Grant Writing Course on How to Plan a Grant Proposal That Wins

project planning Sep 20, 2019

Early in my grant writing career, I worked with an Alaska Native village that needed funding to relocate their entire community. The community was literally falling into the Arctic Ocean from coastal erosion, and the tribal administrator wanted grant funding to build a shop for the transportation equipment needed to build and maintain a winter road for relocation purposes.

I will never forget how claustrophobic I felt standing in the village. Aggressive, unforgiving waves were crashing just yards away. The land was visibly giving way to the sea. Perhaps most disturbing of all, the shoreline was dotted with abandoned homes which were tipping into the ocean. 

I certainly understood why the project was important, and I was motivated to help. I established a grant schedule, prepared much of the grant narrative, and started a project budget.

Despite my attempts to collaborate, months passed and we were not making progress. I couldn’t help the community achieve their goals without their participation, so I decided to call it quits. 

I had wasted their time and mine because I failed to assess their readiness to pursue grant funding. The project was not sufficiently planned to be ready to apply for grant funding. 

Project Planning or Bust. From experiences like this, I learned the importance of proper project planning. That information is now summed up in our online grant writing project planning course, which is a prerequisite for taking the online grant writing intensive program. 

Why? Because that’s how important planning is to your success as a grant writer! A summed up description of what we cover in the project planning course can be read in these two blog posts: Project Planning Part I and Project Planning Part II. 

What is the Project Planning Course About? The course covers how to position a project to secure funding. Project logistics may feel like someone else's problem, but more often than not, those details will become your responsibility. Do not despair! Influencing a project’s design can improve its odds of success, and we teach you how to do this.

What Does The Online Course Include? The online grant writing project planning course includes:

  • Detailed Instructional Video Content
  • A PDF Project Planning Toolkit
  • A Grant Budget Spreadsheet (worth the course for this nugget of gold alone!)
  • A Sample Memorandum of Agreement (for establishing partnerships).
  • 1 Year Access to the Community Platform (to collaborate with other grant writers and instructors).
  • Personalized Feedback from the Course Instructors on Your Toolkit and Budget

How Does It Work? 

  1. Sign up for the project planning course (being sure to use the discount code we provide below for blog post readers!). 
  2. Receive your log in information by email. Log into the learngrantwriting.org online learning portal to access the Project Planning Course. 
  3. Click on the course and access the video content. Start at the top and go through it in sequential order. 
  4. Introduce yourself on the community platform by telling other students about you and your grant writing goals. 
  5. While watching the videos, you will see on the right hand side of the screen files to download. The two main tools you will download are the Project Planning Toolkit (a fillable PDF) and an Excel grant budget spreadsheet. 
  6. Complete the project planning toolkit to the best of your ability. If you want coaching feedback, post your toolkit to the community platform and our coaches will give you advice. Other students will weigh in as well, helping accelerate your progress! 
  7. Develop a draft budget spreadsheet for your project. Share your spreadsheet on the community platform and seek advice if you are stuck. 
  8. Once you have completed the online program and are happy with your project planning toolkit and budget, you can sign up for our online grant writing program. Most students begin this course two weeks after starting the project planning class. 
  9. You will have one year access to the community platform to continue to collaborate with other grant writers and receive coaching on completing your first grant application. You can stay engaged after that with a subscription membership or taking more advanced grant writing courses (coming soon!).

How Long Will It Take? The instructional videos can be watched in a single hour! We have spent A LOT of time distilling course concepts to get you underway as quickly as possible. What requires more time is completing your project planning toolkit. The length of time required will depend on the complexity of your project. Most are able to complete a sufficient first draft within a few hours. 

Developing a project budget is an essential step before starting to research grant availability. Create your first budget in a few hours and share it on the community platform to receive feedback on how to further refine it. 

As noted above, most students are able to start the online grant writing course two weeks after starting the project planning course. 

The Big Takeaway? The number one reason we see projects fail to get funding is because they are not properly planned. To make sure that doesn’t include you, we provide direct feedback on your project planning toolkit and budget. You will post your toolkit to the community platform and other students will also give you feedback and ideas. Our students say that this one-on-one coaching and community network is the most valuable part of the course. 

What If You Don’t Have a Project in Mind? That is okay! A lot of students sign up for this course because they want to learn grant writing as a potential side hustle business. If you don’t have a specific project in mind to learn course concepts, we suggest finding a local non-profit that you can help. If nothing comes to mind, you can post in our internal community platform and partner with another student. There is always something that needs grant funded! 

Discount for Blog Readers: Use discount code BLOG to get 25% off for reading this post when signing up for the project planning course!


If you don't already, be sure to follow us on Facebook for updates on blog posts, upcoming workshops, and success stories from other grant writers. 

Any questions? Contact Lead Course Instructor Meredith at [email protected]

Photo from Kawerak, Inc. from a grant writing workshop taught in Nome, Alaska.

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