Introduction to Grant Writing Certification Programs
You know you’re interested in learning more about grant writing. We love that! Welcome to the party!
Now, where do you go from there? Which courses are relevant for you and worth investing in?
The purpose of this blog post is to give you a solid overview of the grant writing education available online. AKA: so you know where to go from where you’re currently at. Before we dive deeper into each resource, let’s have a quick look at what your specific goals are and match them with our top recommendations.
Do you want to check out a free grant writing class?
👉 Consider Learn Grant Writing Free Grant Writing Class, Coursera, or Peak Proposals.
Do you want to improve your grant writing skills for your current nonprofit role?
👉 Consider Grant Writing Made Easy by Dr. Krista Kurlunkis, Ed2Go, or University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Introduction to Grant Writing course.
Do you want to start a freelance business, side hustle, or break into grant writing?
👉 Consider the Grant Writing Unicorn Collective by Learn Grant Writing (us!), Grant Writing & Funding by Holly Rustik, or Notre Dame’s Effective Grant Proposal Writing program.
Do you want to improve on the federal grant writing front?
👉 ConsiderDH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC, Grant Professionals Association Next Level Grant Training, or a wide array of University programs.
Below you’ll find our top recommendations listed again along with additional programs you can look into. These additional programs may or may not be the most relevant to your goals and thus didn’t make the cut above. We always want to serve you best and be considerate of your end goals. That being said, is there a program we missed that you’d like to see included in this post? Let us know.
Free Online Grant Writing Classes
Learn Grant Writing
Our free grant writing class is divided into four modules. This course allows you to learn how you can build a career in grant writing without the fear of where you will find clients or feeling like a failure if your grant doesn’t win. We cover the top three mistakes that keep people stuck, how to get paid to learn grant writing, and strategy for pulling off a career transition.
Following that broad overview, you are then guided through our tried and tested seven steps to writing winning grant applications:
- Step 1: Prepare for success
- Step 2: Host kickoff meeting
- Step 3: Develop your budget (you’ll also get a free copy of our grant budget template!)
- Step 4: Preparing key attachments (including a resolution and letters of support)
- Step 5: Write your narrative
- Step 6: Persuasive writing
- Step 7: Submitting your application
This free resource is best for those interested in learning about grant writing without the burden of financial or time commitment. It’s for all of you who want to get your feet wet.
CourseraCoursera is home to an intermedial level grant proposal course created by the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. The course carries a fee if you wish to have graded assignments and earn a course certificate, but you can audit all of the course videos for free.
The 4-module course provides guidance on developing a strong application that will allow reviewers to better evaluate the science and merit of your proposal. You will learn how to put your ideas into proper words, arrange a clear and concise paper, and search the grant market for potential funders. You will also learn how to react to negative feedback from reviewers and resubmit your proposal.
Coursera is best for folks who want to learn more about the nitty gritty, technical aspects of grant writing for their current role.
Peak ProposalsGetting Started: The Basics of Finding & Applying for Grants is a free course consisting of three modules. Each module contains 5–6 sections for a total of 17 lessons. Every lesson contains an assignment to help students apply the lessons learned. This self-paced course covers how to find potential funders, offers an overview on writing a grant proposal, and the process to submit a proposal.
Peak Proposals is best for those looking to get started with the basics of finding and applying for grants without reading hordes of blog posts.
Other Free Grant Writing Resources
Advanced Writing Seminar
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides a wide range of classes for free through MIT OpenCourseWare. The institute's graduate level Advanced Writing Seminar covers much more than grant writing, but you'll find lessons on grants as well as writing and presentation tips that can improve your grant writing skills. There is no enrollment or registration for this course and you are welcome to freely browse and use OpenCourseWare materials at your own pace.
This Seminar is useful for improving writing skills as a whole and while there is a grant writing specific lesson, it won’t be a thorough dive into the grant writing process. The course materials and reading list provide a few interesting reading sources to prompt you along in your self-study of writing including Writing for Design Professionals: A Guide for Architects, Engineers, Landscape, Interior Architects and Other Designers by Stephen Kliment, The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing by Thomas Kane, and The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White.
***P.S. We LOVE The Elements of Style! This three-minute video highlights our favorite takeaway from the book.
Almost Free Grant Writing Class
Udemy is almost free and offers dozens of courses on different aspects of grant writing. Options range from introductions to the grant writing process to more specialized classes on nonprofits and NIH grants. Courses are broken down into short lectures, and total course time ranges from 45 minutes to 5.5 hours. The cost of each course sits around $80.00.
Grant Writing Classes to Build a Career as a Grant Writer
Learn Grant WritingThe Grant Writing Unicorn Collective is a year-long membership that includes online instructional videos, community, and coaching to teach you a step-by-step system for building a flexible career in grant writing. In addition to an ever-growing community and mentorship, there are live trainings offered twice a month.
The Collective is structured into five modules:
- Phase 1: Preparation (learn how to pay for the program in two projects + tons of freebies!)
- Phase 2: Find Grants (our tried and true grant research method)
- Phase 3 3: Write Grants (a step by step approach)
After Phase 3 (and some homework!), you’ll receive your grant writing certification - yay! With your grant writing certificate and real-world experience, you can interview well for higher-paying, quality jobs. If you enjoyed the freelancing, we show you how to work for yourself and build a vibrant grant writing consulting business in the final two modules.
- Phase 4: Making Your First $15,000 (no need to set up a business yet)
- Phase 5: Land a New job or Scale to $50,000 (pulling off your career change)
- Phase 6: Growing to $100,000 per year (how to join the 5% club 😁)
- Phase 7: Scaling Your Business and Life
This Collective was created for those looking for a career change that are interested in freelance grant writing or landing a new job with the added benefits of a vibrant community and steadfast peer support.
Grant Writing & FundingGrant Writing & Funding, founded by Holly Rustik, offers several grant writing courses:
The Freelance Grant Writing Master Course is for folks who want to start a grant writing business, but they don’t know how to start or get clients. They desire to build a business that keeps them busy and making good money. The cost of the course is $997 or six installments of $183.20.
The course is split into eight modules:
- Module 1: A to Z on Setting Up Your Business
- Module 2: Identify Your Ideal Client & Create a Contact List
- Module 3: Complete a SWOT and Create a Mission & Branding
- Module 4: Develop a Productivity Schedule to Avoid Burnout
- Module 5: Formulate Prices & Package Proposals
- Module 6: Create Taglines, Slogans & Sales Copy
- Module 7: Learn Magic Marketing (Social Media & Beyond)
- Module 8: Diversify Your Revenue with Additional Services
Notre DameNotre Dame offers an Effective Grant Proposal Writing program for a cost of $1,980. While this course isn’t specific to building a freelance business, we know this is one of the top programs people consider when trying to learn the fundamentals of grant writing. That said, we have had a number of members join the Grant Writing Unicorn Collective because the Notre Dame curriculum didn't show them how to build a career in grant writing (and get paid!).
This course is suited for students wanting to master all phases of the grant writing process, including the composition and practical application of their own grant proposal.
- Proven Methods for Developing and Creating a Successful Grant Proposal
- Winning Strategies for Locating Funding Resources and Understanding Funders’ Perspective
- Critical Actions to Take After Submitting a Grant Proposal
- Why Budgets and Timelines Can Make or Break a Grant Proposal
- How to Measure and Evaluate the Success of Your Grant Proposal
American Grant Writers Association ReviewWe are listing the American Grant Writers Association because we know that it is a common program for people to consider. Our concern is that AGWA converted their live workshops into an online format without intentionally building it for online learning. You are welcome to view their website here, but it is not one we recommend.
Discover Grant Writing as a Career
If you're interested in becoming a grant writing consultant, check out this free training on how you can pull off a meaningful career change.Access Free Class
Nonprofit Focused Programs
Grant Writing Made Easy by Dr. Krista KurlunkisGrant Writing Made Easy is taught by Dr. Krista Kurlunkis. The online course is divided into six modules that break down the grant writing process into easy steps and walk you through the process of writing a grant, so when you finish the course, you have a grant written.
Other features of the self-paced program include:
- 11 core instructional videos that take you through examples and explain the principles of grant writing in plain language;
- 300+ pages of workbooks, templates, and cheatsheets;
- peer review exercises for each grant section to get effective revision suggestions on your grant; and
- live writing workshops twice a month.
Ed2GoEd2Go offers a variety of courses on grant writing from overview classes for beginners to more detailed, advanced options. Classes vary in hourly requirements and costs, but for most of the 6 week / 24 course hour classes, the cost hovers around $150.
The majority of these courses are geared towards nonprofit professionals involved in grant writing.
University of WisconsinThe University of Wisconsin Milwaukee offers an Introduction to Grant Writing course for $150. The course covers fundraising strategies and explores the six stages of grant writing. The stages include identifying a need for funding, researching grantmakers, relationship cultivation, the grant writing process, and appropriate follow-up after winning or losing a grant award.
This course is designed for those seeking to gain a basic understanding of nonprofit management.
Nonprofit Strategic Planning Master Course & Start-Up AcademyWe’re throwing Holly’s courses on here again because she has two offerings specific to nonprofits. Grant Writing & Funding, founded by Holly Rustik, offers two courses focusing on grant writing in the nonprofit sector including:
The Nonprofit Start-Up Academy covers how to create a working board, outline a strategic plan, find funding streams, and cultivate branding and messaging. This self-paced course is priced at $297.
Free Grant Matrix Template
To stay organized, we recommend you put your grant findings in a matrix. This way you can systematically filter the top pursuits.Get Free Grant Matrix Template
Federal Focused Programs
Fast Track Learning to Write Federal GrantsLearn about the best kept secrets to writing and winning federal grants! This free webinar teaches you how to strategically use the Freedom of Information Act to get copies of past successful grant applications.
DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC Federal Grant Writing Boot Camp is a federal grant writing training webcast spread over 4-half-days that covers how to apply and secure federal grants successfully. This live webcast is taught by Diane Leonard GPC in conjunction with My Fed Trainer. Early bird pricing is $397 while last minute pricing is $797 while tickets last. This Boot Camp course is offered numerous times each year - click here for the schedule.
DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services frequently offers Federal Grant Writing Training courses throughout the year as listed on their course listing. Most of these courses cost around $87. You can also catch the webinar replays of Federal Grants 101: Securing Millions for Your Organization for $60 and Federal Grants 201: How to Feel Confident and Competitive as You Click Submit for $50.
Again, this resource is best for individuals interested in improving their federal grant writing skills by watching webinars.
Grant Professionals AssociationNext Level Grant Training is live online training to help folks advance their grant careers. The 2021 Next Level Grant Training topics include federal grants, research prospecting, best practices for reporting, and more.
Next Level Grant Training features include:
- one monthly class for 12 months;
- one-hour sessions including Q&A;
- online-archived class content for later reference; and
- a constant cohort of participants, led by Grant Professional Certified and GPA-approved trainers Cyndi MacKenzie and Scot Scala.
These sessions are best for those especially interested in the ethical ins and outs of grant writing, those seeking to earn credits, and those already in established grant writing careers.
University Based Grant Writing Programs
University of GeorgiaThe University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education offers two grant writing courses: an introductory-level course called Fundamentals of Grant Writing I, and a higher-level course called Advanced Grant Proposal Writing. Each course provides 24 hours of instruction for a cost of $159.
University of South CarolinaUniversity of South Carolina’s Grant Writing Certificate Program involves thirty hours of classes covering four courses: Introduction to Grant Writing, Needs Based Assessment, Intermediate Grant Writing, and Program Development and Evaluation. Both online and classroom options are available for a fee of $1,322. The goal of this program is to prepare professionals for the practical and conceptual aspects that are critical to the grant writing process.
Arizona State UniversityArizona State University offers two levels of grant writing certificates: Grant Development—State and Foundation Proposal Certificate for $999 (early bird); and Advanced Grant Development—Federal Proposal Certificate for $1,050 (early bird). Both courses are fast paced and intensive, take seven weeks, and students can expect to spend 12 to 15 hours a week on coursework.
University of Colorado at Colorado SpringsUCCS has an intensive credit-bearing certificate program, Graduate Certificate in Grant Writing, Management, and Program Evaluation. To apply for the program, students must hold a bachelor's degree. Completion of the certificate requires a grade of B- or better in four courses: Evaluation, Grant Writing, Grant Management, and an elective. The certificate is designed for people interested in professional careers in, or careers that include grant writing, grant management, and/or program evaluation.
Fort Hays State UniversityFort Hays State University offers an eight-week University Grant Writing Certification Program for $175. Available for students in the United States only, the class meets online for two months. While this is an introduction to grant proposal writing, many students enroll for a review and refresher course. The areas of focus include title page, abstract, statement of need, goal, objectives, procedures, budget, qualifications, evaluation, sustainability, dissemination, sources cited, and appendix.
Conclusion & Final TakeawayThere is a whole internet of opportunity for you to learn more about grant writing. Hopefully this blog post guided you through your search of which program meets your needs best. Ultimately, we want you to succeed in whatever your goal might be—getting your feet wet, improving skills for your nonprofit employer, learning more about federal grant writing, or starting a freelance grant writing business.
Happy learning! We’re always here for you!
For more tips and tricks on grant funding and writing a proposal, be sure to check out our FREE Grant Writing Class! You can also DM us on Instagram with any questions you might have.