Online Class: How to Write a Grant Proposal

Learn how to write grants that will get funded in our online course.

no certificate
- OR -
with CEU Certificate*
Start Right Now!
$120.00 (with CEU Certificate)
Taking multiple courses? Save with our platinum program.
  • 16
  • 29
    Exams &
  • 5,274
    have taken this course
  • 9
    average time
  • 0.9

Course Description

Grant Writing: The Art of Securing Funding

Connecting Funding Seekers with Grant Providers

Every day, a vast number of organizations and individuals look for funding opportunities, while others are in search of promising projects to fund. This includes entities ranging from individuals, foundations, and corporations to governmental bodies. With so many potential matches to be made, there's a growing demand for skilled individuals who can bridge the gap between those who need funds and those who can provide them. This is where the art of grant writing and match-making becomes invaluable.

However, to effectively navigate this landscape, one must first grasp the nuances and intricacies of the grant application process. This entails more than just writing – it demands a deep understanding of the motivations, objectives, and requirements of both the seekers and providers of grants.

Decoding the Title: Grant Writer

Though commonly used, the title "grant writer" is somewhat of a misnomer. No one truly "writes grants." Instead, individuals draft grant proposals, formal written requests for financial support. On the flip side, the entities that provide the funding draft the grant agreements and disburse the funds.

Despite this technical distinction, the term "grant writer" has become a universally accepted descriptor for individuals who specialize in crafting compelling proposals. Beyond writing, a grant writer plays a pivotal role in understanding the philanthropic ecosystem, researching grant opportunities, selecting appropriate grants to pursue, and devising innovative solutions to problems.

Unpacking Grant Proposals

A grant proposal is essentially a structured appeal to potential funders, articulating why a particular project or initiative deserves financial support. These proposals typically encompass a narrative, requisite forms, and supplementary documents to bolster the case being made.

While grants are often directed towards nonprofit organizations, recognized as 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service, individuals can also be recipients, albeit indirectly. In such cases, individuals must route their funding needs through nonprofit entities, which then secure the necessary funds via grants.

Furthermore, the world of grant writing extends beyond just grants. It also encapsulates contract bids and cooperative agreements, all of which follow similar guidelines and principles.

Mastering the Language of Grants

Just as every profession has its jargon, so does grant writing. Fluency in this specialized language, colloquially referred to as "Grant-ese", is indispensable. Misunderstandings or misuse of terms can not only lead to confusion but also jeopardize the chances of a proposal being accepted.

To ensure our students are well-equipped, our course materials will include a comprehensive glossary and references to deepen their understanding. Mastery over this language, presented with clarity and confidence, can make the difference between a proposal's acceptance or rejection.

Identifying Potential Grant Seekers

While "grant seekers" typically refers to entities seeking funding, it's crucial to note that the term also encompasses those looking to allocate funds. Such benefactors might be striving to elevate their community presence, enjoy tax advantages, or fulfill other objectives.

Grant writers can find employment opportunities across a diverse spectrum – schools, hospitals, emergency services, religious institutions, universities, museums, and arts organizations, to name a few. All these entities continuously scout for proficient grant writers to boost their funding capabilities.

Your Target Audience

The vast majority of grant writers cater to the nonprofit sector. This market includes:

  • Social service organizations
  • Educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities
  • Health care entities like clinics and hospitals
  • Local governmental units
  • Emergency services like fire and police departments
  • Cultural organizations including arts groups and public media outlets

Essential Skills for Success

To excel in grant writing, one needs more than just linguistic prowess. Empathy for the recipients, punctuality, meticulous attention to detail, and analytical skills are paramount. It's essential to empathize with reviewers, respect timelines, and scrutinize instructions and questions meticulously.

Navigating the Granting Process

The quest for grant funding typically follows one of two routes: aligning a project with a funder's guidelines or responding directly to a Request for Proposal (RFP). Regardless of the approach, adherence to instructions and guidelines is critical.

A Glimpse into History

Historically, the U.S. has been lauded for its philanthropic spirit, a legacy dating back to Native Americans and early settlers. The federal government formalized this spirit in 1913, using income tax to fund projects nationwide. Today, governmental agencies play an active role in identifying projects worthy of public support, primarily via the RFP process.

Course Overview

Our course, segmented into 16 meticulously crafted lessons, offers a comprehensive dive into the world of grant writing. From understanding basics, discerning what makes a successful proposal, to mastering the submission process and reporting successes, we cover every facet of this dynamic field.

Join us on this journey and harness the power of grant writing, an art form that holds the potential to bring dreams to life.

Course Motivation

Putting You on the Right Path to Reap the Benefits
There are literally hundreds of thousands of organizations looking for funding and others looking for good projects to fund, whether those projects belong to individuals, foundations, organizations, or governments. Grant and contracting announcements are released every day.

Matchmakers are needed to bring together both sides; i.e., the seekers and granters.

That is where you could come in! Particularly as there are not nearly that many good grant writers or matchmakers that can bring them together.

Before you can strike gold, however, you need to mine the basics of the process, whether you are producing grant applications, which are formal written requests for money, usually from a government agency or a corporation; or responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) or requests for qualifications (RFQs), the more free-flowing, informal grant appeals.
What or Who Is a Grant Writer?

The short answer is no one! The terms "grant writing" or "grant writer" are misnomers, as no one actually writes grants at all. 

People write grant proposals when they are seeking money from people or organizations. Those same people, foundations, or organizations receiving the proposals in turn write the agreements and checks to cover the amount the grant is for. That is when the actual writing comes in.

The grant writer label is widely recognized to describe the actual process of proposal writing, as well as depict the way people visualize the job. So, rather than split hairs, let us agree to accept the label of grant writer as such.

If you are to be successful in this field, you need to be aware that a grant writer does much more than simply write proposals seeking funding. He or she must be fully familiar with the philanthropic philosophy of the community served, including understanding how to search for the wide variety of grants available and how to conduct the correct selection process. In addition, he or she must be an imaginative problem-solver.
What Is a Grant Proposal?

Grant proposals are requests submitted to individuals, foundations, or the government for funding. They include a narrative, forms, and usually attachments to support the request. It is a responsibility of the grant writer to develop and compile all the necessary documentation for submission and to do so creatively.

Grants are gifts made by those individuals, foundations, or governments, and most often they are made to nonprofit organizations; i.e., those organizations designated 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service.

In this course, we deal also with the "cousins" of grants, which are contract bids (RFP responses) and cooperative agreements; all we have to say throughout applies equally to all facets of the process. So let us consider that grant writing applies across the board to all similar types of activity for ease of explanation.
It should be noted that foundations actually are prohibited from making grants to individuals. Therefore, if an individual desires funding, he or she needs to seek the services desired through a nonprofit organization, which in turn seeks the funding through grants.

The Language You Need to Know 

It is crucial that you can speak and understand the language of "Grant-ese." It is not as difficult as learning to speak Chinese, German, or French; but you need to appreciate how important it is that you are proficient in the language of grants if you are to be successful in this field.

Using either incorrect or confusing lingo, especially for high-level support requests, not only leads to frustration, confusion, and delays in getting a decision but usually, more often than not, to rejection. That is something you definitely do not want to encourage!

Rather than go into a long list of words and their meanings here, we will provide a glossary as an addendum to these lessons, as well as a list of some great referral material. It is important to stress, however, the necessity of not only speaking the language but doing so in such a manner that you inspire confidence in both clients and grant makers.

Learning the words and practicing them will greatly assist you when you are placing your ideas down on paper and organizing your thoughts together in a winning fashion. 
Establishing Your Grant Seekers: Who Are They?

The term "grant seekers" denotes not only those individuals or organizations seeking funds but also those organizations, corporations, and individuals looking for funds to give, sometimes to lift their profile in the community, sometimes for a tax benefit, or for a number of other reasons.

You could end up working for a school, hospital, police or fire department, charitable or religious institution, college or university, or even a museum or an artistic organization, such as a symphony orchestra or ballet company. Rest assured they are all always on the lookout for competent grant writers--that is, someone who can get them more money.
Your Market

We have covered some of those organizations that would make up your market, but keep in mind that the primary market of a grant writer is the nonprofit sector. Just some of the diverse categories are as follows:

  • Social service groups of all kinds
  • All schools
  • Clinics and hospitals
  • Some government units
  • Fire and police departments
  • Universities
  • Colleges
  • All arts and culture organizations
  • The wide range of public media groups
Essential Skills

There are several crucial skills you absolutely need to be a successful grant writer. You not only need to do them efficiently but consistently and without fail.

To start with, you need to have empathy for the persons who will be reading your grant proposals. In other words, you need to appreciate what they need to know and how to clearly explain it to them. Treat their time and your own with respect.

Next, never miss a deadline. Keep in mind that sometimes, even if a grant proposal arrives as little as an hour or two late, it may miss being reviewed. Yes, it can be tough!

Third, and although it may seem obvious, read and follow the instructions.

Finally, become a good test-taker; that is, be someone who not only reads the questions clearly but analyzes them for clues to the best possible answer. In other words, go right to the core of the questions.
The Processes

You will soon realize that there are just two ways to approach the seeking of grant funding: (1) you search for matches between organization/foundation guidelines and your client organization's mission, and (2) you respond to a RFP (request for proposal).

It does not matter whether you are writing with regard to an actual RFP or to guidelines, the grant proposal instructions must be followed carefully and precisely. 

TIPYou must use the language and approach set out by your addressees.

Be aware that changes to the intent of funding have been taking place. Whereas at one time funding was available mainly for capital projects, such as construction, renovation, etc., and original staffing costs and items necessary for special project implementation, grants rarely covered operational costs, such as utilities and ongoing staffing expenses. 

Operating grants are now becoming increasingly common as organizations are wishing to ensure the continuance of successful programs, particularly those that have been deemed necessary to an organization and the community.

The kinds of projects that almost always get funded are those that appear headed for certain success.
A Little History

Many view the United States as the most philanthropic nation in the world, and that is probably correct. Americans have every reason to be proud of their long-standing tradition of caring for those less fortunate and of sharing their blessings with others.

These traditions date back to Native Americans and early religious leaders in particular, who both shared their bounty of harvests and knowledge with others through the centuries.

In 1913, the federal government established the income tax program through which it collected money for redistribution throughout the United States, wherever it was most needed and useful. Today the government plays a very active role in determining the types of projects that need and receive public support.

The grant-seeking process commences when the government agencies involved issue RFPs for this purpose.
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(3,076 votes)

Lesson 1: Know Your Grant Basics

Grant proposals are requests submitted to individuals, foundations, or the government for funding. Additional lesson topics: CAF World Giving Index 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Grant Writing Experience; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment: Why Grant Writing?
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2: Projects and Proposals that Will Be Successful and Why

Successful grant writers pull together all data, the evidence supporting their case, to paint the picture they wish the grant funders to see. By doing so, they set the stage for their proposed project clearly and precisely. 16 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment: Defining Success
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3: Grant Writing Could Be the Answer

The truth of the matter is that many of us have far more extensive experience in preparing grant proposals than we give ourselves credit for. Have you ever asked anyone for anything in writing, particularly money? 19 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Grant Writing Success
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment: What Makes a Good Grant Writer?
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4: Where Is the Money?

The classic foundation you will most often encounter during your work as a grant writer is one that was set up many years previously by a single individual, which legally makes it a private foundation. 24 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment: Funding Your Organization
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5: Trends and Facts

There are always facts you really should know but unfortunately do not. Even so, you can easily keep abreast of trends, and in this regard your best friend is without doubt the Internet. 18 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment: Identifying Trends
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6: Key and Working Components of Great Grant Proposals

This lesson will certainly help to make things clearer. It's all about looking at some of the bigger pieces of the grant puzzle, polishing them up, and putting them in place. 19 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment: The Mission Statement
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7: Action Plans and Their Timelines

Your action plan is the comprehensive diagram contained in your grant proposal and plays a large part in achieving your goal of a grant. 17 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment: Writing an Action Plan
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8: Designing, Establishing, and Utilizing an Appropriate Evaluation Plan

Proper evaluation plans are tightly integrated into the grant proposal and connect project objectives and goals to their relevant evaluation. They are usually one of the last parts of the grant proposal narrative. 18 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment: Program Evaluation
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9: Preparing to Write

The very first rule of any kind of writing is to know and understand your audience. 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10: Words for the Wise

'Words for the wise' as opposed to 'Words to the wise' relate to those extra words, phrases, techniques, and ideas cropping up that you realize can assist you in being a winning grant writer. 14 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11: Reviewing Your Work in a Way That Underscores the Strengths and Reduces the Weaknesses

A great strength is to see your weaknesses and work with them, acknowledge them, even highlight them at the right time, while at the same time showing how you are going to accommodate and allow for them, or alternatively how you intend to eliminate them! 17 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment: Develop a Timeline
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12: Budgets

Your budget must support and be tailored to your project's objectives and goals. 17 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment: Creating a Budget
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13: Your Packaging Is Crucial; 'Gift-Wrap' Your Proposal Accordingly

Whether we agree with the concept of not, packaging and presentation is nearly always crucial. 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 Exam

Lesson 14: Negotiating

There are plenty of helping hands for you out there; many offline and online sources are a fantastic help with not only finding grants but in the actual writing process. 14 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 14 Exam

Lesson 15: Miscellaneous Proposal Applications

By far, the majority of grant proposals you will submit will be in the usual way. However, you need to be flexible; i.e., you need to at least be aware of the other types and methods of submission. 14 Total Points
  • Lesson 15 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment: Format Preference
  • Assessment: Lesson 15 Exam

Lesson 16: The Triumphs of Successful Reporting

The demand for accountability of and easy access to information on grants programs has increased tremendously over the past few years, so there certainly needs to be a change in attitude with relation to the standard of reporting regarding grant results. 90 Total Points
  • Lesson 16 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Do You Feel Prepared?; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: The Final Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 16 Exam
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define grant proposal and describe the basic purpose of writing one.
  • Summarize which projects and proposals will be funded and why.
  • Summarize the best places to find money for grant projects.
  • Summarize the key working components of a grant proposal.
  • Describe what action plans are, why they are important, and how to establish their timelines.
  • Design, establish and utilize an appropriate evaluation plan.
  • Demonstrate how to write an appropriate budget for a grant proposal.
  • Create a cover letter and complete the application.
  • Summarize the types of reporting required when landing a grant.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: How to Write a Grant Proposal
Course Number: 7550155
Lessons Rating: 4.4 / 5 Stars (3,076 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: October 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.9 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

Choose Your Subscription Plan

Course Only
One Course
No Certificate / No CEUs
for 6 months
Billed once
This course only
Includes certificate X
Includes CEUs X
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 6 months
No. of courses 1 course
Certificate Course
One Course
Certificate & CEUs
for 6 months
Billed once
This course only
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 6 months
No. of courses 1 course
Platinum Yearly
Certificates & CEUs
per year
Billed once
Includes all 600+ courses
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 12 Months
No. of courses 600+
Platinum 2 Years
Certificates & CEUs
for 2 years
You save $79.00!
Billed once
Includes all 600+ courses
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 24 Months
No. of courses 600+

Student Testimonials

  • "The course was very helpful and somewhat difficult for me. I learned grant writing is not as simple as I thought it was, you have to be very detailed and collect a lot of data and do a lot of research. But the funny thing is I am still interested in doing grant writing. I am now well-prepared to start grant writing and I feel it is a necessity in our society today. Thank you." -- Lynda W.
  • "I found this class to be the most challenging in Universal Class from the nine courses I have taken. Challenging in a good way and you have to demonstrate resilience to complete the course. ." -- Kelly D.
  • "Great course! I don't think there is much I would change!" -- Jorge A.
  • "Thank you very much for your time, and I learned a lot about the grant writing process." -- Christine B.
  • "Great course and instructor. Look forward to taking more courses." -- Ellen K.
  • "The instructor was awesome." -- James B.
  • "All went very well. Thank you!" -- Veaceslav P.
  • "The material and the links were great and very informative. The assignments were well designed and really helped me to learn as I worked on them." -- Nicole G.
  • "I found it all very useful. I have not written a grant before, and I knew it was time consuming, but this course taught me I will really have to manage my time greatly. I think that one of the parts I liked was the resources that I did not have previously, I had now. " -- Peg J.
  • "I enjoyed the course and had a wonderful instructor." -- Faith R.
View More Testimonials...

Related Courses