Check Out Our Brand-New 20 Minute Training on How to Make Money as a Grant Writer

The 19 Best Online Grant Writing Classes for Every Learner

Author image
by Alexis Swenson
December 13, 2023
 A woman looks at a laptop, with the title of this article overlaid, The Best Online Grant Writing
Classes for Every Learner

You know that you’re interested in learning more about grant writing and that online courses and classes can help. We love that! Welcome to the party!

Now, where do you go from there? Which courses are relevant for you and worth investing in?

Knowing where to begin can be tricky because the field is so diverse. Grant writing courses and certifications come in all shapes and sizes, and different options are best for different learners.

This blog post aims to give you a solid overview of the grant writing education options available online. We’ve gathered the top grant writing resources, reviewed them, and sorted them into these categories:

The Ultimate Resource for Grant Learners!

Learn Grant Writing has something for everyone

Let's start winning your next grant

Quick Picks: The Absolute Best Grant Writing Classes

Maybe you’re in a hurry—we get it. Let’s cut to the chase. Here are our top recommendations for grant writing learners with different goals:

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 start a freelance grant writing business or side hustle?
👉 Consider Learn Grant Writing Free Grant Writing Class or Grant Writing & Funding by Holly Rustik.
Do you want to improve your grant writing skills for your current nonprofit role?
👉 Consider the Global Grant Writers Collective by Learn Grant Writing, Ed2Go, or the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Introduction to Grant Writing course.
Do you want to gain more specialized skills for federal grant seeking?
👉 Consider DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC, Grant Professionals Association’s Next Level Grant Training, or a wide array of university-based programs.

We’ll take a closer look at each of these options and more in the categories below. Think we missed a valuable program that should be included? Let us know.

Best Free Online Grant Writing Classes

Back to Top

Whether you’re just getting started, working on a budget, or aren’t ready to make a paid commitment to learning grant writing, there are tons of options available. These free grant writing resources can help:

1. Learn Grant Writing's Free Introductory Class

Our free grant writing class covers all the essentials and explains 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.

2. Coursera: Fundraising & Development Foundations

Coursera is home to a free intermediate-level course created by the University of California Davis. The course carries a fee if you wish to earn a course certificate, but you can audit all of the course content for free.

This four-module course provides an in-depth background on nonprofit fundraising and development, giving grant writers invaluable context for how grant funding fits into the bigger picture of running a nonprofit. While not all of the content is directly related to grant writing, it will help you learn:

  • Nonprofit and fundraising lingo
  • The nonprofit fundraising process
  • How to develop a case for support (an essential skill for grant writers!)
  • Current issues and trends in the fundraising world

This class is best for folks who already have a general understanding of grant writing and want to learn more about the nitty gritty, technical aspects of the nonprofit world.

3. Peak Proposals: The Basics of Finding & Applying for Grants

Getting Started: The Basics of Finding & Applying for Grants is a free course consisting of three modules. It covers how to find potential funders, an overview of writing a grant proposal, and the process of submitting a proposal. Each of the 17 lessons in the course contains an assignment to help students apply the lessons learned.

Peak Proposals is best for those wanting even more hands-on training without making a financial commitment.

4. MIT: Advanced Writing Seminar

MIT’s graduate-level Advanced Writing Seminar covers much more than grant writing, but you'll find lessons on grants plus tons of writing and presentation tips that can improve your general skills. There is no enrollment or registration fee for this self-paced course.

Note that while this seminar is useful for improving writing skills as a whole and includes a grant writing-specific lesson, it won’t be a thorough dive into the grant writing process.

But it’s still an extremely helpful course for those looking to sharpen their professional writing skills, which are (of course) essential for successful grant writing. The course materials and reading list provide interesting sources to guide your self-study of writing, including The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing by Thomas Kane and The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

***P.S. If you read only one book about writing, make it The Elements of Style! It’s a classic for a reason. This three-minute video highlights our favorite (and arguably the most valuable) takeaway from the book.

5. Almost Free Grant Writing Courses on Udemy

Udemy is an eLearning platform where experts create and sell courses on a wide variety of subjects. It offers dozens of grant writing courses on different aspects of the process. Options range from introductions to grant writing to more specialized classes on nonprofits and NIH grants.

While these courses aren’t free, they are relatively inexpensive and can help you bolster your skills in more specific areas. Course costs average around $80, but they frequently go on sale—keep an eye out for big discounts down to $15 or less!

Is Grant Writing For You?

If you are looking for a career change and interested in grant writing consulting, check out this training on how to get started. Build a flexible life you love!

Watch Video
Discover if grant writing is for you webinar
A woman works on a laptop alongside a planner notebook and pen.

Best Online Grant Writing Classes for Freelancers and Side-Hustlers

Back to Top

Tons of people are drawn to grant writing as a way to generate extra income, start a freelancing business, or make bigger career changes—and for good reason! Grant writing is a learnable, specialized skill that’s always in demand, and it helps nonprofit organizations make bigger impacts in their communities.

Here are some of our favorite resources for those interested in investing more time and energy into grant writing as a business:

1. The Global Grant Writers Collective from Learn Grant Writing

The Global Grant Writers Collective is a year-long membership that includes online instructional videos, community, certification, 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 in seven phases:

  • Phase 1: Get Started (learn how to get paid to learn + tons of freebies!)
  • Phase 2: Find Grants (our tried and true grant research method)
  • Phase 3: Write Grants (a step by step approach)

After Phase 3 (and some homework!), you’ll receive your certificate - yay! With your 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: Make Your First $15,000 (no need to set up a business yet)

After Phase 4, you can start thinking about your next career path: full-time freelance or new job. Either way, you have $15,000 worth of freelance expertise under your belt. It’s time to grow! You can take your portfolio to land a new job or scale your freelance practice to a $250,000 per year business.

  • Phase 5: Growing to $50,000 (form your LLC)
  • Phase 6: Growing to $100K-$250K Annually (join the 5% club and make 6 figures!)
  • Phase 7: Advanced Grant Writing

Members of the Collective also have access to an entire community of fellow grant writers, coaching and mentorship, and bonus trainings. These include logic and evaluation models, resume writing, fiscal sponsorship, federal grant training, contracting & retainer pricing, and more!

Membership in the Collective costs $500 per month or $6,000 annually. Check out these reviews and member spotlights to see how our community has changed members’ lives and unlocked lucrative new careers!

This Collective was created for those looking for a career change and are interested in freelance grant writing or landing a new job—plus, it brings the added benefits of a vibrant community and steadfast peer support.

2. Holly Rustik’s Grant Writing & Funding Course

Grant Writing & Funding, founded by Holly Rustik, offers several grant writing courses:

In 39 videos, the Grant Writing Master Course covers the basics of grants, finding grants, identifying needs and problems, developing a grant proposal, and building a budget. The course is self-paced and can be purchased for $697 or in six payments at $129 each. Included in the cost of this membership are sample grants and community engagement.

The Freelance Grant Writing Master Course is for folks who want to start a grant writing business but don’t know how to find clients, build a brand, and get started with marketing. The cost of this course is $997 or six installments of $183.20.

3. Resources from the American Grant Writers Association Review

The American Grant Writers Association (AGWA) is a common resource for people to consider when researching their first steps for a grant writing side business or career change.

However, it’s important to note that AGWA converted their live workshops into an online format without intentionally building it for online learning, which might negatively impact your experience with the program.

Sarah* approached the team at Learn Grant Writing after having an unpleasant and floundering experience with a grant writing course offered through AGWA. We’ve published the review she offered to write so you can have the best information possible when deciding where to learn about grant writing. Give it a read here.

*We have changed the name of the individual to protect her privacy. In every other regard, the linked article is a true and honest review.

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
Watch video to see if grant writing is a job for you
A diverse group of people touching hands in a team huddle above a table full of business documents and a laptop.

Best Grant Writing Certifications & Courses for Nonprofit Professionals

Back to Top

In the nonprofit world, it’s super common for fundraisers and program staff to wear many hats. Maybe you’ve just been handed the grant writing hat for the first time and have no idea where to start—we’ve got you covered.

Here are our favorite online resources for nonprofit professionals to learn grant writing or sharpen their skills to help their organizations secure more funding:

1. The Global Grant Writers Collective

Yep, we serve nonprofit professionals as well. The Global Grant Writers Collective helps you become a confident grant writer with a peer-proven step-by-step system for writing winning grants. Never navigate a sticky situation alone again.

This self-study online course and community help you take the guesswork out of managing all the moving parts involved in writing winning grant applications. The Collective is structured into five seven phases:

  • Phase 1: Get Ready (become irresistible to funders + tons of freebies!)
  • Phase 2: Find Grants (our tried and true grant research method)
  • Phase 3: Write Grants (a step-by-step approach)
  • Phase 4: Career Paths (build your career for portfolio experience and income)
  • Phase 5: Business Development (Bonuses)
  • Phase 6: Continued Education (never stop learning!)

Access to the Collective and ongoing membership costs $500 per month or $6,000 annually. With it, you get the full library of training content and coaching, plus inclusion in a thriving community of fellow grant writers eager to share and learn from each other—no question goes unanswered!

2. Ed2Go

Ed2Go 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 six-week, 24-class courses, the cost hovers around $150.

The majority of these courses are geared towards nonprofit professionals involved in grant writing.

3. University of Wisconsin: Introduction to Grant Writing

The 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.

4. Holly Rustik: Strategic Planning Master Course & Start-Up Academy

We’re throwing Holly Rustik’s courses on here again because she has two offerings specific to nonprofits. Grant Writing & Funding offers two courses focusing on grant writing in the nonprofit sector including:

The Nonprofit Strategic Planning Master Course is designed for both nonprofit leaders and freelance consultants. The course will help nonprofits get their fiscal and program health organized. You can buy this course for $697 or make six payments of $127 each.

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
Free Grant Matrix Template
A businesswoman signs a document that’s handed to her while working with a laptop.

Best Grant Writing Classes for Federal Grant Seekers

Back to Top

Securing grants from federal agencies and funding bodies is its own unique beast to tackle. It’s highly competitive and draws on special sets of tactics and best practices (like using Freedom of Information Act inquiries). Sounds tough, but rest assured it’s all learnable with the right support.

Here are our recommendations for grant writing courses and resources specifically designed to help you better compete for federal funding:

1. DH Leonard Consulting: Fast Track Learning to Write Federal Grants

DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC, offers a Federal Grant Writing Boot Camp. This training webcast, spread over four half-days, covers how to successfully apply for and secure federal grants. It’s taught by Diane Leonard GPC in conjunction with My Fed Trainer.

Early bird pricing is $495 while last-minute pricing is $795 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 a range of other Federal Grant Writing Training courses throughout the year as listed on their course listing. Many of these courses cost around $87. Catch webinar replays of their all-time faves, Federal Grants 101: Securing Millions for Your Organization and Federal Grants 201: How to Feel Confident and Competitive as You Click Submit, for $60 for $50, respectively.

These resources are best for individuals interested in improving their federal grant writing skills by watching webinars.

2. Grant Professionals Association: Next Level Grant Training

Next Level Grant Training is live online training to help folks advance their grant careers. The 2024 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.

Each session focuses on reinforcing the GPA Code of Ethics and related GPC Competencies, along with providing participants the opportunity to earn up to 12 CEUs. This series is priced at $240 for members or $299 for non-members for the entire offering.

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.

A woman writes sticky note reminders beside a laptop and smartphone.

Best University-Based Grant Writing Certifications

Back to Top

A handful of grant resources created by universities have already been mentioned in this list, but there are more where those came from! If you’re looking for more structured certificate programs and courses taught by professional educators, higher ed has a lot to offer.

Here our are top recommendations for grant writing classes and certification programs offered by universities:

1. University of Georgia

The 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.

2. University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina’s Grant Writing Certificate Program involves 30 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 new and established professionals for the practical and conceptual aspects that are critical to the grant writing process.

3. Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers two levels of grant writing certificates: Grant Development—State and Foundation Proposal Certificate for $999 (early bird price) and Advanced Grant Development—Federal Proposal Certificate for $1,050 (early bird price).

Both courses are fast-paced and intensive for those ready to make a serious investment in their grant writing skills. The courses take seven weeks to complete, and students can expect to spend 12 to 15 hours a week on coursework.

4. University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

UCCS 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 related to grant writing, grant management, and/or nonprofit program evaluation.

Non-degree, non-Colorado resident graduate students completing the required 12 hours of coursework can expect to pay roughly $9,700 plus a $60 application fee for an online UCCS certificate program. For Colorado residents, the fees are roughly $8,300.

5. Fort Hays State University

Fort 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.

The Ultimate Resource for Grant Learners!

Learn Grant Writing has something for everyone

Let's start winning your next grant

Choosing the Right Grant Writing Classes for Your Goals

There is a whole internet of opportunity for you to learn more about grant writing. We hope this list guided you through your search and gave you a clearer idea of the wide range of options available online today.

As you get started, please keep this one important takeaway in mind: A grant writing course will only serve you well if it's aligned with your goals and needs.

No matter your goal, whether it’s getting your feet wet, improving skills for your nonprofit, learning more about federal grants, or starting a business, the Global Grant Writers Collective is chock-full of support for any grant writer. With curriculum, coaching, mentorship, and community, the Collective is a one-stop shop for learning about grant writing and how to adjust your mindset to achieve your goals.

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 contact us anytime with your questions—we’ll be happy to help!

But no matter your goals, we hope you keep learning more. Keep the ball rolling by checking out these additional resources from the Learn Grant Writing blog:

Let's Kickstart Your Grant Writing Journey

Learn Grant Writing has something for everyone – all backgrounds, goals, and skill levels are welcome!

Let's start winning your next grant
Writing Class for Grant Writers

About the author...

Alexis Swenson serves as Unicorn Coach and Content Director for Learn Grant Writing. The product of small-town northwestern Minnesota, she is a self-declared “old soul” and grounded free spirit. She has secured over $2.7 million in grant funding in her career. Alexis writes to help people learn, laugh, and not be so hard on themselves.

Grant writing for women unicorns
Watch video to see if grant writing is a career for you
deco-blob-8 decoration
deco-blob-8 decoration
deco-lines-4 decoration

Want To Learn More?

We made this video to answer your questions about how to build a career in grant writing without the fear of where you will find clients or the fear of failure. We cover the top three mistakes that keep people from making the leap from a soul-sucking job to something more meaningful.

Watch Video

divider graphic
arrow-up icon