College Course Making Argument For Developing Effective Grant Writing Skills

Writing is poised for a rebound. When employers must choose among candidates with similar attributes, a study shows the applicant with the strongest written communications skills is likely to be given strongest consideration for the position.

But few college students appear to be on the right track toward discovering the lost art of writing. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 41 percent of the employers that took part in an annual survey believed recent college graduates to be less than proficient in oral and written communications. In other words, in the eyes of these employers, six out of 10 college graduates do not possess strong communication skills.

No wonder grant writers are so high in demand. While a bachelor’s degree – typically in English, journalism, communications, or marketing – is required of most grant writing positions — previous experience will go a long way toward helping job seekers get a foot in the door of an employer who needs help with proposals.

By enrolling in a grant writing class, students at Hartwick College are putting their best foot forward, and local nonprofit organizations are benefiting from the unique skills they are acquiring. The course, “Introduction to Grant Writing,” prepares students to develop and submit a proposal on behalf of a local nonprofit in Oneonta, N.Y. Students are versed in writing, designing and revising a proposal and identifying grants and funding sources.

In the latest offering, students were matched with nonprofits and wrote grants for Girls on the Run, the EDD Memorial Fund, Valleyview Elementary School, the Oneonta Fire Department, and Hartwick College’s Yager Museum of Art & Culture.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said many students who study grant writing go on to find writing for a purpose to be a rewarding career. But, as in most professions, a good grant writer must keep up with the latest advances in technology and industry trends. Grant Writing Institute (GWI.education), a service of GrantWatch, is now preparing a practical online curriculum geared to those who are either new to grant writing or are looking to hone their skills and gain new insights into crafting winning proposals.

Carolyn Cooper, who teaches the course at Hartwick College, said developing grants requires a specific style of writing. Each student who applies for the introductory course is pre-screened and required to submit a writing sample. But, the hands-on experience isn’t limited to students. Each semester, the class welcomes a member of the community to participate. And students are not sole proprietors of the grant writing accomplishments, either.

Thanks to the communication efforts of Assistant Chief Jim Maloney, a course participant last year, the Oneonta Fire Department was awarded a $5,785 grant to purchase particulate-filtering hoods for firefighters. This year, Joanna Cacciola, a development assistant at Hartwick College, secured a $5,000 grant for the Community Arts Network of Oneonta, for which she doubles as board secretary.

Hikind said grant writing is a skilled craft that involves time, accurate management plans and well-packaged reporting mechanisms. The process and the ability to communicate a vision should not be underestimated.

But, many nonprofits as well as small businesses and government agencies cannot afford to invest in hiring or training a grant writer. Those individuals or organizations without the required human resources turn to GrantWriterTeam.com to request a grant writer. Proposal writers at GrantWriterTeam.com  bid on the requests of grant-seeking organizations who wish to have their ideas translated into compelling statements that demonstrate the effectiveness of their products or services to funding sources.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling proposal for funds are encouraged to sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

 

About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantWatch.com

Education, Advanced Training Provide Backbone for Developing Strong, Qualified Grant Writers

When the National Science Foundation awarded Jeffrey Gustafson a $400,000 grant, the chemistry professor at San Diego State University credited the lessons he learned as a fellow in a faculty mentorship program for helping him obtain funding for his research.

The Grants Research and Enterprise Writing (GREW) fellowship at San Diego State has taught nearly 90 early-career faculty members how to communicate effectively with grant officers, develop successful proposals and share their research with media and other stakeholders. Since GREW began in 2014, fellows have received nearly $20 million in grants. Of the more than 400 submissions reviewed by agencies, 43 percent have met with approval — a higher-than-average success rate.

Crafting effective requests for funding can be competitive, confusing and overwhelming, but the good news is that grant writing can be learned. Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said good grant writers need skills beyond strong grammar and punctuation. An effective grant writer will know how to communicate and convey a message to different audiences; research funding opportunities; and build and maintain relationships with funding sources.

Grant Writing Institute, a service of GrantWatch, is preparing a curriculum that will integrate the latest advances in technology and industry trends together with both practical and theoretical insights to design a curriculum that can be applied to any organization to help secure grant funding. These professional development courses will help novice and current grant writers attain a strong set of skills that can immediately be put into practice.

Curriculum should never be created in a vacuum. Our team of experts want to know what you feel you need to know to be successful in the grant application process. Using the list below – as a sampling of possible course options, tell us which classes you would be interested in and what you would like us to add or replace. 

Write to learn@gwi.education. Your influence matters.

  • Grant Writing for Beginners
  • How to Write a Competitive Grant Proposal
  • How to Write a Compelling Mission and Needs Statements
  • How to Write Goals and Objectives Statements
  • How to Take Advantage of Charts
  • How to Budget for Grant Writing
  • How to Effectively Research Grant Funding Sources
  • How to Strategically Plan Grant Proposal Submittals
  • How to Maintain Relationships with Funding Sources
  • How to Take Advantage of Social Media to Identify Funding Sources
  • Understanding Review Processes
  • Understanding Outcomes and Evaluating Processes

If you have a background in journalism, public relations, marketing or English or a liberal arts degree as well as a desire to serve as a voice for nonprofit programs and services, think about working as a grant writer. More than 1.5 million nonprofits and hundreds more organizations that rely on grants in the United States demand your unique qualities and skills.

Grant writers who can help secure funds for projects from public and private foundations, government sources and corporations are in high demand. Those who already possess skills in writing, research and communication and are persistent, personable, organized and creative are off to head start toward securing grant funds.

GrantWriterTeam.com receives a high number of requests from organizations that seek qualified grant writers. Nonprofits, without the funds to hire a full time in-house grant writer often turn to GrantWriterTeam.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling grant proposal should sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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Grant Writing: Defining Mission and Vision Statements in Application Process

Most organizations have a mission and vision. Both should articulate the long-term direction that guides an organization’s daily operations. These statements are also required in most grant applications on GrantWatch.com and each has a separate function in the process.

A mission is a clear, concise and useful statement that defines the purpose of an organization. It conveys what the organization will do, who will do it and the target audience that will be served. A mission should be an overarching snapshot and stated in no more than a 20-word paragraph. The shorter the better.

Example of a Mission Statement:

American Heart Association: To build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

A vision would state the end results of an organization’s efforts if success could be guaranteed. Most vision statements need not be grand. Effective visions should inspire and aspire and serve as a framework for future planning. The statement, too, should be short in length and very broad in scope.

Example of a Vision Statement:

Alzheimer’s Association: A world without Alzheimer’s disease.

In summary: mission and vision statements are more than just statements on grant applications. When crafted effectively, they are easy-to-recognize tools for recruiting interest in an organization and helpful to focus members on a common purpose.

About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantWatch.com

Grant Writing: Eliminating the Confusion between Goals and Objectives

Grants are an essential means for nonprofits to support their activities and programs. Writing a successful proposal to a government agency, corporation, foundation or trust does not have to be a daunting task. But, to be eligible for funding, a grant proposal must be submitted.

Nonprofits including charities, artistic foundations and educational programs will find many funding opportunities consistent with their organization’s mission listed at GrantWatch.com. Once a grant is identified at GrantWatch, your challenge will be to put together a well-conceived proposal that will influence the funding source to pay for your project.

Just about every Request for Proposals will require some form of a statement describing goals and objectives or what you specifically want to accomplish. Most successful nonprofits already have a clear set of goals tied to specific and measurable objectives. Because they provide a foundation for your arguments, goals and objectives are the most critical statements in a winning grant proposal.

Projects generally have one goal or an over-arching broad and visionary statement. The goal of your organization should be worthy and attainable and broadly define what you hope to achieve. Your goal should be hard to measure.

Goal Example:  To reduce the current unmet need of young children accessing high-quality early childhood learning programs.

A goal should not define your strategy. That’s conveyed in the objective, which will list very specific steps for achieving the goal and answer the need for what your organization’s proposal will address. In contrast to goals, an objective should be narrow, precise and measurable.

Objective Example: Increase the availability of high-quality, responsive early childhood and prekindergarten programs available to Rockaway children by purchasing a larger Head Start facility (increasing enrollment from 186 to 600); by establishing and providing Early Head Start home-, center-, family-, and care provider-based programs (program will provide new services to 400 children); by providing ongoing collaborative professional development, peer support, and coaching to community partners, Head Start, prekindergarten, and care providers; and by attracting new high-quality preschool, prekindergarten, and early learning programs into the Rockaway area.

Allow plenty of time to accomplish your objectives, which can be used later to evaluate the success of your program. If there is no way to measure an objective, it should not be written into your proposal.

About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantWatch.com

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