Course Syllabus

Welcome to PRDV009: Writing Grant Proposals

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.


Course Description

Explore how to write a coherent, persuasive grant proposal to obtain funding for a project or initiative by focusing on topics like the basics of nonprofit organizations, how to interpret RFPs, the elements of a grant proposal, and how to find funding sources and build relationships with funders.


Course Introduction

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 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 to acquire 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 you need to craft a strong grant proposal. While most of the references in this course are specific to the United States, the principles of writing a strong grant proposal are the same in most countries.

This course includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Nonprofit Organizations and Grant Funding
  • Unit 2: The Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Application (RFA)
  • Unit 3: Key Elements of a Grant Proposal
  • Unit 4: Researching, Approaching, and Maintaining a Relationship with a Grant-Funding Source
  • Unit 5: Writing Your Grant Proposal


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • characterize nonprofit organizations and how they acquire grant funding;
  • interpret calls for grant funding and summarize how grant applications are typically assessed;
  • describe the key elements of a grant proposal and how to create your own;
  • identify potential sources of grant funding and explain how to create relationships with funders; and
  • apply recommended practices for conceiving, writing, editing, and revising your own proposal.

Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.

All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.


Tips for Success

PRDV009: Writing Grant Proposals is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 12 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context, and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
  • As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory, and will make you more likely to retain information over time.


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.

For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.



This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

Last modified: Monday, October 12, 2020, 7:36 PM