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The Grant Writing Unicorn Method by Learngrantwriting.org is by a landslide our favorite grant writing course.
This is because it not only teaches you grant writing but teaches and coaches you into becoming a successful freelance grant writer, and teaches you how to get paying clients.
Length: 1 year
“Your future is not tomorrow. The future is what you are creating today.”
― Anthon St. Maarten
Grant writing is a relatively easy freelance career to get into if you have the talent to write. Many people out there pay good money to have someone write their grant application for them. And you can get a piece of that action!
Funding from just about any organization is carefully guarded, and to be won over by any group or individual takes some really effective persuasion. This comes in the form of a grant application process, frequently referred to as grant writing.
To carry this out effectively, we strongly recommend that you go on a grant writing course to hone your craft. The good news is that there are plenty of grant writing courses out there.
And the better news is that we’ve been paying them some close attention and have handpicked 5 of what we think are the best online grant writing courses available at the moment.
In our top 5 picks, we were careful to include 2 types of courses. One type for those who truly want to make a career out of grant writing, and another type for those who want to dip their feet and see if they like the water.
This latter type is sufficiently informative for those who’ve been asked by their employer to submit a grant application to a potential fund source.
Now, this is a very unique course. And it has more to offer than more traditional grant writing courses, because it teaches you not just how to write grant applications, but also how to build a career in grant writing.
Not only do you get plenty of lessons on how to write grants, but you also get a whole module on how to find clients and get paid – how cool is that! There’s even a module on project management too.
But that’s not all – you also get top quality coaching and mentorship, with live coaching calls held twice every month,
The main drawback to this course is that it’s not as quick and easy as some of the much shorter courses out there, and requires a full year’s membership to complete. And it’s not cheap. But on the plus side, you could try out their free course first, just to see if you do want to go ahead with the fuller course.
It’s worth noting at this point that you don’t have to pay the year’s subscription in one go – you can pay in monthly installments, which makes it much more affordable.
One of the things we love about this particular course is that you can start with a free 7-day trial.
Although there’s a monthly subscription fee once the free trial is over, we would argue that in the right circumstances, you could complete the entire course within the 7-day free trial, because the course is self-paced and is only 18 hours in length.
But that’s by no means all that it’s got going for it. There are at least 5 quizzes after each of the 4 modules to test your knowledge, and better yet, they are all graded by the tutors, and constructive feedback is provided.
We also love how there is a lot of focus on some areas that many other grant writing courses simply leave out.
These include having realistic aspirations, estimating and justifying project costs, project management tools, and possible budget pitfalls. Not bad eh?
There was one thing that looked odd to us about this course though, and that’s the background of the two tutors.
Their bios demonstrate their strength in languages, but not specifically in grant writing. It is not clear that either of them has been in the business of grant writing themselves, with no relevant experience mentioned at all.
In contrast to Coursera’s Grant Proposal course, the A to Z Grant Writing by Ed2go features a superb and highly relevant instructor.
The instructor is Linda Vallejo. She has 30 years of experience in grant writing, winning an amazing $30 million in funding for various projects over the years.
Another great feature of this particular course is the very convenient interactive discussion area. You will not be teaching yourself grant writing, and you will instead be instructor-led, and taught by the best.
This interactive discussion area allows students to put any question they like to the tutor and is available to access for up to 2 whole weeks after each lesson.
For such a brief course, it is very comprehensive and covers many different aspects of grant writing.
This begins with looking for potential funders and networking, all the way through to establishing an entire grant writing campaign complete with a calendar of proposals.
But that’s not all, it also includes guidance on both the letter of inquiry and the letter of request. It even goes on to how to work with any feedback you may get from your proposals.
You could argue that it’s an expensive course for something that can be completed in as little as 6 weeks part-time. It costs well over $100.
However, this is significantly cheaper than the one we made our number 1 pick, and if you’re serious about a new career move, it will be well worth the money, and you will surely see a good return on your investment.
This has proved to be a popular course with well over 6,500 students taking it up. But better yet, customer feedback has been very positive. More than 50% of the students who left a rating rated it at a full 5 stars out of 5.
What we like about this course is that it encourages the student to think like the funder, giving you the perspective you need for a successful grant application.
It also covers several steps before and after the grant writing, such as finding foundation and government funders, developing relationships with funders, and grant application follow-up.
It’s largest section is in the Boilerplate language. In other words the standard wording in generic contracts. This section is made up of 9 individual parts and is quite comprehensive.
The tutor Tim Whitney has a highly relevant background, as a nonprofit and public policy strategist. And he’s very familiar with the relevant legal language, also being a practicing lawyer himself.
The clear drawback to this particular grant writing course is the short length. Yes, you can be assured that all the fundamentals are sufficiently covered, but you could argue that there’s a good deal more that could be added to the course, as you may have noticed as you read about some of the other aspects that were covered in the other grant writing courses that we’ve shown you so far.
The beauty of this course is that it’s specifically tailored to applying for a federal grant. So within its short course completion time frame, you don’t have to waste time learning about how to find potential funding sources. Instead, you go straight into the nitty-gritty of applying for federal grants.
It walks you through the grants.gov registration process, with 8 lectures taught solely on that.
There are also: 6 lectures focused on the peer-review process, 3 lectures on finding relevant demographic information, 4 lectures on researching and writing the statement of need, 13 lectures on program design, 3 lectures on developing the budget, and 2 lectures on filling in the necessary forms.
The tutor, Dr. Bev Browning is very impressive – she has been in the business of grants for nearly 4 decades, and has assisted clients and workshop participants throughout the US in obtaining awards totaling a whopping $500 million!
It has attracted over 1000 students and comes in rated at 4 stars out of a possible 5 stars.
The main and most obvious drawback to this course is that its focus is solely on federal grant writing. While it may be a great start for your particular organization, or as a freelancer, a gateway in, it won’t necessarily fully equip you for seeking funding from other sources.
These two aspects of a course go hand in hand. The more material that’s covered, the longer it will take you to complete the course.
In choosing our top 5 picks, we looked particularly at course length, and this is often a true reflection of just how comprehensive the course is.
On the flip side, of course, this also means it will take longer to finish. However, most online courses, including the ones in our top 5 picks, have a very flexible schedule, which means that you can easily incorporate your learning into your daily life.
In our top 5 picks, we were sure to include some very comprehensive courses, and also some that are significantly briefer. Just as there’s much to be said for a comprehensive course, there is also much to be said about focusing solely on the need-to-know elements.
When you’re looking at online courses, you’re usually presented with a brief bio of the course tutor. You should take this opportunity to learn a little about them and check their credentials and level of experience.
Usually, online courses involve little more than watching someone talk over a PowerPoint online. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it does help when a course includes quizzes to test your knowledge and interactive discussion scenarios.
Grant writing courses vary quite considerably in price, with some costing less than $50 and others costing more than $1,000. That’s why it pays to look at articles such as these and learning exactly what you get for your hard-earned money.
We recommend that you as you look at different grant writing courses, you check the prices of the courses as you go along.
If you’re not sure if Grant Writing is the career for you, then by all means try it on for size by taking a free course.
If however, you’re quite serious about going into grant writing it pays to take a paid course. With a free course, it’s a case of getting what you paid for, which isn’t much.
The good news is that you don’t have to go to college to learn grant writing – you can do it all online, with some of the best tutors across the globe.
Although there is no legal requirement for a grant writer to have a certificate in grant writing, it will certainly help their case in applying for grant writing jobs.
With more than 1.5 million nonprofits and thousands of other organizations depending on grants in the United States alone, grant writers are in high demand. Now more than ever.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writing careers, including those such as grant writing, are expected to grow 7% from 2019–2029.
Technically speaking, you don’t need a certificate to be a grant writer. But a good course in grant writing will stand you in good stead, and provide a really good base from which you can really get to work.
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.
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