• Course Introduction

        • Time: 13 hours
        • Free Certificate
        In this course, we explore how to write a coherent, persuasive grant proposal to obtain funding for a project or initiative. We focus on nonprofit organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) since they frequently depend on grant funding to support their mission. We begin by introducing the basics of nonprofit organizations, why they need funding, and the steps in the process of acquiring funding. We explore how to interpret calls for funding, known as requests for proposals (RFPs), followed by a step-by-step examination of the elements of a grant proposal, from writing the abstract to the evaluation plan. Then, we examine how to find funding sources and build relationships with funders that may support your organization. Finally, we review practical tips to help you write and revise your proposal.

        By the end of the course, you should have the tools to craft a strong grant proposal. While most of the references we offer are specific to the United States, the principles of writing a grant proposal are relevant to most countries.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: Nonprofit Organizations and Grant Funding

          In this unit, we examine the role of nonprofit organizations since they are primary recipients of grant funding in the United States and worldwide. These organizations leverage their grant funds to carry out projects supporting their mission. We also consider some resources that outline the grant funding application process.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.

        • Unit 2: The Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Applications (RFA)

          In this unit, we examine key features of grant funding announcements. Most funding agencies issue a formal announcement – a request for proposal (RFP) or request for application (RFA) – to advertise their readiness to receive applications from organizations seeking funding.

          Many organizations have a grant administrator, such as a grants manager, grant writer, grants coordinator, development officer, or fundraiser, on staff to research opportunities and apply for grant funding. They must be prepared to respond quickly since the deadline for receiving proposals is typically 4–6 weeks after the funding agency releases its RFP. Gathering the information and support materials for a comprehensive proposal takes time. Note that many funding agencies and foundations have the same annual deadline for the programs they administer, but you may need to respond to guideline changes.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

        • Unit 3: Key Elements of a Grant Proposal

          As we discussed in Unit 2, you should carefully prepare your grant proposal based on the guidance, instructions, and requirements outlined in the RFP. When a grant announcement lacks an accompanying RFP, try to include all elements that are part of a well-thought-out proposal. In this unit, we detail the components of a typical grant proposal.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 4: Researching, Approaching, and Maintaining a Relationship with a Grant-Funding Source

          Now that you understand the elements that go into a grant proposal, you need to conduct some research to find a funding source. You are charged with finding a funding agency that best matches the mission of your project, initiative, or organization so you can convince them that you are the most qualified candidate to address their needs. Your proposal should build a case and tell a compelling story about your organization and the project.

          Good deductive skills are essential to locating the information you need to support your grant writing efforts. As you conduct your research, keep the following three elements in mind.

          1. Focus on opportunities that match your organization's goals and objectives with those of the funder.
          2. Never try to create a program to fit the goals of the funding organization just to obtain money; think about what you want to accomplish with the funds. However, depending on the circumstances, it may be reasonable to tailor your project to align with the funders' goals.
          3. Only write grants for projects you attempt, regardless of whether you receive external funding.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

        • Unit 5: Writing Your Grant Proposal

          Grants are like a puzzle: you need to connect all of the pieces together in the right places to capture the full picture. In this unit, we help put the puzzle together. You should go through the unit before you sit down to write your proposal and review it afterward.

          Remember you are writing to convince a specific audience to fund your project – namely, your grant-funding agency and the readers or reviewers who examine your proposal. A key ingredient for success is understanding the funding agency's guidelines so you can present your best case that convinces them to support your project.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.