Grant Me A Moment To Tell You About Grant Writing!

Thursday, May 28, 2009
Have you ever written a grant proposal? Have you ever worked on a review committee for grants?

If not and it is something you are considering, there are plenty of resources out there, not just to receive funding for your own projects, but also for getting into the grant writing field/discipline.

1) Do some reading up on the process. If you don't wish to invest in buying books in the early, exploratory phase, at least go to a local library and read up on the topic. Some books I have found and added to my bookshelves include:
  • Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases to Present Your Organization, Explain Your Cause, and Get the Funding You Need by Dr. Beverly Browning (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
  • The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets (2nd edition) by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox (Basic Books, 2006)
  • The Complete Book of Grant Writing: Learn to Write Grants Like A Professional by Nancy Burke Smith and E. Gabriel Works (SourceBooks Inc., 2006)
I have not personally used these to write a grant yet, but find them useful and insightful introductions and desktop copy guides to the process. There are plenty of others out there. The main point of step 1 is to get acclimated before diving in as grant writing has its own art and science of writing to master.

2) Volunteer as a grant reviewer. It is a great way to see what it takes to create a good (and a bad) proposal (think about how many of us model our styles off of good pieces of work and writers we admire), and helps in networking into grant-related work. The U.S. government has some agencies which post on professional websites' bulletin boards looking for grant reviewers. Typically, the reviewers need some work experience in a certain discipline (i.e., experience working in higher education) and/or enrollment or completion of a degree. Additionally, non-profit organizations hire grant writers and those people could be willing to let you shadow or talk about the work and experience necessary for entry into grant writing as a profession.

3) Familiarize yourself with the World Wide Web. So many of the calls for grant proposals, so many of the grant applications, and so many of the foundations best known for giving grant money are found online these days. As some of the books mentioned in step 1 discuss, the Internet and the library will be your friend. So bring your creative search engine skills and lists of useful sites from step 1 and see how many grants you can find for the ideas you have, so when it comes time for an interview or for your first grant proposal, you are steps ahead of the game.

This blog post is only a precursor. I open it to any advice from grant writing vets and pros. What advice would you give a budding grant specialist, grant writer, grant reviewer, or graduate student trying to write a grant proposal for thesis/dissertation work?

P.S. In response to my last blog post, thanks readers for the birthday well-wishes. Greatly appreciated :)


Allena said...

The most important thing for freelance writrs to know about grant writing is that (99% of the time) the client cannot pay you from the grant that you "win."

The second most important thing is to avoid non profs that are brand new/newly formed until YOU get some experience. This way at least one of you knows the complicated steps toward grant funding.

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Melanie R. Negrin said...

Those who are interested in building upon written grant writing resources and on-the-job training, and learning more about grant writing from grant writing peers, are invited to join the For GrantWriters Only learning community at Grant writers of all experience levels are welcome to participate. More than 125 grant writers from all over the U.S. and a few international countries are already a part of the community. We'd love for you to be one of them.

You can also follow the learning blog at

Best Regards,
Melanie R. Negrin

Anonymous said...

1) Do some reading up on the process.

If you're looking for reading on the topic, you might also find Grant Writing Confidential useful. For example, this post explains the questions grant writers need to consider, this one explains how to write needs assessments, and this one explains grant processes.

Hope that helps.

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