Grant Writing for ProfessionalsThis introductory course to grant writing will examine the complexities of the grant world and introduce you to the main components of writing a grant. Encompassing the varying levels of grant opportunities applicable to nonprofits, for profits, municipalities, and everything in between, this course will build competency in how to utilize grants to further your organization's goals. From formulating your project to learning the steps of creating a strong proposal for funding, this course will build confidence and skill in successfully writing grant applications. This class is accepted by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute and is applicable for 40 Education Points towards acquiring the GPC (Grant Professional Certified) or maintaining GPC certification.
Course Curriculum & StructureAustin Peay State University Grant Writing for Professionals Instructor: Lorri Norris
This introductory course to grant writing will examine the complexities of the grant world and introduce you to the main components of writing a grant. Encompassing the varying levels of grant opportunities applicable to nonprofits, for profits, municipalities, and everything in between, this course will build competency in how to utilize grants to further your organization’s goals. From formulating your project and needs, to learning the steps of creating a strong proposal for funding, this course will build confidence and skill in successfully writing grant applications.
This class is accepted by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute® and is applicable for 40 Education Points towards acquiring the GPC (Grant Professional Certified) or maintaining GPC certification.
Lesson 1: Introduction
In this first session, we will make introductions, learn about participants’ backgrounds and their level of experience with grants, and assess the needs of the class. We will have a Q & A session, discussing some of the common roadblocks to getting started, past experiences both positive and negative, and what you expect to gain from this class.
Lesson 2: Grant Writing Basics
This lesson will explore the basics of grants – why we seek them, how they can (and cannot) be utilized, what types of organizations can apply (grants aren’t just for nonprofits!), and concepts to take into consideration before getting started. We will go over grant writing ethics and maintaining honesty in your work.
Lesson 3: Types of Grants and Funds
Did you know there are various levels of funding sources? There are also different types. Each one has its own characteristics with associated pros and cons. You will learn to spot the differences and discover which will work for you. We will discuss eligibility and how to quickly prioritize opportunities by creating a Funding Finder Profile.
Lesson 4: Researching Opportunities – “The Discovery Phase”
Performing grant research can be incredibly time consuming. This lesson will explain how to get started, introduce a variety of resources to find grants, and show you how to build a Strategic Grant Pipeline to help keep your eye on the goal. You will learn what information to gather in your search to ensure you select the best possible funding matches.
Lesson 5: Understanding Grant Guidelines
You’ve identified your first potential funding opportunity. Now what? It could be argued that the most work behind a grant application is the time it takes to get prepared. In this lesson, you will learn how to dissect a Request For Proposals (RFP), Notice Of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), or grant guidelines document. You will learn helpful tools and tricks to set you up for success.
Lesson 6: Skills Practice – Understanding Grant Guidelines
The class will work together to evaluate examples of grant guidelines of varying levels of complexity, identifying concepts we have learned so far and gathering key information to prepare a proposal for funding.
Lesson 7: Preparing To Apply
Preparing to apply can be daunting. You will learn about the steps leading up to initiating an application and how to organize yourself for the best possible outcome. We will also go over expectations and chronology of the grant writing process. There are often other documents and resources to help you along the way -let’s make sure you know where to look and what to look for! (FAQs, previously awarded projects, annual report, webinars, etc.)
Lesson 8: What makes a good project?
What makes a project worthy of grant funding? Do you have all of your “ducks in a row”? This lesson will review necessary project elements. Many organizations know they could benefit from grant funding but struggle with developing a strategic plan for allocating funds. This lesson will outline the key planning components used to align project objectives with funding requirements. Funders want to know their money will be used smartly!
Lesson 9: Putting Together a Strong Proposal - Overview
Continuing on last week’s theme of preparing to apply, we will go over common grant application components, including the following: executive summary, proposal/narrative, need statement, measurable objectives, deliverables, outcome, timeline, budget, support letters/MOUs/collaborations/partnerships, and documentation.
Lesson 10: Putting Together a Strong Proposal – How To
We will transition into learning how to write the many components of a grant application – from describing your organization’s history, mission, and goals to writing a compelling need statement that aligns with the funder’s priorities and demonstrates capacity and sustainability.
Lesson 11: Building a Persuasive Proposal
Like many industries, there are tricks to the trade in crafting a persuasive and engaging grant proposal. You will learn specific methods of piquing the funder’s interest including speaking their language, avoiding industry jargon, keeping your audience in mind, demonstrating community need, and reflecting the funder’s own priorities and goals within your proposal. We will also discuss common pitfalls.
Lesson 12: Documentation
The list of required documents can be lengthy. In this lesson, we will discuss the variety of required documents, what they are, and why the funding agency often requests them.
Lesson 13: Building a Budget
A strong proposal is best leveraged when accompanied by a thorough and reasonable project budget. We will walk through the various scenarios driving funding requests and how to tailor your project budget accordingly while addressing a grant program’s match requirements, acceptance of in-kind services, funding restrictions, and allowable costs.
Lesson 14: Skills Practice – Putting Together a Strong Proposal
As a class, we will practice what we have learned so far in building a strong proposal. Skills practice will build your confidence in real-world grant writing! We will identify a source of funding and complete an outline of our proposal based off our lessons from Week 5 and Week 6
Lesson 15: Skills Practice – Building a Budget
As a class, we will work through a sample budget template. We will discuss how to request grant money to cover personnel, salaries, and fringe benefits, hire temporary staff, and purchase supplies or equipment. Other costs may be relevant to a proposal as well, such as training and transportation. This lesson will include an overview of capital costs versus programming, and more.
Lesson 16: Support Letters and Scope of Influence
Do you know the difference between a standalone proposal and one that really stands out? Don’t leave influence on the table. A really great grant application demonstrates buy-in from the community and public support. In this lesson, you will learn how to bolster your efforts for funding utilizing support letters, partnerships, and your professional network.
Lesson 17: Grantmaking Decisions
This lesson goes over the remaining steps to submitting a grant application and the notice of award. What happens after you apply? What steps can you take to ensure future probability if your first application is declined? How can you turn a ‘no’ into a future ‘yes’? In lesson 17, we will examine the process and next steps for you, as the lead applicant. We will discuss how vital it is to diversify the types and sources of funding for your organization. Also, don’t forget that thank you letter!
Lesson 18: Feedback and Final Reporting
Now that you have received funding support, learn how to be an excellent “grantee”. Your due diligence will help ensure you receive future support and acknowledgement while proving your credibility and worthiness to funders. Remember, it is important to cultivate long term relationships! Doing what you say you will do (and communicating such) is proof to funders that you are reliable and capable of being fiscally responsible.
Lesson 19: Networking, Communication, and Building Relationships with Funders
Grants should not be seen as a one-trick pony, but rather the foundation or result of bonified relationship-building. How can you be resourceful, leveraging your network and local community to garner grant funding? This lesson includes tips on how to work with what is available to you in order to encourage long term support and continued interest.
Lesson 20: Class Review
In this last week, we will have the opportunity to do an in-depth review of the course content and revisit subject matter per participant request.
- Understand how to plan and prepare for the grant application process by thoroughly identifying and outlining a project or program
- Research opportunities for potential grant funding and identify good matches for projects relevant to the participant’s personal or professional goals
- Understand the elements of a grant proposal
- Communicate effectively with grant funding agencies and foundations
- Critically analyze grant proposals
- Create a professional, competitive grant proposal
- Confidently manage grant funds and properly report results (grant closeout)