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How to Learn Grant Writing

by Shane Hall, Demand Media

    There are a lot of reasons to learn grant writing. Every year, the federal and state governments give millions in grants to all types of organizations—schools, health centers, arts and humanities groups, environmental groups, programs that serve the poor or disabled, and many others. Private foundations and other philanthropic organizations also distribute grant funds. Competition for grants is fierce. Strong grant-writing skills can make an application stand out from the rest and improve an organization’s chances of securing funding.

    Step 1

    Read a good book on the subject from your local library or bookstore. Like any specialized skill, grant writing has its own vocabulary. Reading a good introduction to grant writing will give you a foundation for future study.

    Step 2

    Take a class on grant writing. Many community colleges and universities offer classes in grant writing. Some may have single courses, while others may have a sequence of classes on the subject.

    Step 3

    Attend grant-writing workshops offered by community colleges, speakers, consultants and organizations. These seminars can last from one to three days. Check your newspaper or the Internet to see if there is a grant writing workshop in your area and how to register. Finally, there are many online and distance-learning courses through which it is possible to learn grant writing.

    Step 4

    The best way to learn to write well—grants or anything else—is to write. Volunteer at a local non-profit organization and tell the group’s director that youwould like to be part of a grants committee. This will give you the chance to learn from experienced grant writers.

    Step 5

    Network and look for opportunities. Become a member of a grants-related organization, such as the American Association of Grant Professionals. Identify potential organizations in your area where you can apply your grant-writing skills. Many grant writers started out as volunteers to learn the process and gain experience.

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    Tips

    • To be a grant writer, you first need to be able to write well. Creative writing courses can help in this area.
    • Good research skills are an integral part of the grant-writing process. Community college courses may provide assistance at this, as well.

    Warning

    • If you take an online course or workshop, check out the credentials of the instructor or presenter to ensure the person is reputable.

    About the Author

    Shane Hall is a writer and research analyst with more than 20 years of experience. His work has appeared in "Brookings Papers on Education Policy," "Population and Development" and various Texas newspapers. Hall has a Doctor of Philosophy in political economy and is a former college instructor of economics and political science.