49 Grant Writing Resources: The Ultimate List in 2021
The world of grant writing can be overwhelming, and it may be tough to know where to learn or how to improve your grant seeking.
Below you will find the most comprehensive list of grant tools and grant writing resources for nonprofits.
They will help you become more efficient and accomplished as a grant writer!
The grant writing resource list includes webinars, guides, workshops, and in-person professional development opportunities. It recommends grant tools to help you organize and become more productive in your work.
It shows you where to find quick tips to strengthen your written proposals and gives you a list of books that can serve as references. Finally, it tells you where you can find professional grant writers for your nonprofit.
The Best General Grant Writing Resources for Beginners
This section lists grant writing resources for beginners, including webinars and guides you can find online.
Beginner-Friendly Grant Writing Webinars
We provide free educational opportunities for nonprofit teams and grant writers to level up their grant writing skills. From how to write SMART objective statements to how to get stellar support letters, you’ll find regular grant-related programming on Instrumentl.
Instrumentl Partner Workshops are one-hour workshops and typically include a free raffle attendees can enter, giving you exclusive access to ongoing education opportunities in grant writing.
Diane Leonard is a GPA Approved Trainer who makes grant writing approachable. Her catalog of free webinars covers a variety of grant writing topics for beginner grant writers and beyond.
Some beginner topics include “Foundation and Grants Fundraising Overview,”; “Effective Pre-Planning for Grant Applications,”; “Grant Writing: Mastering the Basics and Beyond.”
Intermediate and advanced topics include “How to Master Grant Strategy, Calendars, and Teams,” “How to Include Evaluation in Grants When the Funder Isn’t Paying for It,” and “Forecasting for Federal Grants.”
Most of these courses count as credit toward achieving your Grant Professional Certification (GPC).
She also offers customized training seminars for your nonprofit on a paid basis.
CharityHowTo (Free or starting at $37/month)
CharityHowTo is a hub of webinars for the fundraising professional. Their Grants for Nonprofits webinars cover topics such as how to conduct grant research, get started with grant writing, and tips for successful grant seeking.
The paid version offers many more training courses, such as writing a grant budget that sells your application and building relationships with grantmakers.
The Grantsmanship Center (Paid, starting at $79/session)
The Grantsmanship Center has a few training options for grant writing professionals.
You can select individual webinar videos for specific topics such as How to Create a Budget, Understanding Indirect Costs, and Identifying Outcomes and Methods in your proposal.
Another option is to take their 2-day Essential Grant Skills course. It gives you a comprehensive introduction to the world of grant writing.
Or, you can dive deeper by attending their 5-day Grantsmanship Training program, which not only covers writing a grant proposal but also planning programs and working with funders.
LearnGrantWriting.org (Paid, $250/month or $2,500/year)
An online series of videos, community, and coaching for getting started as a freelance grant writer. It is a year-long membership to teach you how to build a grant writing career. It develops your all-around grant writing skills, such as funder research, grant writing, and project management. LearnGrantWriting also offers an hour-long, free grant writing course to get you started.
You can also check out Meredith’s presentation with Instrumentl here.
Beginner Grant Writing Guides
While Beta.SAM.gov has replaced the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, they still offer this resource to help you develop a thorough grant proposal.
When you are planning a proposal, have you checked whether area agencies are already doing similar work? Do you have documented support of the community you are looking to serve? How can you present yourself as a credible applicant to the funder?
If you have never written a grant proposal, this free grant writing resource will give you an introductory overview of what most foundation funders expect you to include.
It provides a chart that identifies the sections of a proposal, what information to describe and how to convey that information clearly and concisely.
UNC’s Writing Center is another free grant writing resource to introduce you to writing a proposal.
The added benefit is that it also describes the grant life cycle, from planning a project, writing and submitting a proposal, receiving an award, and following up with the funder during and after project implementation.
Training for Government Grants
The Grants.gov Learning Center does not tell you how to write a federal grant, but it does explain how to use the application system. It covers topics such as the federal grant life cycle, registering a user account, and understanding user roles to set up your nonprofit onto the system.
It will demonstrate how to fill out each section, run a review for errors, and finally sign and submit the application.
The National Science Foundation compiled this guide to help applicants improve their proposals to this funding agency.
One of its first points they make is that they issue awards “based on merit, not on need.” They look for project models that make substantial improvements in the field, are innovative, and demonstrate success.
If you are looking to apply for an NIH grant, this guide covers the agency’s reviewer criteria and how to fulfill all of the requirements.
They also provide tutorials on how to use the system and offer examples of successful applications for reference.
The Grant section of the EPA’s website provides information on their grant opportunities, the grant process, training opportunities, and compliance policies.
They offer resources to use their system and explain the grant management process once your organization has received an award.
Federal Grant Writing Bootcamp (Paid, $400)
This 3-day course led by Diane Leonard covers an overview of the federal grant process and goes into depth on how to develop federal grant proposals. The course will tell you how to assess your nonprofit’s grant readiness, how to build your program’s work plan and evaluation method, create compelling arguments to demonstrate your nonprofit’s effectiveness, and construct program budgets.
The Grantsmanship Center (Paid, $1395)
In addition to the above training, the Grantsmanship Center also has a 5-day training specifically for Competing for Federal Grants. This course provides a federal funding overview, explains how to interpret guidelines, draft compelling narratives, and helps you to develop and review concept papers.
The Best General Grant Writing Resources for Intermediate and Advanced Grant Writers
Grant Professional Association (Memberships starting at $92)
The Grant Professional Association (GPA) is a standard-bearer of best practices for grant writers. While the GPA does offer free tools and resources, the maximum benefit comes from becoming a member.
The GPA offers professional development and networking opportunities. They also oversee the Grant Professionals Certification Institute, a certification program for grant professionals. Instrumentl is a proud partner of the GPA.
GPA’s Next Level Grant Training (Paid, starting at $199)
A year’s worth of monthly online classes covering topics such as “Creating a Roadmap for Your Organization,” “Ethics in All Things Grants,” and “Advancing Your Grantseeking.”
Have you ever wondered how to make your grants process more efficient? Agile in Nonprofits uses agile principles and Scrum framework and trains you to adapt it for your nonprofit.
Grant Writing Resources for Creating and Preparing Budgets
Upstream’s guide walks you through the process of creating a program budget. Upstream outlines how you can categorize expenses and determine costs such as salaries for the specific project.
Not only that, but they provide a downloadable budget template you can use as a reference.
The EPA offers four modules on developing a program budget. They provide instructions on how to use the budget forms and define what costs are allowable. They also address the difference between direct and indirect costs and how to calculate each.
This free online class covers the essential components of building a program budget.
They address questions such as what income and expenses you should include, how to estimate project costs, and what organizational financial documents you will need to support your budget.
Useful Compiled Lists of Grant Writing Tips
It is helpful to keep in mind the language you use when writing a grant. This post offers suggestions of words to avoid when trying to convince reviewers of your program.
How often are you using the word “very” in your proposal? If you remove such superlatives, your grant writing will be stronger and thus more persuasive.
We offer several posts to help you be successful at grant writing. This is just one that gives you tips on how to succeed before you even start to write that proposal.
What’s unique about Instrumentl’s guides is you’ll find in-depth breakdowns on commonly used grant writing skills, along with concrete examples. For example, in this post on invite-only funders, you get a sample letter you can reuse for your outreach efforts.
While these tips are written specifically for research grants, they can apply to all types of funding pursuits.
Keeping your grant proposals clear and concise will help to keep reviewers’ interest. Ensuring that your projects are within a realistic scope of the budget and timeline will help reviewers see your vision as achievable and therefore fundable.
How do you successfully meet the basic grant application requirements? Following these tips will help.
For example, reading the application package thoroughly and following every instruction, including the formatting rules, will keep your application from being disqualified.
When creating a budget for a multi-year grant, consider including inflation and salary increases. Keeping the budget scoped to your specific project will help funders see you will manage a grant award responsibly.
This page has these tips and more to help you prepare a convincing budget.
This is a reusable checklist you can use as you put together a grant proposal. It breaks down each section of a proposal to help ensure that you include all of the relevant information looked for by funders.
When you define the problem your nonprofit aims to solve, there are 13 checkpoints you’ll want to include in that section, such as documenting the cause of the problem, focusing on the program’s beneficiaries, and supporting your cause with data.
The Best Tech Tools for Grant Writers
Tools to Organize the Grant Lifecycle
Instrumentl (Free for 14-days, then paid, starting at $162/monthly)
Instrumentl brings grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place. This is specifically unique because it means you’re able to consolidate all of your institutional fundraising efforts by using a variety of platforms.
One of the best features is the ability to input information about your nonprofit’s programs and then find specific open and active grant opportunities you can actually apply for. Once you set up a project, Instrumentl automatically notifies you when new grants fit your search criteria.
Our built-in Grant Tracker tool allows you to flag your funding prospects, track where each application is in the grant life cycle, create tasks to be completed (great for team collaboration), and organize all associated documents on the cloud.
You can also generate reports that summarize all of your grant work to present to your boss, executive, and board.
Fluxx Grantseeker (Free, or Paid Version starting at $14.99/month for basic functionality)
Fluxx Grantseeker is a grants management tool that helps you to create and organize your grants pipeline. Discover funders, assign task reminders for yourself and teammates, integrate your calendars, track program funding, and store common answers to funder questions are just some of the features available.
Because Fluxx is better known for their grantmaker tools, you may find their grantseeker tool somewhat limited in functionality at this time. Learn how Fluxx compares to Instrumentl here.
Foundation Directory Online (Paid, $199.99/monthly)
Foundation Directory Online (FDO) by Candid is a database of US and international foundations, charities, and federal funders. It allows you to search for potential funder matches for your nonprofit by subject, geographic focus, population served, and more. The results generate a list of foundations that match your criteria. You can then select each matched foundation to see its profile. The profile will show contact information, grant guidelines and deadlines, previous awards granted, and other information to help you determine whether it is a good match for your project. Learn the differences between Foundation Directory Online and Instrumentl here.
GrantStation (Paid, $699/year)
Like FDO, Grantstation allows you to search their database for grantmakers, including foundations, corporate charitable programs, and US government grant opportunities. They also allow you to search based on subject and geographic area of focus and give you detailed funder profiles. They offer planning tools to build your grant strategy based on your search results. Read about the differences between GrantStation and Instrumentl here.
This tool allows you to track all grant financial data on the grant management end of the process. It provides budget templates, will enable you to create single or multi-year budgets, and creates project reports.
Project Management Tools
Grant applications can be a complicated process. For that reason, you may find it helpful to keep your grant projects organized by setting up systems and procedures. Cloud-based project management tools are one great way you can standardize your work process.
Asana (Free, or Paid versions starting at $10.99/month)
Asana allows you to create project goals, coordinate tasks among teammates, monitor project progress, and accomplish deadlines. They offer a grant application pipeline template to help you keep track of grants in their different stages. You can assign a due date, prioritize projects, and set up approval procedures to help you and your team finalize each application.
Trello (Free, with paid version starting at $10/month)
Trello boards are one way to visualize your projects, their tasks, and progression, sort of like a digital whiteboard filled with organized sticky notes. Set up projects, assign tasks, and track your progress with deadlines in view.
While Jira is better known in the tech world, nonprofits can use this tool for grants to assign team members to sprints and track when each task is in the phases of to do, doing, in review, and done.
A great grant writing resource is a good grammar tool. Whether you choose to use an online editor or grammar books for reference, it is always important to have a way to check your grammar. Some online editor options include:
Grammarly (Free, with Paid Version from $12/month)
With Grammarly’s free version, you can install the plugin tool onto your Chrome browser to check for basic spelling and grammar mistakes. This feature is handy if you are filling in applications in an online form. The paid version will make advanced suggestions on word choice, tone, and conciseness and check for plagiarism.
ProWritingAid (Free, with Paid Version from $7/month)
Another great option to check your grammar is ProWritingAid. This resource allows you to freely add a plugin to a Chrome browser to check spelling and grammar. The paid version scans your work for elements such as sentence structure, overused phrases, and the use of passive voice.
Useful Grant Writing Books to Read
The Only Grant Writing Book You’ll Ever Need By Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox (About $15 on Amazon)
This book provides comprehensive information about grant seeking for governments, nonprofits, and individuals. It also includes interviews with grantmakers to help demystify how they make decisions on selecting grantees.
How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn By Meredith Noble (About $25 on Amazon)
Recommended by our very own CEO, How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn answers every grant writer’s questions. The book addresses how to write grants with a convincing narrative, how to prepare budgets, manage your timelines, and how to make your proposals stand out to funders.
Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals By Renee Bourque & Susan Howlett ($55 on Amazon)
Described as a “comprehensive instructional manual” by reviewers, this book serves as a reference for grant writers, providing a step-by-step guide to understand the grants process.
Grant Writing: The Complete Workbook for Writing Grant Proposals that Win By Mary Gladstone-Highland ($20 on Amazon)
Mary Gladstone-Highland includes grant writing templates and grant budget examples to help you create complete proposals. This grant writing resource also goes above and beyond by having you consider your nonprofit’s digital reputation, how to connect with funders, and how to follow up once you have submitted a grant.
Successful Grant Writing for Health and Human Service Professionals, Fifth Edition By Laura Gitlin Ph.D., Ann Kolanowski Ph.D., Kevin J Lyons Ph.D. (From $45 on Amazon)
For the intermediate to advanced grant writer, this resource develops professionals skills by addressing next-level competencies. Some of the more advanced topics include how to generate evidence for your programs, writing a literature review for supporting evidence, considerations for study designs.
Writing to Win Federal Grants: A Must-Have for Your Fundraising Toolbox By Cheryl K. Lester & Karen L. Cassidy ($40 on Amazon)
This book breaks down the process of applying for a federal grant. It describes how federal grants work, how to get ready and find the right opportunity for you. It also details each section of a federal grant application, including program and budget planning. It also describes how to manage the grant after you’ve gotten the award.
Writing the NIH Proposal: A Step-by-Step Guide By William Gerin, Christine Kapelewski Kinkade, & Niki L. Page ($60 on Amazon)
The NIH is a significant source of federal funding. This book details the NIH application process, covering the Application Submission System, how the scoring system works, and administrative requirements.
For more helpful grant writing books, be sure to check out our post on the best grant writing books.
Helpful Places to Find Grant Writers for Your Nonprofit
We maintain a spreadsheet of grant writers and grant writing consultancies you may find valuable to reach out to for your grant writing needs. On this sheet, each listed organization describes their ideal nonprofit customer, cost structure, contact information, and X-factor.
With a team of Grant Professional Certified writers, this company offers services including grant opportunity research, grant writing and editing, mock grant reviews, consultations to build your grant team, and multiple training options. They also offer a “Grant Writer in Your Pocket,” a one-time, contract-free consultation call.
Williams Grant Writing is a family-owned business of grant writing professionals known for their quick turnaround time and developing excellent grant packages.
GPA’s Career Website (Starting at $399)
If you’re looking to fill a long-term grants position, you can post your nonprofit’s job description on this career center. They regularly contact their members with job listings to help match available talent with the opportunity.
Upstream (Starting at $1500/month)
Specializing in health and social service organizations, this GPA-approved business will evaluate your funding needs, review and strengthen your grant readiness, find and apply for grant opportunities on your behalf, and keep track of reporting requirements. Upstream is one example of a grant writing consultancy that you can find in Instrumentl’s directory.
Wrapping Things Up: The Ultimate List of Grant Writing Resources
Whether you are a beginner looking for training or books or more advanced and want to know how to optimize your processes with grant writing tools, this list of grant writing resources should get you started on your grant writing journey.
If you found this post helpful, share it with a friend or colleague so they can benefit from it too!
Be sure to bookmark this page in case we update it in the future to add in even more grant resources for you.