The Best Grant Writing Courses in 2022
When it comes to grant writing, you may be a good writer, or even a great writer, but everyone can improve their skills at any time in their career. That’s why we’ve developed our go-to list of the best grant writing courses available in 2022.
We’ve broken down our list into three class categories: classes for beginners, classes for advanced grant writers, and classes for learning how to tackle proposals to the federal government for funding. Let’s dig in.
What is a Grant Writing Course?
A grant writing course is a class you can take to learn how to become a better writer of winning grant proposals.
Many people with degrees in journalism, English, or marketing communications find themselves becoming grant writers. Others are introduced to the field by other work with nonprofit organizations.
However, grant writing requires more than just knowing how to write. There are certain concepts specific to grants that are necessary to understand–it’s much more than simply following a template. For instance, are you familiar with:
- Logic models?
- SMART objectives?
- Outputs vs. outcomes?
- Weaving high-value data into your need or problem statement?
- Telling a story that demonstrates the human impact your organization is making?
If not, the appropriate grant writing course is a great place to get up to speed and otherwise fine-tune your existing skills, whether you’re a newbie to the grants world or a seasoned veteran.
How Can You Benefit from a Grant Writing Course?
There are so many ways a grant writing course can benefit you (and your organization or your clients!) Here’s a list of things you can learn:
- How to research the best grant opportunities
- How to enhance your ability to write the most effective proposal possible
- How to understand what funders look for in terms of scope, project management and anything financial
- How to improve your skills in data collection and use that data to bolster your goals and objectives
- How to write more compelling cover letters
- How to create effective executive summaries
- How to deliver effective problem statements and explain how your project is a solid solution
- How to propose an evaluation strategy
- How to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) objectives
- How to create and when to use a logic model
- How to write an understandable budget narrative
- How to manage each grant efficiently and on a deadline
As our upcoming list will show, there are dozens of different grant writing courses that can help you hone various skills and improve your grant writing abilities.
How Much Do Grant Writing Classes Typically Cost (Online vs. In-Person)?
The cost of grant writing classes varies, whether offered online or in-person.
On the low end, it’s possible to find free grant writing classes and webinars. Other grant writing classes can sometimes be as inexpensive as $15-$20 on places like Udemy and generally provide helpful insight and resources.
The most involved and highest-end classes, such as an online course from places like the Lilly School of Philanthropy at IUPUI or the University of Notre Dame, could cost you upwards of a few thousand in total.
How We Evaluated the Best Grant Writing Courses
To create this comprehensive list of the best grant writing courses, we used five evaluation criteria: price, reputation of the instructor, content, accessibility, and whether taking the course results in continuing education credit.
Not everyone has an employer that can pay for part or all of a grant writing course. Many smaller nonprofits have super-tight budgets, and self-employed grant writers often can’t shell out big bucks for continuing education. So, when developing our list we looked at value as a top priority.
Reputation of the Instructor
There are some big, recognizable names in the grant writing universe, just as there are in other fundraising fields, such as planned giving or major gifts. We evaluated the instructor’s reputation and credibility, based on reviews and peer feedback.
While reviewing each course, we evaluated the content presented, as well as any take-away perks like a syllabus, extra study helps or guides, and other resources provided.
We also considered how easy it is to access the course. In other words, is the course offered in-person, is it online, is it accessible by mobile, and how much time do students have to invest to complete it.
Continuing Education Credit
For grant writers who have some type of certificate like the CFRE, or the GPC from the Grant Professionals Certification Institute, continuing education is necessary to
maintain or renew certification. In our list, we made note of which courses provided eligible credit.
The Best Grant Writing Courses in 2022
Drum roll, please.
Here is our curated list of the best grant writing courses currently available divided into the best grant courses for beginners, the best for experienced writers, and the best courses for learning how to successfully prepare a government grant.
Best Classes for Beginners
Led by renowned grant writer and trainer Dr. Bev Browning, this six-week long, 24 course-hour online class from the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in partnership with Ed2Go, is an excellent choice for beginning grant writers.
You’ll become comfortable with all the ins and outs of the proposal process, and also get tips and tricks to take your skills to the next level.
This comprehensive class includes the following lessons:
- Grant Funding Research
- The Grant Writing Planning Process
- Peer Review and Constructive Feedback
- Executive Summary
- Statement of Need for Funding
- Benefit to the Target Population
- Project Goals and Measurable Objectives
- Evidence-Based Solutions to Address the Need
- Funding Outcomes and Evaluation
- Developing a Project Budget
This budget-friendly online course is very basic and designed for beginners. Taught by grant writing expert and attorney Tim Whitney, the course is rated at 4.7 out of 5 stars on Udemy and has been taken by more than 9,000 students.
The class promises to teach you:
- How to identify the most relevant funders to your organization
- How to draft a solid boilerplate
- How to align the funder’s priorities with your organizational mission
- How to craft a budget
The complete class takes 1.5 hours to complete. Perks include 35 downloadable resources, as well as a certificate of completion.
This very basic online course is designed for fledgling writers who have yet to tackle writing their first proposal. It’s taught by Instrumentl partner Teresa Huff, a successful grant writing consultant and trainer. The course offers 50 minutes of instruction with 10 lessons including:
- Common questions about grant writing
- What Is a grant?
- Grant readiness
- The top ten myths about grants
- Where to find grants
- Sections of a grant
- Developing your grant project
- Application submission and awards
- Think like a reviewer
- Conclusion and course project
Downloadable content is also available. The course has been taken by nearly 2,000 students, and 99% rated it as either meeting or exceeding their expectations.
Teresa also offers other free grant writing webinars on Skillshare.
Author of Amazon best-seller How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn, Meredith Noble offers a flagship course that is an excellent entry into becoming a successful grant writer. Topics covered over five modules include:
- Developing a project planning toolkit
- Building a power prospectus
- Logic models and valuation
- Creative ways to get funded
- Deep dive into grant funding research
- A step-by-step approach to writing winning proposals
- Career paths, including the grant writing unicorn method
You’ll be able to download 15 different templates, and Meredith also posts bonus trainings quarterly.
Price: $750 payable over three months
Alison Shirk, skilled grant writer and instructor and Instrumentl partner, offers a full course in grant writing, resulting in professional certification. Her flagship course, the Certificate in Grant Writing, uses a blended learning approach—a self-paced, online, on-demand course, as well as a series of eight video conferences to build your network and provide deep discussion. Topics include:
- Where and how to find funding opportunities
- How to write a case for support
- Deep dive into proposal writing
- How to build relationships with funders
- Grant management and reporting
The class’s final project is a finalized grant proposal done by each learner. The eight-week course has garnered rave reviews by former students and only takes about two hours per week for the learning component, with an additional hour for each video conference.
Once completed, each student is awarded certification from the Grant Professionals Association.
Grant Courses for Experienced Writers
You’re an experienced proposal writer, but you want to become better. Maybe you feel like you’re losing your edge, or your win rate has dropped. Time for a tune-up!
Check out our picks for the best grant courses for experienced grant writers.
Taught by Dr. Bev Browning, author of “Grant Writing for Dummies”, this advanced course is comprehensive and for experienced grant writers only.
This highly rated 24 course-hour online class includes the following lessons:
- Types of proposal formats
- Matching funders with projects
- Writing the history and major accomplishments section
- Writing the current projects and activities section
- Writing the target population served section
- Writing the partnerships section
- Writing the needs statement section
- Writing the program design section
- Writing the evaluation section
- Develop the budget section
- Apply finishing touches and follow-up tasks
Students can take the instructor-led class (recommended) or do a self-paced version over a maximum period of three months.
Instructor Jay Katz, president of Grants West, is a very well-known expert in the grant writing world. The course is offered by San Diego State University’s Global Campus. A certificate is earned after 10 weeks of all online instruction.
To earn the certificate, two full courses are completed: Introduction to Grants and Funding Research, and Grant Proposal Development. While the first course in the sequence is for those with no or little prior grant writing experience, the second course provides the tools to further develop grant writing skills. If you happen to be an SDSU Alumni Lifetime Member, you can receive 20% off registration for this program.
CEUs: Yes–amount unknown
This course from the respected publication, The Nonprofit Times, in collaboration with MindEdgis priced moderately and is designed specifically for experienced proposal writers. The class is taught by Cynthia Holt, sole proprietor of Holt Community Consulting based in Madison, Wisc.
Want to learn about logic models? Need to develop SMART objectives? The course covers these topics, as well as differentiating between formative and summative evaluations, line-item budget development, and more.
The course takes approximately six hours to complete and is mobile-friendly. Perks include flash cards and games, as well as an “Ask an Expert” feature, allowing students to submit questions regarding course content.
CEUs: 6 CFRE, 0.6 IACET
Grant Courses about Federal Grants
Writing a proposal to a federal agency can be daunting to say the least. Here are our top choices for the best online grant courses dealing with complex federal proposals.
This week-long intensive training is designed for experienced grant writers who need to learn how to write competitive grants to the federal government. There are two trainers, Christine K. Black and AJ King, who rotate between sessions (the course is offered twice a year and is taught live). Both are experienced in the federal grants process, having written successful proposals to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State, and more.
You’ll learn about navigating through the federal proposal process, how to develop a proposal work plan, and how to submit a competitive proposal. Besides the training, graduates have the opportunity to submit a proposal to the trainer and get tips about how to improve it.
The highly interactive class familiarizes students with the following:
- Federal funding overview
- Finding opportunities
- Interpreting guidelines
- Effective arguments
- Teams draft concept papers
- Teams review concept papers
Included in the price of the course is an eBook of resources, sample proposals, copies of the concept papers reviewed, and a certificate of completion.
CEUs: CFRE 33
Offered several times a year via live webcast, this course lasts four half-days and helps students get up-to-speed on federal grant readiness and research. The boot camp is taught by recognized teacher Diane Leonard, principal of DH Leonard Consulting.
- Federal grant readiness, including the grant life cycle, internal capacity, and assessing your organization’s grant readiness
- Federal grant research and pre-planning
- Selecting collaborative partners
- Developing a needs statement
- Crafting logic models and SMART objectives
- Developing your work plan and evaluation criteria
- Growing your staffing plan and organizational capacity
- Budgets, assurances, and attachments, including eligible direct expenses, indirect cost rates and more
- Mock review & submission
Obviously, this course isn’t for newbies to the grant writing world. Besides 12 contact hours of training, perks include live interaction with the instructor, access to the online Grant Writing Boot Camp Resource Center which offers guides, templates and more, as well as access to the webcast recordings for a full year. Students also receive a full year of e-mentoring and a certificate of completion.
Price: $795, or $495 for early birds
CEUs: GPCI 12
Grant Courses for Everyone from Instrumentl
If you’ve been missing out on Instrumental’s library of great grant courses, it’s not too late to catch up on some of them. We feature grant writing classes from top grant experts covering a variety of topics such as:
- Connecting Smart Project Goals, SMART Objectives, and Grant Research Keywords with Dr. Bev Browning, author of “Grant Writing for Dummies” (now in its sixth edition!) and an in-demand instructor and consultant.
- Grantwriting: Not Just for Mainstream Nonprofits with Alison Shirk who not only runs Spark the Fire, but is also an adjunct professor of grant writing at both Western Washington University and Seattle Central College.
- 5 Ways to Use Funder 990 Data to Get Your Dream Grant with Margit Brazda Poirier, founder of Grants4Good, who has secured more than $30 million in funding for her clients.
- How to Go From 100+ Grants to The Best Fits for You with Meredith Noble, professional grant writing consultant and author of “How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn,” another Amazon best seller.
- 9 Reasons Your Grants Get Rejected (and How to Fix Them) with Teresa Huff, a nonprofit grant strategist and a grant writer mentor/coach.
- You Found a Grant! Now, What’s Next? with Shavonn Richardson, founder of Think & Ink Grant Consulting, providing end-to-end grant support ranging from nonprofit consulting, grant research, grant writing, grant management, and evaluation support.
All of these webinars are free on Instrumentl’s grant writing classes page. Bookmark this page because we have a new workshop available nearly every week. Each of our courses is an hour long, with ample time for questions and answers at the end. And did we mention they’re all free?
Wrapping Up: The Best Grant Writing Courses
So, there you have it–the best grant writing courses. Some are free, some are for beginners, and some are for more experienced folks, but we think all of them can help you beef up your grant writing skills.
Did you know Instrumentl can help you find up to 78% more funding opportunities? That’s right. Our matching algorithms allow you to spend more time writing winning proposals than researching funding opportunities.
Plus, we also provide grant management tools to make you work smarter and faster. Take advantage of Instrumentl’s free 14-day trial and experience first-hand all of the features that make Instrumentl one of the very best grant search and management tools available.