The 5 Best Grant Writing Courses
Writing grants requires lots of patience, dedication, and research. The best grant writing courses on this list will help you get started.
Best for Beginners
Becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or a pilot by profession is the traditional method of earning a large salary. However, nowadays, that idea is changing quickly. Many people now take a different route instead of putting the hours in for an employer. Freelancing is taking over the economy, and those able to utilize it will be the ones to succeed in this new digital economy. Grant writing, the topic of the day, is one of the least-known, but at the same time most lucrative forms of freelancing. At least that is the case for the top-tier writers. There is no room for mediocrity in grant writing – only those who master it will thrive. That is why choosing the best grant writing course with the utmost care is crucial.
So, what exactly is grant writing?
Grant writing is the practice of completing an application process for a financial grant provided for an institution such as a non-profit organization, school, corporation, or government department. Grants help organizations secure funding, which is why professionally certified and track-proven grant writers are highly sought after.
Grant writing is not an easy process, as it requires a wide range of skills to become successful. Lots of research, planning, and document gathering is crucial to the process, and none of the basic steps can ever be neglected. It’s the case even for grant writers with dozens of years of experience behind their backs. High-quality grant writing requires patience and dedication, but it’s a highly rewarding career choice if done right.
We analysed and ranked the top grant writing programs online in order to shed some light on the various options out there for learning grant writing online.
These are the best grant writing courses:
Coursera: Grant Proposal
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Skillshare: Grant Writing Basics for Beginners
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Udemy: Grant Writing for Nonprofits and Freelance Writers
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A to Z grant Writing
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Udemy: Grant Writing - Keys to a Successful Proposal
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Best Overall Grant Writing Course
1. Coursera: Grant Proposal
This is a comprehensive course that teaches the whole grant writing process from start to finish, filled with helpful quizzes and extra reading materials.
Course instructor: This course is instructed by Elena Bazanova from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and Varvara Soseodova, a Philology PhD from the Moscow State University of International Relations.
Who it’s for: This grant writing course was designed for students with basic prior knowledge of grant writing. However, as the syllabus covers both fundamental and advanced topics, it could also be beneficial to absolute beginners. Beginners should take extra attention to mastering the fundamentals, though, before proceeding deeper into the course syllabus.
What you’ll learn: Coursera’s “Grant Proposal” course is the most comprehensive grant writing course out of all those we analysed for this review. With a total of 21 hours of material spread across 4 modules, students who take this course will learn a vast quantity of topics related to the grant writing process.
In the first module of the course, course takers are taught how to research organizations, potential funders, and how to formulate the necessary research. The second module focuses on the tools which help make the grant writing process more efficient. Additionally, this course module covers project cost analysis and data visualization methods. The third and fourth course models start going deeper into the actual grant writing process. Writing a persuasive narrative, proper heading structure, and writing legibly are just some of the topics covered in these modules.
All the course modules contain extra reading materials and quizzes, which help cement the acquired knowledge even further.
Verdict: Without a doubt, this is the most comprehensive grant writing course currently out there. Not only does it far surpass the alternative courses in terms of course length, but it also covers many important topics which others failed to. While some of the material covered in this course may be difficult to follow for total beginners, it’s still a fantastic resource for any potential grant writer. The best grant writing course for advanced students and experts. Perhaps even for beginners.
Best for Beginners
2. Skillshare: Grant Writing Basics for Beginners
This is the first grant writing course you should consider as a complete beginner, as it covers all the background work before you are able to start putting together an actual grant writing proposal.
Course instructor: Teresa Huff, a professional grant writer since 2005, is the instructor of this course. She has secured grants worth millions of dollars during her career and she has a Master’s degree in Education.
Who it’s for: This course is most fitting for complete beginners, as it focuses on a lot of basic topics. There is no prerequisite knowledge required for taking this course. It’s also an especially valuable course for those who are interested in grant writing for schools and non-profits specifically, as these types of grants are covered most in-depth.
What you’ll learn: Theresa’s course mostly covers the preplanning, project development and grant seeking processes, rather than the act of grant writing itself. It starts off with the fundamentals of grant writing which help you get started. Afterwards, the course starts deeper into topics such as grant seeking, typical grant structures, grant development, and the post-award steps.
Verdict: The course material covered here is highly valuable for anyone seeking to start a career in grant writing. In grant writing, the processes which happen before the writing starts to take place are just as, if not even more important as the writing process itself, which is why I can highly recommend this grant writing course as one of the best there is. However, as it does not contain sections on the writing process itself, I would recommend you check out Theresa’s other courses from the series in order to cover the whole nine yards of grant writing. Or, you could combine this course with the beforementioned Coursera course – they compliment each other rather harmoniously.
3. Udemy: Grant Writing for Nonprofits and Freelance Writers
This is a short but informative grant writing course instructed by an expert on the topic.
Course Instructor: Tim Whitney, who has over 25 experience in grant writing and numerous other fields, is the instructor and creator of this online grant writing course.
Who it’s for: As its’ name suggests, this course is ideal both for workers in non-profit organizations, and freelancers interested in grant writing. No prior experience in grant writing is necessary for taking this course, which makes it another good pick for beginners.
What you’ll learn: Despite the relatively short length of this course, it manages to cover all the key topics of grant writing, such as:
- Identifying potential governmental and private funders
- Understanding funders wishes and budgets
- Drafting and writing proposal boilerplate grant writing language
The course material is largely focused on the funders and becoming aligned with their goals, which makes sense considering that they are the true target audience for grant proposals. The funder should always be on your mind as a grant writer, and this course teaches this principle very well.
Verdict: The creator of this course has dozens of years of experience behind his back, and this fact shows itself throughout the course. His articulation is fantastic, he is good at conveying his ideas, and his knowledge is highly beneficial for any grant writer. While the course would benefit from more material, it’s still a fantastic tool to have in any grant writer’s arsenal. Overall, it’s another one of the very best grant writing courses out there, but I had to give the top spot to Coursera’s “Grant Proposal” course due to its’ considerably larger course syllabus.
4. A to Z grant Writing
This is one of the oldest grant writing courses on the Internet. It has certainly stood the test of time, but it could use some refreshing.
Course Instructor: Linda Vallejo, a development consultant and grant writing instructor with over 40 years of experience teaching grant writing, is the instructor of this online grant writing course.
Who it’s for: As this course covers the entire grant writing process from beginning to end, it’s suitable for all experience levels.
What you’ll learn: This grant writing course teaches students various topics on grant writing. Implementing grant writing campaigns, diversification, organizing grant writing teams and finding collaborators are just some of the topics taught throughout the course. The course syllabus lasts 6 weeks, with a total of 12 lessons planned.
Verdict: “A to Z Grant writing” is an informative course that will teach you the necessary skills and tools in the field of grant writing. The instructor has over 40 years of experience as a professional grant writer, and she knows well how to explain her ideas in understandable ways. The course and website would definitely benefit from a redesign, though, as basic information about the course is rather difficult to find.
5. Udemy: Grant Writing - Keys to a Successful Proposal
This is a 2-hour grant writing course aimed at beginners.
Course Instructor: Richard Feenstra, an educational psychologist, is the creator of this course.
Who it’s for: This course has no prerequisites and it’s aimed at beginners without any prior experience in writing grant proposals.
What you’ll learn: This grant writing course is split into three main sections: grant writing basics, writing a grant proposal, and funding searching. The aim is to introduce the very basic concepts of grant writing to people working in organizations who would otherwise have to hire a professional.
Verdict: I’m not fully convinced that this 2-hour course will be enough to write a well-built and persuasive grant proposal. The lectures are also overly focused on slideshows, and it’s easy to lose focus as a result. The instructor does, however, have great articulation and he is good at getting his points across. Overall, it’s certainly a good grant writing course, but I would not rank it amongst the very best.