to register and pay for each course you wish to take.
Frequently Asked Questions
Students in the Grant Writing Program can check their progress by logging into their SDSU Global Campus student account here . If you need assistance with your account, contact our Registration staff at 619-594-5152 or [email protected] .
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These courses do not receive academic credit and will not show up on an SDSU transcript.
However, students who complete courses in our professional certificate programs (other than those that are graded as Pass/No Pass) will receive a final letter score that mimics the grading rubric SDSU uses for credit-bearing courses. Students will also receive a Letter of Completion from our registration team for each course they complete, which will include their final score.
Our grant writing program is 100% online. The program consists of two 5-week courses that contain 25 total hours of work each. You can complete the program and earn your Professional Certificate in as little as 10 weeks.
Courses in our grant writing program feature a mostly asynchronous virtual instruction learning modality. This means:
- Unless otherwise noted, instruction is provided through a combination of recorded and limited direct instruction with academic activities, quizzes, etc., at the arranged times and dates described in the footnotes and syllabus. Content may be open for restricted periods of time.
- Students may be expected to attend any live sessions necessary to complete the course.
- Final exams or assignments will be listed in the course syllabus and may need to be completed at a set time and date.
- Faculty and instructors are available for office hours and instructional support when needed.
Mostly Asynchronous courses may be preferable for students in different time zones as they provide the flexibility to do work on your own schedule at your own pace. However, these courses may require group activities and arranged meetings with faculty.
As a student in our grant writing program, you have options when it comes to paying for your courses. This program is eligible for the following discounts and support programs:
Once you’ve completed all the program requirements, fill out a certificate request form . SDSU Global Campus will verify that you’ve completed all the required courses and assignments. Once you’ve been verified, you’ll receive a digital copy of your certificate.
Ready to take the next step? Click on the Courses tab to browse our courses and register. If you have any questions about the program, our Welcome Center can help! Fill out the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch.
Request Your Certificate Certificate Programs Workforce Partnership Alumni Lifetime Member Discount Grant Writing Flyer
Get advice from SDSU writing tutors when you join the program!
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Want To Learn More?
Submit this web form and we’ll be in touch to answer all your questions and explain the next steps in the process. Or, you can reach a program recruiter by emailing [email protected] or by calling (619) 594-7700 .
This course will prepare you to write successful grant proposals for nonprofit organizations or tax-exempt institutions (we do not focus on research institutions, businesses or individuals).
You will learn how to successfully research funding prospects, interact with those funders, and plan to write a grant proposal. We will explore why grants are funded, and what motivates a grantor to award a grant. You will also develop a brief letter of inquiry proposal, receiving feedback and guidance on improving your request. The course will also guide you on creating a plan to track, manage, and plan your grant proposals.
You will learn how to develop a compelling, effective grant proposal, including the proposal narrative and budget. You will gain an understanding of federal, state, and private foundation grant guidelines. The course will help you learn how to make your grant proposal stand out. You will have the opportunity to practice writing elements of the proposal with support and guidance from an expert in the field. The course will also provide you with example grant proposals, and you will review those proposals for strengths and weaknesses with your fellow students.
Join us for an exclusive event to learn how to do prospecting, pre-award, and post-award management in one place.
August 2, 2023
The Best Grant Writing Courses in 2023
May 27, 2022
Table of Contents
When it comes to grant writing, you may be a good writer, or even a great writer, but everyone can improve their skills at any time in their career. That’s why we’ve developed our go-to list of the best grant writing courses available in 2023.
We’ve broken down our list into three class categories: classes for beginners, classes for advanced grant writers, and classes for learning how to tackle proposals to the federal government for funding.
Let’s dig in.
What is a Grant Writing Course?
A grant writing course is a class you can take to learn how to become a better writer of winning grant proposals.
Many people with degrees in journalism, English, or marketing communications find themselves becoming grant writers. Others are introduced to the field by other work with nonprofit organizations.
However, grant writing requires more than just knowing how to write. There are certain concepts specific to grants that are necessary to understand—it’s much more than simply following a template. For instance, are you familiar with:
- Logic models?
- SMART objectives?
- Outputs vs. outcomes?
- Weaving high-value data into your need or problem statement?
- Telling a story that demonstrates the human impact your organization is making?
If not, the appropriate grant writing course is a great place to get up to speed and otherwise fine-tune your existing skills, whether you’re a newbie to the grants world or a seasoned veteran.
How Can You Benefit from a Grant Writing Course?
There are so many ways a grant writing course can benefit you (and your organization or your clients!) Here’s a list of things you can learn:
- How to research the best grant opportunities
- How to enhance your ability to write the most effective proposals possible
- How to understand what funders look for
- How to improve your skills in data collection
- How to write more compelling cover letters
- How to create effective executive summaries
- How to deliver effective problem statements and explain how your project is a solid solution
- How to propose an evaluation strategy
- How to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) objectives
- How to create and when to use a logic model
- How to write an understandable budget narrative
- How to manage each grant efficiently and on a deadline
There are dozens of different grant writing courses that can help you hone various skills and improve your grant writing abilities. For more classes, check out our list of expert-led grant writing classes .
Click to find the best grants for your nonprofit from 12,000+ active opportunities.
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How Much Do Grant Writing Classes Typically Cost (Online vs. In-Person)?
The cost of grant writing classes varies, whether offered online or in-person.
On the low end, it’s possible to find free grant writing classes and webinars. Other grant writing classes can sometimes be as inexpensive as $15-$20 on places like Udemy and generally provide helpful insight and resources.
The most involved and highest-end classes, such as an online course from places like the Lilly School of Philanthropy at IUPUI or the University of Notre Dame, could cost you upwards of a few thousand in total.
Are Grant Writing Courses Worth the Money?
With so many grant writing resources out there, you may find yourself wondering whether enrolling in a grant writing course is worth the money.
In general, the return on investment for enrolling in a grant writing course often depends on a student’s individual situation.
For example, for individuals with only cursory experience or knowledge of grants and grant processes, a grant writing course can be a significant skill building opportunity.
If you already work for a nonprofit, a grant writing course can help you become a stronger, more impactful staff member at your organization. And if you’re working on becoming a grant writing consultant , completing a grant writing course can lend you credibility and even help you land your very first grant-writing gig!
Don’t forget—winning grants is not a simple feat. Even the most experienced grant writers can hone their skills with the right grant writing course. You could improve your ability to develop a budget narrative , leverage storytelling techniques , or even to identify funding opportunities that are best aligned with your nonprofit’s mission and goals.
While grant writing courses contribute to stronger talent at nonprofits, they can also be key resources that allow individuals to achieve their personal and/or professional goals.
According to reports , the average national salary for grant writers currently sits at $65,000 annually with some of the highest earners making upwards of $88,000 annually.
Additionally, the skills learned in a grants writing course can help people develop all around strong professional skills, making them competitive candidates for promotion or for landing other higher level nonprofit positions such as Program Directors, Executive Directors, or Development Directors.
Fortunately, there are lots of grant writing courses available for every experience level and price range. Many nonprofits may even pay for you to take a course—talk to your current employer and see if they are willing to support your professional development goals in this way.
How We Evaluated the Best Grant Writing Courses
To create this comprehensive list of the best grant writing courses, we used five evaluation criteria: price, reputation of the instructor, content, accessibility, and whether taking the course results in continuing education credit.
Not everyone has an employer that can pay for part or all of a grant writing course. Many smaller nonprofits have super-tight budgets, and self-employed grant writers often can’t shell out big bucks for continuing education. So, when developing our list we looked at value as a top priority.
Reputation of the Instructor
There are some big, recognizable names in the grant writing universe, just as there are in other fundraising fields, such as planned giving or major gifts. We evaluated the instructor’s reputation and credibility, based on reviews and peer feedback.
While reviewing each course, we evaluated the content presented, as well as any take-away perks like a syllabus, extra study helps or guides, and other resources provided.
We also considered how easy it is to access the course. In other words, is the course offered in-person, is it online, is it accessible by mobile, and how much time do students have to invest to complete it.
Continuing Education Credit
For grant writers who have some type of certificate like the CFRE, or the GPC from the Grant Professionals Certification Institute, continuing education is necessary to
maintain or renew certification. In our list, we made note of which courses provided eligible credit.
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Drum roll, please.
Here is our curated list of the best grant writing courses currently available divided into the best grant courses for beginners, the best for experienced writers, and the best courses for learning how to successfully prepare a government grant.
Best Classes for Beginners
Fundamentals of grant writing by the university of georgia .
Led by renowned grant writer and trainer Dr. Bev Browning, this six-week long, 24 course-hour online class from the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in partnership with Ed2Go, is an excellent choice for beginning grant writers.
You’ll become comfortable with all the ins and outs of the proposal process, and also get tips and tricks to take your skills to the next level.
This comprehensive class includes the following lessons:
- Grant Funding Research
- The Grant Writing Planning Process
- Peer Review and Constructive Feedback
- Executive Summary
- Statement of Need for Funding
- Benefit to the Target Population
- Project Goals and Measurable Objectives
- Evidence-Based Solutions to Address the Need
- Funding Outcomes and Evaluation
- Developing a Project Budget
Price : $159
Grant Writing for Nonprofits by Tim Whitney
This budget-friendly online course is very basic and designed for beginners. Taught by grant writing expert and attorney Tim Whitney, the course is rated at 4.7 out of 5 stars on Udemy and has been taken by more than 9,000 students.
The class promises to teach you:
- How to identify the most relevant funders to your organization
- How to draft a solid boilerplate
- How to align the funder’s priorities with your organizational mission
- How to craft a budget
The complete class takes 1.5 hours to complete. Perks include 35 downloadable resources, as well as a certificate of completion.
Price : $29.99
CEUs : None
Grant Writing Basics for Beginners by Skillshare
This very basic online course is designed for fledgling writers who have yet to tackle writing their first proposal. It’s taught by Instrumentl partner Teresa Huff, a successful grant writing consultant and trainer. The course offers 50 minutes of instruction with 10 lessons including:
- Common questions about grant writing
- What Is a grant?
- Grant readiness
- The top ten myths about grants
- Where to find grants
- Sections of a grant
- Developing your grant project
- Application submission and awards
- Think like a reviewer
- Conclusion and course project
Downloadable content is also available. The course has been taken by nearly 2,000 students, and 99% rated it as either meeting or exceeding their expectations.
Teresa also offers other free grant writing webinars on Skillshare.
Price : Free
All About Grant Writing
This self-paced online course was developed by GPA Approved Trainer, GPC, and former foundation director, Margit Brazda Poirier of Grants4Good .
The course is supported by regular live Q&A sessions with Margit, a community of current and past students, and lots of downloadable templates to help you complete grant applications. All About Grant Writing online has everything you need to exceed your grant funding goals with an easy-to-follow method in 8 modules (10 hours of instruction). It is designed so that when you finish the course, you've completed the grant application!
The course includes:
- How to pick the perfect project for funding, gather your materials, and your team
- Learn how to think like a Funder (and win more grants), and the proven system to structure your grant seeking for the next 10 years
- How to find the perfect funders and avoid those who aren't
- A 7-day plan to develop your needs statement, organization qualifications, outcomes & goals, work plan, evaluation plan, collaborations and partnerships, sustainability plan and more
- Discover the steps to developing a perfect project budget for foundation and government grant applications
- What to do after the grant application is submitted
- A long-term grant strategy so you NEVER run out of money
- How to further your own development, network with others, and get certified in the grants profession.
This self-paced online course is yours for life. Once you register, you get immediate access to all the instruction videos, slides, templates and live sessions with Margit.
Price: $397 - $997
CEU: 10 CFRE
Grant Writing: From Start to Funded by Learngrantwriting.org
Author of Amazon best-seller How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn , Meredith Noble offers a flagship course that is an excellent entry into becoming a successful grant writer. Topics covered over five modules include:
- Developing a project planning toolkit
- Building a power prospectus
- Logic models and valuation
- Creative ways to get funded
- Deep dive into grant funding research
- A step-by-step approach to writing winning proposals
- Career paths, including the grant writing unicorn method
You’ll be able to download 15 different templates, and Meredith also posts bonus trainings quarterly.
Price : $750 payable over three months
Certificate in Grantwriting by Spark the Fire
Alison Shirk, skilled grant writer and instructor and Instrumentl partner, offers a full course in grant writing, resulting in professional certification. Her flagship course, the Certificate in Grant Writing, uses a blended learning approach—a self-paced, online, on-demand course, as well as a series of eight video conferences to build your network and provide deep discussion. Topics include:
- Where and how to find funding opportunities
- How to write a case for support
- Deep dive into proposal writing
- How to build relationships with funders
- Grant management and reporting
The class’s final project is a finalized grant proposal done by each learner. The eight-week course has garnered rave reviews by former students and only takes about two hours per week for the learning component, with an additional hour for each video conference.
Once completed, each student is awarded a certification through Spark the Fire Grantwriting Classes in partnership with Seattle Central College.
Price : $549
Grant Courses for Experienced Writers
You’re an experienced proposal writer, but you want to become better. Maybe you feel like you’re losing your edge, or your win rate has dropped. Time for a tune-up!
Check out our picks for the best grant courses for experienced grant writers.
Advanced Grant Proposal Writing by Ed2go
Taught by Dr. Bev Browning, author of “Grant Writing for Dummies”, this advanced course is comprehensive and for experienced grant writers only.
This highly rated 24 course-hour online class includes the following lessons:
- Types of proposal formats
- Matching funders with projects
- Writing the history and major accomplishments section
- Writing the current projects and activities section
- Writing the target population served section
- Writing the partnerships section
- Writing the needs statement section
- Writing the program design section
- Writing the evaluation section
- Develop the budget section
- Apply finishing touches and follow-up tasks
Students can take the instructor-led class (recommended) or do a self-paced version over a maximum period of three months.
Price : $149
Professional Certificate in Grant Writing by San Diego State University
Instructor Jay Katz, president of Grants West, is a very well-known expert in the grant writing world. The course is offered by San Diego State University’s Global Campus. A certificate is earned after 10 weeks of all online instruction.
To earn the certificate, two full courses are completed: Introduction to Grants and Funding Research, and Grant Proposal Development. While the first course in the sequence is for those with no or little prior grant writing experience, the second course provides the tools to further develop grant writing skills. If you happen to be an SDSU Alumni Lifetime Member, you can receive 20% off registration for this program.
Price : $898
CEUs : Yes–amount unknown
DePaul University Grant Writing Certificate
Located in Chicago, Illinois, DePaul University offers a comprehensive 10-week grant writing certificate course. The class is taught in person with some online availability as part of the University’s continuum of Continuing and Professional Education program.
The course is designed for nonprofit employees and grant writers seeking skill enhancement, with a focus on supporting people who are looking to secure funding.
Not only does the course dive deep into each aspect of the proposal process, but it also provides students with important strategies, including how to determine if a project is fundable and how to utilize online platforms to find RFPs and other grant opportunities.
Topics covered include:
- Understanding philanthropy,
- Outlining and writing full proposals
- Crafting persuasive case statements
- Budgets and donor cultivation/stewardship
- Prospect research
Price : $1,295
CEUs : Unknown
Advanced Grant Writing Course by The Nonprofit Times
This course from the respected publication, The Nonprofit Times, in collaboration with MindEdgis priced moderately and is designed specifically for experienced proposal writers. The class is taught by Cynthia Holt, sole proprietor of Holt Community Consulting based in Madison, Wisc.
Want to learn about logic models? Need to develop SMART objectives? The course covers these topics, as well as differentiating between formative and summative evaluations, line-item budget development, and more.
The course takes approximately six hours to complete and is mobile-friendly. Perks include flash cards and games, as well as an “Ask an Expert” feature, allowing students to submit questions regarding course content.
CEUs : 6 CFRE, 0.6 IACET
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Advanced Grant Writing
While this in depth grant writing workshop welcomes grant writers of all levels, the content is designed for sharpening writing skills and encouraging strategic thinking that will result in securing new revenue and developing successful proposals.
The course is taught online and led by Jeremy T. Miner, M.A., an experienced consultant with years of experience as a reviewer for federal and state grant programs, and a grant administrator in the public and private sectors.
The advanced grant writing workshop focuses on the core elements of grant proposals, as well as learning to identify RFPs, how to anticipate problem areas and reviewer critiques, and how to interpret reviewer feedback. The University of Wisconsin also offers a Professional Grant Writing Certificate , which can be obtained after completing the Advanced Grant Writing course along with a course for beginners.
Topics included in the course cover:
- A 3-step RFP analysis
- Writing a captivating opening summary
- How to interpret reviewers’ comments
- How to identify critical elements of the grant review process
Price : $215 for a single course, $399 for the certificate program
CEUs : Yes, 0.6
Grant Courses about Federal Grants
Writing a proposal to a federal agency can be daunting to say the least. Here are our top choices for the best online grant courses dealing with complex federal proposals.
Competing for Federal Grants by The Grantsmanship Center
This week-long intensive training is designed for experienced grant writers who need to learn how to write competitive grants to the federal government. There are two trainers, Christine K. Black and AJ King, who rotate between sessions (the course is offered twice a year and is taught live). Both are experienced in the federal grants process, having written successful proposals to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State, and more.
You’ll learn about navigating through the federal proposal process, how to develop a proposal work plan, and how to submit a competitive proposal. Besides the training, graduates have the opportunity to submit a proposal to the trainer and get tips about how to improve it.
The highly interactive class familiarizes students with the following:
- Federal funding overview
- Finding opportunities
- Interpreting guidelines
- Effective arguments
- Teams draft concept papers
- Teams review concept papers
Included in the price of the course is an eBook of resources, sample proposals, copies of the concept papers reviewed, and a certificate of completion.
Price : $1,395
CEUs : CFRE 33
Grant Management Bootcamp by D.H. Leonard Consulting and MyFedTrainer.com
Offered several times a year via live webcast, this course lasts four half-days and helps students get up-to-speed on federal grant readiness and research. The boot camp is taught by recognized teacher Diane Leonard, principal of DH Leonard Consulting.
- Federal grant readiness, including the grant life cycle, internal capacity, and assessing your organization’s grant readiness
- Federal grant research and pre-planning
- Selecting collaborative partners
- Developing a needs statement
- Crafting logic models and SMART objectives
- Developing your work plan and evaluation criteria
- Growing your staffing plan and organizational capacity
- Budgets, assurances, and attachments, including eligible direct expenses, indirect cost rates and more
- Mock review & submission
Obviously, this course isn’t for newbies to the grant writing world. Besides 12 contact hours of training, perks include live interaction with the instructor, access to the online Grant Writing Boot Camp Resource Center which offers guides, templates and more, as well as access to the webcast recordings for a full year. Students also receive a full year of e-mentoring and a certificate of completion.
Price : $795, or $495 for early birds
CEUs : GPCI 12
Management Concepts: Federal Grants Update and Refresher
Federal grants are notoriously complex—with requirements and directions that can be difficult to understand and stay ahead of. This online course presented by Management Concepts helps individuals improve their federal grant writing skills while providing key legislative and regulatory updates that are crucial for federal grant recipients to know.
The course takes students through the pre-award, award, and post-award phases to help prepare them for every step in the federal grant process.
This course should not be attempted by people who are new to federal grants. Classes are designed to walk students through changes and differences related to federal grantmaking and assume basic knowledge and familiarity with Uniform Guidance.
This is an ideal opportunity for grants professionals who have been applying for and managing federal grants for some time and are hoping to sharpen their skills and knowledge.
Topics covered include:
- Law, regulations, and processes that support federal assistance
- Federal budget process
- Federal application process
- Awarding federal assistance
- Final reporting
Price : $809
CEUs : Yes, NASBA 0.6
Grants.gov Video Series
Grant writing courses can be a great asset to nonprofit professionals, but the cost of attending and completing these programs can be steep.
For nonprofit professionals who are just beginning to gain familiarity with the federal and public grants making processes, Grant.gov offers a comprehensive video series.
The video series covers how to find federal grants, how to apply for federal grants, how to create accounts with various key platforms, and what to expect and how to adhere to requirements following the submission of an application or approval of an award.
The series is available on Youtube for free. However, for individuals who are looking to receive in-depth or strategic training on federal grants, it might be more appropriate to look elsewhere.
Is a Grant Writing Certification Necessary or Even Helpful?
Grant writing courses can be incredibly beneficial for individuals who are looking to improve their professional skills and achieve professional success in the nonprofit sector.
Some institutions and courses give students the opportunity to obtain a Professional Grant Writing Certificate , which can be leveraged to obtain a promotion or even negotiate for higher pay. Having a certificate listed on your resume can also show an employer that you are familiar with the key competencies associated with a grant writing position.
However, certifications are costly. As noted above, the 10-week course and certificate program offered by DePaul University costs over $1,200 to enroll. That is a very high cost, especially for nonprofit professionals who are notoriously paid far less than their private sector counterparts.
At the end of the day, deciding whether to pursue a grant writing certificate comes down to the individual. If you are hoping to break into the nonprofit sector as a grant writer but you have no prior nonprofit experience, perhaps a grant certificate is the right decision.
However, for individuals who have been working in grants or the nonprofit sector for sometime, it may be better to simply rely on your experiences and expertise.
Keep in mind that experience beyond a Bachelor’s degree is typically not required for most grant writing positions. Having professional experience writing grants or being involved in the grants process or fundraising in some way may even carry more weight than a certification with some employers.
If you already have a job at a nonprofit organization, consider speaking with your supervisor or HR representative to determine if obtaining a grants writing certificate is right for you. They may even be able to point you in the direction of courses or other professional development opportunities that will serve you best!
Grant Courses for Everyone from Instrumentl
If you’ve been missing out on Instrumental’s library of great grant courses, it’s not too late to catch up on some of them. We feature grant writing classes from top grant experts covering a variety of topics such as:
- Connecting Smart Project Goals, SMART Objectives, and Grant Research Keywords with Dr. Bev Browning, author of “Grant Writing for Dummies” (now in its sixth edition!) and an in-demand instructor and consultant.
- Grantwriting: Not Just for Mainstream Nonprofits with Alison Shirk who not only runs Spark the Fire, but is also an adjunct professor of grant writing at both Western Washington University and Seattle Central College.
- 5 Ways to Use Funder 990 Data to Get Your Dream Grant with Margit Brazda Poirier, founder of Grants4Good, who has secured more than $30 million in funding for her clients.
- How to Go From 100+ Grants to The Best Fits for You with Meredith Noble, professional grant writing consultant and author of “How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn,” another Amazon best seller.
- 9 Reasons Your Grants Get Rejected (and How to Fix Them) with Teresa Huff, a nonprofit grant strategist and a grant writer mentor/coach.
- You Found a Grant! Now, What’s Next? with Shavonn Richardson, founder of Think & Ink Grant Consulting, providing end-to-end grant support ranging from nonprofit consulting, grant research, grant writing, grant management, and evaluation support.
- How to Craft Effective Letters of Inquiry with Margit Brazda Poirier, GPC, Approved GPA Trainer, and founder of Grants4Good .
All of these webinars are free on Instrumentl’s grant writing classes page . Bookmark this page because we have a new workshop available nearly every week. Each of our courses is an hour long, with ample time for questions and answers at the end. And did we mention they’re all free?
Wrapping Up: The Best Grant Writing Courses
So, there you have it–the best grant writing courses. Some are free, some are for beginners, and some are for more experienced folks, but we think all of them can help you beef up your grant writing skills.
Did you know Instrumentl can help you find up to 78% more funding opportunities? That’s right. Our matching algorithms allow you to spend more time writing winning proposals than researching funding opportunities.
Plus, we also provide grant management tools to make you work smarter and faster. Take advantage of Instrumentl’s free 14-day trial and experience first-hand all of the features that make Instrumentl one of the very best grant search and management tools available.
Instrumentl is the all-in-one grant management tool for nonprofits and consultants who want to find and win more grants without the stress of juggling grant work through disparate tools and sticky notes.
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Grant Development and Proposal Writing Certificates
Increase your confidence to secure funding opportunities in this competitive environment. Put yourself and your organization at the head of the curve by becoming a certified grant writing expert.
for each certificate
through Zoom and online assignments
of coursework per week
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New to grants start here, grant development: state and foundation proposals.
Securing funding for nonprofit organizations can be extremely competitive. Nonprofits need compelling proposals to receive the grants they need to achieve their missions. Whether you are a student or working professional, you will benefit from instruction by an experienced grant writer with real-world experience as they guide you through the step-by-step processes for a state and foundation proposal.
The overall strategic plan for writing grants will be addressed, including the needs statement, mission, goals, objectives, evaluation, key personnel, outcomes and budgets. During this seven-week certification program, the knowledge specialist will use interactive exercises, lectures, and discussions to demonstrate how to research and write your specific project. This is a fast-paced and intensive course.
The following textbook is required for this certificate program:
- Smith, Nancy Burke & Works, E. Gabriel (2012). The Complete Book of Grant Writing: Learn To Write Grants Like A Professional. Sourcebooks, Inc. Naperville, IL. ISBN-13: 978-1-4022-67291
Participants who successfully complete the Grant Development: State and Foundation Proposals certificate will receive a discount of 25% off the full price of the next immediately scheduled Advanced Grant course.
Ready for the next level?
Advanced grant development: federal proposals.
The seven-week Advanced Grant Development: Federal Proposals Certificate is designed to provide the participant with the resources, expert-guided practice, and mentoring to be able to write a competitive federal grant proposal. In addition to working in small groups with an experienced grant writer, participants will also have the added bonus of receiving a personalized proposal review by the knowledge specialist prior to submission for a federal grant, as well as packaging a professional grant submission, grants management, and grants.gov.
Participants enrolling in this certificate must have advanced writing skills and previous experience in writing both state and foundation grant proposals. The following counts as acceptable experience: taking a previous college-level course or professional development course focusing on writing state and foundation grant proposals; having prior experience with a nonprofit organization writing grant proposals for state and foundation grants is also acceptable. This is a fast-paced and intensive course.
The following two textbooks are required for this certificate program:
- Kester, Cheryl L., Cassidy, Karen L. (2015). In The Trenches: Writing To Win Federal Grants. Charity Channel Press. Nashville, TN. Printed book: ISBN: 978-1-938077-61-6
Grant Development: State and Foundation Proposals Certificate
Foundations of grant development and proposal writing.
Explore, discuss and apply fundamental concepts to enhance your knowledge and preparation of and for the rigors of state and foundation grant proposals.
Next, you will build upon the basic knowledge presented in the first two weeks and focus on strategies of presentation style, messaging, cohesiveness and tone. Course topics emphasize writing from the perspective of the funder, use of a grant development team and developing an accurate mid-level budget. Participants will create an intermediate level proposal using a Common Grant Application. Participants can also expect to gain a greater understanding of how funders review, rate, rank and award proposals.
Proposal Application and Grant Management
This section explores state-level and large foundation grant opportunities, and challenges the participant to advance their research, project design, evaluation plan and reporting mechanisms. More advanced budget exercises further advance the skills and knowledge required to develop multi-year budgets and complex in-kind support. Participants can expect to research, evaluate and revise some larger grant proposals using the information provided in the course.
Offering a unique full-cycle grant writing experience, this intensive seven-week certificate is designed to provide you with the resources, expert-guided practice and mentorship to produce a highly competitive federal grant proposal. You will learn how to work with grants.gov, package a final grant submission and manage a federal grant once awarded.
Participants enrolling in this certificate must have advanced writing skills and previous experience in writing both state and foundation grant proposals.
Format and cost
The Grant Development: State and Foundation Proposals Certificate and the Advanced Grant Development: Federal Proposals Certificate are both seven-week courses. You should expect approximately 12-15 hours per week of coursework.
During both certification classes, students will write their own grant proposals. Each week in the courses, students write and develop a portion of the proposal application they are working on. These are fast-paced and intensive courses. Students should have proficient writing skills and are required to keep up with weekly assignments before they can move on to the next section of the grant application.
Participants must begin the class with a pre-identified organization for which they will be writing a proposal. This can be a nonprofit for which they work or a community need for which you want to write a proposal. To be successful in the course, it is essential to be able to:
- Retrieve detailed information from that nonprofit, such as the nonprofit’s mission, programming, budget or 990 forms.
- Have personal knowledge from a previous volunteer or employment situation with a nonprofit or from online research to generate a budget based on the needs of the nonprofit, the project or the community.
- Have proficient language and writing skills.
State and Foundation Proposals:
- With Early Bird discount: $999
- Without discount: $1,050
- With Early Bird discount: $1,050
- Without discount: $1,175
The Early Bird discount ends two weeks before the program's start date. Participants who successfully complete the first Grant Development certificate will receive a discount of 25% off the regular price of the next immediate Advanced Grants program.
Frequently asked questions
Get answers to common questions about our two grant development certificates.
Review the FAQs
Nonprofit Management Institute
Flexible online learning
The ASU Lodestar Center's Nonprofit Management Institute offers courses in an interactive online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year.
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Professional Grant Writing
This course is designed to provide you with the skills to become a professional grant writer while also preparing you for the grant professional certified (gpc) exam..
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Ready to develop the skills and strategies you need to become an integral part of one of the world's fastest-growing professional certification sectors—grant writing? In the Professional Grant Writing course, you will further the ideals and goals of your career track by learning about the required competencies that can lead to an internationally recognized certification by one of the leading grant professional associations. Did you know that there's more to writing grants than finding funding and writing grant proposals? Grant professionals must also learn how to delve into supporting organizational development for grant applicants, coach them in communicating with potential funders, assist with internal and external collaborations with a successful mix of partners, and magically spin-out program design language.
In this course, you will become proficient in the proposal and case statement formats used by foundations and government grantmaking agencies. Throughout the course, you will learn about the certification process for grant professionals and write different elements of a complete grant application, culminating in a case statement for your capstone assignment with expert instructor feedback on each element. From grant funding trends to matching your course project to the right funding sources, you will be confident in differentiating yourself from a grant writer to a grant professional!
You will also be prepared for the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) exam offered by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI), which has minimum requirements of education and grant experience based on the level of education obtained.
What you will learn
- How a certification enhances professionalism and opportunities for grant writers
- The skills needed to be a professional grant writer
- Ways current trends can impact the distribution of funds in the private and public sectors
- How to match grant funders and fundable programs
- Organizational missions, cultures, and norms, and how they impact grant readiness
- Best practices to create a logic model showing interrelationships among elements of project design
- An evaluation plan using community resources and cultural competencies
- Prepare a grant budget with appropriate costs, cash, in-kind or leveraged matches
- Describe the grant writer's role in post-award grant management and transition
How you will benefit
- Communicate effectively with grant funders for relationship cultivation
- Submit a grant proposal
- Write a persuasive case statement
- Use a professional code of ethics to guide decisions and conduct
- Why Get a Grant Writing Certification
- Being Confident in Your Grant Writing Skills
- Grant Funding Trends
- Grant Funding Resources and Best Matches for Programs and Projects
- Establishing Initial and Ongoing Relationships with Funders
- Relationship Between Organizational Development and Grant Seeking Readiness
- Proposal Writing Preparation
- Proposal Writing Research, Implementation Strategies, Writing Characteristics, and Incorporating Graphics
- Writing the Boilerplate for the Grant Applicant Organization
- Diving Deep Into Organizational Development Strategies and Funding Needs
- Midterm Exam and Writing Prompt Response
- Stakeholders, Partnerships, and Key Personnel Collaborations and Communications
- Effective Program and Project Design and Development Strategies
- Community Resources, Evaluation Designs, and Cultural Competencies
- Proposal Budgets
- Grant Proposal Submission Processes and Follow-up for Unfunded Submissions
- Funded Grant Requests
- Writing an Effective Case Statement for Fundraising Purposes
- Capstone Assignment: Case Statement
- Deciding to Move Forward with Certification
- Employability Ethics
- Bonus Lesson: Interview Pregame
- This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
- PC: Windows 10 or later.
- Mac: macOS 10.10 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- Microsoft Excel (not included)
- Microsoft Word Online
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:
- Prepare for the GPC Exam: Earn Your Grant Professional Certified Credential
Please note: You will receive a digital book if the physical book is on backorder.
This course is intended for anyone interested in developing their grant writing skills. You will need an internet connection, be familiar with using the internet, have emailing capabilities, and have experience using a word-processing computer program (Microsoft Word is recommended) and a spreadsheet program (such as Microsoft Excel) for the budgeting portion.
It is also aligned with the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) exam offered by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI), which has minimum requirements of education and grant experience based on the level of education obtained. Completion of this course is applicable for 10 GPCI Education points towards acquiring or in maintaining the GPC certification. For information on GPC Exam Eligibility
You've got questions. We're here to help.
Our highly knowledgeable Enrollment Specialists will answer any questions you might have about the course and payment options.
Dr. Beverly A. Browning
Dr. Beverly A. Browning is a grant writing consultant and visionary who uses thought leadership to work with nonprofit organizations struggling with the woes of revenue stream imbalances. She has been researching grant funding, grantmaking trends, and board-related barriers to nonprofit capacity building for over 40 years. Together she and her team have helped her clients win over $750 million in grant awards. Dr. Browning is the founder and director of the Grant Writing Training Foundation and Bev Browning, LLC. She is the author of 44 grant writing publications, including six editions of Grant Writing for Dummies and the 6th edition of Nonprofit Kit for Dummies (to be published in 2021). Dr. Browning holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in organizational development, public administration, and business administration. She is also a Certified Strategic Planning Facilitator (CSPF), has a McNellis Compression Planning Institute Facilitation Training distinction, and is an Approved Trainer for the Grant Professionals Association (GPA), the Certified Fund Raising Executive International (CFRE, and the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI).
Does this course prepare for a certification?
Yes, you will be prepared for the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) exam offered by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI), which has minimum education and grant experience requirements based on the level of education obtained. Completion of this course is applicable for 10 GPCI Education points towards acquiring or in maintaining the GPC certification. For information on GPC Exam Eligibility
When can I start this course?
This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course whenever you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.
Can I register for courses if I am an international student?
Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.
How long does it take to complete this course?
After you register, you will receive 6 months to complete the course. The time allotted for completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours.
What if I don't have enough time to complete the course within the time frame provided?
The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.
What kind of support will I receive?
The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.
What happens when I complete the course?
Upon successfully passing the final exam, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the school or organization that you registered through.
Am I guaranteed a job?
ed2go courses will help you gain the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. However, you should always research the job market in your area before enrolling.
Can I get financial assistance?
ed2go courses are non-credit, so they do not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA, and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards may provide funding to take our courses. Additionally, you may qualify for financial assistance if you meet certain requirements. Learn more about financial assistance.
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Top 15 Grant Writing Courses + Tips from Experts on Getting Funded
Grants are a staple of the nonprofit world—after all, a tight grant proposal gives you the opportunity to bring in serious cash from reputable funders. So if you want to learn the language of grant writing , then investing in grant writing courses is a no-brainer!
Wondering how to find the best grant writing courses?
Check out our handy guide, complete with tips from the experts on how to apply what you learn in your courses! Plus, we’ve got a list of our 15 favorite options—including 4 of the best free online grant writing courses out there.
What is a Grant?
A grant is a financial award that’s given to an individual or organization to help fund a specific goal. Grants can be awarded by the government, a foundation or a private company—and are given with zero expectation for it to be paid back! Often, they’re used to either support operations or fund a specific project.
The first step in grant writing is putting together a grant proposal. This is the document where you introduce the funding body’s jurors to your organization, pitch your project and explain how you’d use the grant to achieve your goals.
While the term “grant writing” is commonly used, it’s actually a bit of a misnomer! The proposal is what you write, and the grant is the award you actually receive.
How You Can Benefit From Grants
Researching granting bodies and writing out proposals might seem like a lot of work, but it’s well worth doing!
Nonprofit grants can help you:
- Start your nonprofit. When you’re just starting a nonprofit , it pays to have some funding behind you. 30% of nonprofits end up shutting down after 10 years—winning grants early can cover those start-up costs, and let you jump into the industry on stable footing.
- Advance your mission. In order to advance your mission, you’re going to need to invest in program and operations costs, membership management software and more. Grants cover the costs of meeting your goals and supporting your beneficiaries.
- Expand your sources of revenue. Having diverse revenue streams keeps your nonprofit running even if you lose members or don’t reach your fundraising goals. Grants bring you one stream closer to financial stability!
- Launch new projects or initiatives. Along with general operating grants, there are TONS of project-specific grants out there for you to explore. With the right grant, you can cover the expenses required to make your newest initiative possible—without dipping into the coffers.
Whether you’re just starting a nonprofit or looking to advance your mission, automation can help you scale up faster. If you’re looking for software to help keep you organized, try a 60-day free trial of WildApricot.
How You Can Benefit From Grant Writing Courses
So now you know why grant writing is helpful—here’s what the best grant writing courses can do for you:
- Learn how to research and find grant opportunities. Knowing where to find relevant and valuable grants is just as important as knowing how to write them!
- Boost your writing skills. If you don’t want to hire a grant writer , grant writing courses can certify you for the job. Not only can you use those skills for your nonprofit—you can also get paid as a grant writer for other organizations.
- Understand what funders look for. A huge part of grant writing is learning the language. A great grant writing course will teach you what will impress funders and bring in that non-dues revenue .
- Write compelling cover letters. There will be lots of applicants going in for the same grant as you! A compelling cover letter is what’ll make you really stand out from the rest.
- Effectively identify problems and strategize solutions. Sometimes the work of grant writing can highlight gaps in your proposal. A course will give you tips on managing those moments and tightening things up without too much fuss.
- Learn how to create SMART goals. Ah, who doesn’t love SMART Goals ? While you might understand the framework, grant writing courses can show you how to apply it. For example, you can learn what content is actually relevant to your grant proposal!
- Create a budget plan and narrative. No matter how great your cover letter is, your budget is what sells how you’ll use the money itself. It’s essential to learn what costs are reasonable, appropriate and relevant to your grant proposal.
- Meet grant deadlines. Deadlines sneak up on all of us! With grant writing courses and a bit of practice, you can learn to manage your time and write proposals without rushing.
How Much Do Grant Writing Courses Cost?
When you’re starting a nonprofit with no money , you want to be sure that every single investment is worth it. Luckily, there are lots of free online grant writing courses that cover the need-to-knows of winning grants.
Paid courses often cost anywhere from $100-$500 dollars, though you can find some in the $20-$50 range here and there. (We’ve got a great list below!)
Grant writing certifications, which build your credibility as a professional grant writer, typically cost closer to $500-$2000 to receive. Is a grant writing certificate worth it? In the United States, the average salary for grant writers is around $50k—so we’d say you can make that investment back pretty quickly!
10 Tips for How to Write Grants—From Real Grant Writers!
If you want to learn how to write grant proposals, the best thing you can do is consult people who’ve won grants!
Here are some words of wisdom from a nonprofit fundraiser, an executive director and a creative writer who won a grant for a solo project:
1. Speak to others who have written grants
Connecting with people who have experience writing and winning grants can give you an idea of if your project is a good fit. They can guide you through the process, set expectations and help you avoid common pitfalls.
Avi Silver, who won a Canada Council for the Arts Council New Creations grant in 2021, says:
“How did I learn to write a grant? I asked! I connected with friends and colleagues who previously received grants (and even worked as jurors in previous years!), and their insight was invaluable. I won a 25k grant on my first try!”
2. Look for examples and guidance
Take Avi’s advice from above and apply it here as well—if you know past grant winners, ask them if you can check out their past proposals. Depending on the type of grant you’re applying for, there are often supports available from the granting bodies themselves.
These organizations want to give people money. It’s not cheating to ask questions that will help your application be stronger!
3. Give yourself plenty of time
Your proposal is going to take a few drafts to get right. Make time for revisions and feedback from others, as well as the space you need to just think things through. With time and practice, grant writing will become easier and feel more formulaic!
Take some advice from this great interview with Stachen Frederick , Executive Director of Frontlines:
“One of the things I tell people is to learn the common elements of a grant. If you have a project idea, put your project idea and your framework under those common elements. When grants come up, it’ll be easy to copy and paste [certain common elements]. I have written a grant in one night because I already know what funders are going to ask.”
4. Read the guidelines & learn about the granting body!
The quickest way to lose a grant is to ignore the guidelines. Make sure you actually qualify for the grant in question, and do some research on if the organization you’re approaching is a good fit with your own nonprofit.
Rebecca Simkin worked as a fundraiser for twenty-six years, successfully winning numerous grants from charitable foundations and governmental programs. Before retiring, she spent thirteen years fundraising for Evergreen Hospice in Markham.
She suggests: “Don’t forget to do your research and make sure that your letter is addressed by name, to someone at the granting organization, preferably the chairperson or secretary.”
5. Focus on your mission, vision and goals
You founded your organization based on a mission and set of values. Let those be the framework of your grant writing. In many ways, writing a grant proposal is similar to turning a supporter into a member!
“ Really show the granting bodies why funding you is worth it! Honing in on the heart of your organization—or in my case,the project—not only reaches the jurors, but it can also keep you focused on what you really want.” – Avi Silver
“Also I’d suggest if you get a rejection, apply again in several successive years. The people reviewing the applications get to know your organization and see that you’re serious.” – Rebecca Simkin
6. Differentiate yourself and tell a compelling story
While writing grants is different from writing fiction, everyone loves a good story. Get the jurors invested in your organization’s story—that’ll inspire them to want to be a part of its happy ending.
“One of the things I would say as well is that people don’t think a lot about how they stand out.
When I think about BrAIDS for AIDS , for example, I could confidently say there’s no organization in the world utilizing hair as a tool for HIV engagement.
So when I have funders ask me why they should give me funding when there are other Black-led organizations doing HIV and AIDS work, we can say we have a totally different demographic because we are focused on people who are into glam—they want to get their hair done and whatnot. And we introduce the HIV, AIDS, and sexual health pieces within that.
So ask yourself: How are you unique? How are you different? That is something that you have to put forward in your value proposition.”
– Stachen Frederick
7. Write clearly, simply and directly
Don’t make things overly complicated! The folks who work for granting bodies are going to read through a lot of applications—getting right to the point will save them time and help them focus.
“I’ve always tried to help others understand that grant writing is a human interaction. Yes, you’re writing a document, but this reaches a person on the other side of the table.
What I do when I teach is ask: if somebody knocked at your door and asked you for $1,000, what questions are you going to ask this person?
Then think of that person—who is on the receiving end of your grant application—as the one asking those questions.”
8. Outline an action plan
Just like a fundraising plan is essential to reaching your goals during a fundraising campaign, an action plan is what proves you can use your grant effectively. This is an opportunity to build some trust!
“I would suggest that some content showing your organization’s track record and some numbers will show you have what it takes to accomplish the program’s aims, as well as showing how your organization’s aims fit and the program fit.” – Rebecca Simkin
9. Create a realistic budget
When you put together your budget, make sure that where the money is going actually makes sense! The thesis of your proposal isn’t “this is a good project”, it’s “this project will benefit from being funded by this specific grant.”
“Some things to consider when doing a budget: It is legitimate to include a portion of your organization’s rental and administrative costs as well as any promotional costs, printing for flyers and such, as well as worker hours. Think of everything you will need to make the program work, even snacks!” – Rebecca Simkin
10. Get feedback
Once you’ve written your grant proposal, connect with those previous winners again. They can help you iron out any last minute kinks—and also build up your confidence!
“I was lucky enough to get feedback from four different friends who had won grants, one of which had won the same grant I was applying for! The feedback they gave me wasn’t on the project itself, but on how the proposal itself was structured and presented. Grant writing really is its own medium, and feedback from those who understand it makes all the difference.” – Avi Silver
11. Proofread and have someone review
Proofread, proofread, proofread—and then send it to someone else to find any last tiny things you’ve missed! Check in with your team or board members for help. Your secretary is used to cleaning up meeting minutes and paying attention to detail, so they might be a great person to approach.
The 15 Best Grant Writing Courses
Now that you know how valuable grant writing courses can be, you might be wondering which ones to choose. There are LOTS of options out there, so we’ve narrowed it down to our 15 favorites.
The 4 best free (online) grant writing courses
If you’re on a budget, taking free grant writing courses will give you the basic information you need without going overboard!
Grant Writing Basics for Beginners: What You Must Know Before You Start Writing Grants
Skillshare is an online learning community based in the United States for people who want to learn from educational videos. Through a paid subscription, all courses are available for free. These courses aren’t accredited, but they help you build the skills you need to try something new!
Teresa Huff’s Skillshare course is 50 minutes long, and designed for people who have never written grants before. She’s a professional grant consultant, and breaks the information down into 10 lessons. And if you like what you learn, she also offers other grant writing webinars!
Instrumentl has a whole library of free grant writing courses, plus regular live webinars! These webinars happen roughly on a weekly basis, and come with time for questions. If you enjoy working with them, you can also check out their grant management software.
Grant Writing and Crowdfunding for Public Libraries – University of Michigan
The University of Michigan lets you audit this free grant writing course for free, with the option to pay $49 for a certificate. It’s self-paced, 4 weeks long and about 2-3 hours per week of work. Public libraries are hugely important to local communities—if that’s your organization, this isn’t an opportunity to pass up!
And if you run a different organization that’s connected to literacy or community space, the audit might still be worth it for you. There’s lots of overlap in grant writing skills, and all information is good information.
Learngrantwriting.org is a website dedicated to—you guessed it!—learning about grant writing. They have multiple courses, coaching opportunities and certifications, but if you’re just getting started, their free 7 step class is a great way to go.
If you find the course valuable and want to learn more, they have a whole book dedicated to becoming a grant writing master.
The 4 best affordable grant writing courses
If you’re looking for affordable online grant writing courses, Udemy has ongoing sales that are worth taking advantage of. Similar to Skillshare, Udemy has 210,000 online video courses about a variety of subjects, plus new additions published every month. Plus, there’s a 30 day money back guarantee.
Four of our favorites are:
Grant Writing Master Class
Stephanie Tanner ’s course is designed specifically for writing grants for nonprofit organizations. It has 9 sessions and 27 lectures, and is just over an hour in length. Plus, it comes with 11 articles to read and 18 downloadable resources!
Finally, you get a certification of completion to show off your credentials.
Price: $40, often 50% off
Basic Grant Proposal Writing for Nonprofits
Ken Goldstein has over 15 years of experience teaching grant writing proposals, and his course has been taken by over 1000 students. It comes with 3 hours of on demand video, assignments to test your knowledge and 15 downloadable resources.
This grant writing class also comes with a certificate of completion.
Price: $90, has been up to 78% off
Advanced Grant Writing: Understanding What A Funder Wants
Professor James Smith Chairs a number of funding panels and is actually responsible for making grant funding decisions! His course is about 3 hours long, with 17 lectures, special assignments and 3 downloadable resources.
Price: $35, often 43% off
Grant Writing: Keys to a Successful Proposal
With nearly 1500 ratings with an average score of 4.4 / 5 stars, Richard Feenstra ’s course is a star on Udemy. It’s a bit over 2 hours long, has 3 downloadable resources and teaches you the skills you need to conduct quality internet research on grants.
Price: $140, has been 83% off
The 3 best grant writing certifications
Is a grant writing certificate worth it? If you’re looking for how to become a grant writer, or simply how to boost your credentials, we’d say yes!
Here are 3 of the best grant writing certifications:
Nonprofit Ready offers a free certificate program that can be used for CFRE Continuing Education Credits. Its courses cover the entire grant cycle, so you can get everything you need in one easy place—without ever spending a penny!
Remember Learngrantwriting.org ? Not only do they have free courses, but they also have paid certificates designed to help you set up a career as a grant writer. These certifications are on the pricier side, but also come with solo and group trainings, writing classes and a whole network of grant writers to access.
It’s advertised as being “cheaper than a graduate degree and infinitely more effective”!
Price: Payment plan of $500/mo. for 12 months OR $6000/year up front
AGWA Certified Grant Writer Series
The American Grant Writers Association has a Certified Grant Writer Series that comes with:
- Program Development and Proposal Writing (PDPW) Online Course
- Certified Grant Writer® Review Online
- Certified Grant Writer® Examination Online
- Annual Individual Membership in American Grant Writers’ Association
The credible association has over 1200 active members, and tons of resources if you’re looking to become a professional grant writer.
Price: $999.00 USD
The 4 best online grant classes
The best grant writing courses are ones that can be taken from the comfort of home!
Our favorites are:
Yup, these folks again! A free program that comes with a legitimate certificate that you can get entirely online is just too good to pass up. All you need is a Nonprofit Ready account, and you’re set to get started.
Introduction to Grant Writing – University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
If you want to take an online college course, the University of Wisconsin has open enrollment for their grant writing class. You don’t have to be a student, but if you are, passing successfully can give you a credit towards your Continuing Education Certificate.
AGWA: Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations for Foundation and Corporate Grants
This online grant writing class from the American Grant Writers’ Association is as thorough as they come. It covers researching grant opportunities, preparing a proposal and Letter of Inquiry (LOI), as well as preparing budgets for Foundation and Corporate Grants for project/program support.
It’s designed for staff, board members, and volunteers at charitable 501c3 Nonprofits Organizations and Private Educational Institutions. Typically, it takes up to 30 days to complete.
Grant Writing & Funding – Grant Writing Master Course
Grant Writing & Funding offers a master course in everything grant writing related! The class is taught by world-renowned grant writing expert, Holly Rustick, who has secured millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations around the world.
It comes with 39 videos, 30 checklists and templates, sample foundation and federal grants, a grant writing certificate and more!
How to Write Grants that Shine
We hope this guide has shown you why grants are such a key part of non-dues revenue ! With the help of the right grant writing courses, you can become the expert your organization needs for your next big project to come to life.
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