Grant Writing Tips

and Tricks

Grants for Organizations Serving Veterans

grants Nov 12, 2018


Veterans – thank you for your service.

As we think about the sacrifices Veterans (and their families) have made for us on this day, the team at LearnGrantWriting.Org wanted to share a few grant opportunities for organizations serving Veterans. We will close with a few tips on how to evaluate a funding opportunity to determine if it is worth pursuing.

Disabled Veterans National Foundation Capacity Building Grants 

Overview: The Capacity Building Grants provide support to our nation’s veterans. These grants are awarded to organizations around the country who are addressing the mental and physical recovery of veterans in unique ways. Service dogs, equine therapy, yoga, art therapy, and recreational therapy are just a few of the innovative programs that DVNF supports.

Grant Amount: Up to $25,000

Deadlines: Letter of inquiry February 9, 2019, full proposal due March 9, 2019.

Eligibility: Must be a 501(c)3 non-profit




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Applying Design Thinking to Community Negotiations

This week I was in Koyukuk, Alaska helping the tribe and city agree on how to best share the responsibilities of maintaining their road system. We also worked on rebooting plans for a new community hall. To facilitate these discussions, I borrowed exercises from IBM’s Design Thinking. The process was 10x richer than a traditional public meeting and gave clear direction on where to focus.  


We were going to kick off the transportation planning meeting with a Hopes and Fears exercise, but delicious snacks and socializing took a bit longer than planned. It’s still my all-time favorite way to start a meeting with a new group of people, however, and here’s why:

  • Helps the facilitator tailor the rest of the session to address the hopes and fears raised.
  • If fears are persisting as the project evolves, then I know what to focus on to address those underlying issues.
  • It helps everyone get comfortable being transparent and open with each other, and...
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Koyukuk Next Week! Community Hall & Transportation Agreements

Next week I go to Koyukuk, Alaska to help city and tribal staff advance their priority community projects. I’m really looking forward to it and hopeful that I’ll get to see the northern lights!

Koyukuk (pronounce KOY-yuh-kuck), is a community of around 100 people on the Yukon River about 300 air miles west of Fairbanks. I’ll be taking a small plane from Fairbanks to get there and it should take about three hours. It’s also November, so I’ll be packing plenty of warm layers!

Like many rural Alaska Native communities (and frankly all communities!), Koyukuk has limited resources to provide basic services. One of the main challenges they face is upkeep of the existing road system. They have about three miles of road in the community with many more trails during the winter connecting Koyukuk to nearby villages.

As you can imagine, keeping roads in good condition is a significant challenge in a place that experiences severe flooding and drastic temperature...

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Inspiration for Ideas: Funding for a Historic City Hall

When I’m looking for inspiration on how to get a complicated project funded, I like to see how others funded their projects. This week we will look at funding opportunities for a historic city hall.

To be clear, city hall or other municipal-type buildings can be extremely difficult to secure grant funding. This is because it is expected that those expenses are covered by local government revenues. Occasionally though, you will have a unique case for getting your project funded, and that was the case for this project.

Instead of moving City Hall to the outskirts of the community with a new building, they were working to preserve and upgrade the historic building that originally housed city administration. This small community was known for valuing its historic assets and having a charming downtown.

Here are the ideas that I presented to them (back in 2017!):

Washington State Historical Society: Heritage Capital Projects Fund – This program is your best option for...

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Tips for Writing Your First Draft of a Grant Narrative

It seems like the internet is filled with general grant writing tips that aren’t too useful. I don’t want to add to the noise at all, but these tips are genuine rules I try to live by when grant writing. Why? It makes the writing process faster and helps your grant reviewer find the information they need.

The tips below assume you have already set up a narrative ‘skeleton’ or template for filling in your responses. If you haven’t, download our free mini course on narrative writing to learn how to prep your narrative. Once you have that in place and are ready to start writing, here are tips and tricks to consider:

Write fast and furiously! It can be so tempting to go look up facts or information, but in your first draft try to not leave the word document. While you are typing, just make notes of sections you want to add facts or information and come back to it later. Use bullet points to list ideas. Ideally turn off your internet so you can’t be...

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What You Need Before You Start Applying for Grants

It can be tempting to jump into the grant writing process too soon. This can be especially true when we see a deadline nearing and think “it’s the perfect grant for us!” Before you pour hours into a pursuit, to only find out it wasn’t successful, we suggest having at very minimum the following planning complete:

  • A Problem Statement
  • Project Description
  • Rough Cost Estimate

A problem statement is a paragraph describing the problem or opportunity that urgently needs addressed. Make it clear what problem is being solved with your project? Just because you think it’s a good idea, doesn’t warrant it worthy of funding. In a few sentences give context to the project. How many people are affected? How is health or the environment impacted? Why does this matter? Here is an example:

“The only way to access the community of Rampart year-round is by small passenger air-carrier three times a week from Fairbanks for $190/roundtrip. The Rampart Airport is...

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Why I Decided to Develop Online Grant Writing Courses

grant writing Sep 25, 2018

After five years of grant writing in a fast-paced consulting environment, I vowed to never write another grant. I was the ultimate example of what burnout looks like.

When meeting new people, I would try and guise my past work. The moment someone finds out you are a grant writer, it’s game over! Everyone wants help finding money!

Despite my attempts to squash all inquiries for help with grant writing, I slowly started to realize that I do have something to give here. While I don’t want to be a full-time grant writer anymore, I like helping others develop the skill set.

This last Spring, I went to my family’s cattle ranch to help with calving season. Ranching allows for a lot of time to just think. It was here that I started to entertain the idea of developing an online grant writing training so others could become experts in the field.

I decided to go for it and started creating course content based on my in-person grant writing workshops. I thought I could have...

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