People who are good at grant writing often give it this air of mystique as if they have some secret code to winning. So, that creates psychological pressure on people who are new to the process and you're left feeling like its some cabal that you'll never join.
Despite what most people say, preparing proposals that win is not that complicated. If you can write a college essay, you can write a grant proposal. But there is an art to knowing when its worth your time writing that proposal.
Grantwriting is stressful for most of us because its almost a perfect storm of our culture's biggest stressors such as:
time crunches and hard deadlines
money - and often in quantities that result in possibly laying off your team or not providing services.
having your work scored/graded
facing possible rejection and defeat
most often it’s done on top of full-time jobs and so you’re writing in your ‘spare’ time
no certainty that your hard work will pay off
Really, the only thing worse would be if funders asked you to declare your weight and include a photo of you in a swimsuit :)
Four issues with most grant writing courses
I carefully designed this eight week, online course (we have a 60 minute call every week) to meet your needs because I saw that the most of the grantwriting courses on offer weren’t as effective as I thought they could be for four reasons:
Too Much Time At Once
It’s really, really tough for people to take 2-5 days off work plus travel time and costs. With current travel restrictions, it is impossible. This course is paced out and can be done from work or home.
It’s easy to forget what you’ve learned in overview courses 6 months down the road when you need to put it into action.
This course is designed to boost retention of the materials AND you’ll have long-term access so you can refer back to the materials when you are in the midst of writing.
It’s less than ideal to learn something in theory without putting into practice or to try and write a proposal draft during a week-long course because you don’t have time to do the necessary research and collaboration building.
If you have a project in mind coming into this course, you will build a draft and there will be plenty of time for feedback on your drafts.
Few People Complete Them
We now know that asynchronous online learning courses have a non-completion rate in the 90th percentile because they rely on the student to keep themselves on track despite competing demands and there is little accountability and camaraderie - I have addressed all of these issues in this course design.
23 Learning Outcomes
or...what you'll be able to do after the Grant Writer's Well
Nuts and Bolts
Receive guidance on how to present what you have to offer in a way that funders respond with a “YES.”
Know what to say to make a solid case for funding and what data to use.
If you have a project idea, you'll have a proposal draft that you’re excited about and is a reflection of your organization’s mission and vision for the future.
Develop a clear picture of how the grant funding system works.
Know where to look for private and public grant opportunities.
Learn first-hand about the qualities of outstanding proposals – the tricks of the trade.
Complete an assessment of your agency’s readiness for grant funding.
The ability to assess whether a prospect is worth pursuing by reading 990 PFs and RFPs.
Capacity to search for public grant opportunities and the Foundation Center database to identify prospective foundations.
Capacity to assess the prospect pool and begin to discern top priorities.
Know how to write the seven elements of a proposal.
Know how to write clearly and tell a good story.
Know how to put together a solid budget.
If you’ve looked at or taken any grant writing courses before, you’ll notice that most of this content is familiar. This is where most grant writing trainings stop.
I cover this content and also something that is just as critical...how you do it - that I describe below.
An understanding of the importance of creating positive relationships with funders.
A sense of ease about contacting program officers about potential projects.
The capacity to see the grant seeking process within an empowering context that gives you the courage to write and submit.
Create a powerful intention by clearly identifying your agency’s funding priorities.
Capacity to create a context of sufficiency and gratitude in which to do grant research.
You won't find yourself saying, "I don't know how to say this in a way that will make them fund it." Or "How on earth can I get a proposal submitted on time with everything else that I have to do?" Or "My grants never get funded" Or "I just don’t know grants language."
Have the capacity to tell your project or organization’s story from and to the heart, with integrity.
Feel more creativity and ease in writing proposals.
Know what grant writing is really about at its core.
Clearly understand the link between planning and success.
Feel nourished by the grant writing process and feel empowered to fulfill your vision for the world.
The Grantwriter's Well Online Course
In a nutshell, you’ll get
8 online modules
thoughtfully designed to teach you the art and science of grantwriting. Each week you'll get access to a module to work through at your own pace before our group coaching call.
8 45-minute coaching calls (Feb 2-Mar 26, 2021)
to answer your questions and provide guidance as you go through the materials. We'll also review your drafts as a group so you get feedback from lots of perspectives - including mine.
Write a full draft proposal
If you have a project idea, you'll have the opportunity to write a draft with my ongoing feedback
2 hour peer-review session (Early April 2021)
where we give constructive feedback on the drafts - this is invaluable to get a compassionate outsider’s perspective. This will be held in early April.
you’ll be able to access these materials whenever you want to for as long as I offer the course. This is invaluable because you can come back 6, 12 or 18 months from now when a grant deadline is looming.
1:1 private consultation and a private learning community
You will receive a 1:1 private consultation to identify/refine your project idea. You further develop this with your peer learning group.
Eight Modules of the Course Curriculum
The course is an in-depth 40 hour core curriculum that is delivered in 8 modules over 8 weeks. Each week you’ll be given access to the materials that will include core videos and exercises, plus additional handouts, guided meditations, and more.
If you have a project idea coming into the course, during the 8-weeks you will draft a grant proposal and review it with your peers. Many people find that the peer review process and mutual support is the most helpful element of the course. The course is delivered in a way to nourish and support you personally as you tackle this new task.
The focus will always be on writing a proposal that truly reflects your organization’s strengths and deepest commitments. It will give you precise tools for dissolving your fearful and/or erroneous stories about grant writing and what it takes to win - such as you have to know someone to get a grant. We will also help you develop approaches that are nurturing and leave you with a sense of confidence and trust in your own abilities. You can expect to work in teams to draft a proposal during the course and there will be plenty of time for Q&A and on-the-spot coaching. This is what we'll cover each week.
Preparing to Win
Making sure that your organization is grant ready and being clear about your organizational needs is the first step to success.
Planning Your Project
You can jump right in and write a proposal without careful planning but it won’t get funded. We take time to look at what makes your organization unique and where it is headed so that you only propose projects that are a perfect fit for your agency.
You can develop a great idea and write it with the skill of Hemingway but if you send it to the wrong funder, it will lose. In this class, we’ll see that foundations aren’t that mysterious if you know how to research them. I’ll show you how to find funders who are interested in your project.
The adage “People give money to people not programs” is a truism in the grant writing world. It not sufficient to just ‘write’ a proposal and send it out to an anonymous funder. The best investment you can make is to spend time building relationships. We’ll explain why and how to do it in this class.
Telling Your Story
Successful grant writing balances story and fact. In this class you'll learn how to convey the story of your project or organization in a compelling way. We’ll also cover what you need to know about designing your project so that you won’t regret the day that you won the grant because it’s a bear to implement.
Writing Your Proposal I
After all the preparation, we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of writing a proposal that you can be proud of. We’ll carefully go through each of the proposal components and what you need to say- and not say- in each of them. Includes Introduction, Needs, Goals & Objectives.
Writing Your Proposal II
This is where you take all your preparation in weeks 1-5 and put it into action. Includes: Methods, Evaluation, Budget, Dissemination, Sustainability.
Participants tell me that this is the most valuable part of the course. You will share your draft with your peers and receive their honest feedback from their perspective about what works and what doesn’t BEFORE you send it out.
What the course will be like for you
Before the course starts there will be some preparation work, such as introducing yourself to the group, and creating a team if you don’t already have one etc..
If you have a project idea, you can sign up for a 30 minute 1:1 consultation with me to hone in on some details and questions to give you a kick start.
If you don't have a project idea, I suggest that you work on a team with someone who does and learn from that process. In addition, I suggest that you might want to focus in on a specific aspect of the process. You are always welcome to sign up for a 1:1 consult if project ideas comes into focus for you.
If you have some experience with grant writing, you will find that this revives you and gives you a saner way to approach the process. Feel free to sign up for a 1:1 consult if you would like to talk through where you find yourself getting hung up in the proposal process.
On Friday evenings you will receive an email with a link with the week’s course materials. You’ll have the week to go through them and do the exercises – in some cases with your buddy. All the information is broken into digestible chunks so you won’t get overwhelmed. You might choose do to do an hour a day or set aside an afternoon each week.
If you have extra time because of COVID19 and would like to work through the materials at a faster pace, just let me know and I can give you access to the modules as you complete them.
The following week at 4:00pm EST on Tuesdays and 1:00pm on Fridays we’ll have a live 45 minute Q&A session via Zoom and I’ll answer any questions that have come up for you. If you have questions in the interim you can post them in the course materials.
For the weeks 6 and 7, you’ll take all that you’ve learned and compile a draft – you’ll need at least 8-10 hours each week to do that. I know that’s a lot of time for most non-profit folks but you know that you get out of anything what you put into it.
Once your draft is complete, we’ll share them with each other via googledocs and everyone will read each other’s draft and make constructive comments. During the Peer Review Session, we’ll take 10-15 minutes to offer feedback to each person on their draft.
Overall this is an in-depth, interactive holistic experience designed to be solid yet light, focused and expansive, logical and creative, energizing and calming, powerful and grounding and full of air – a nice balance.
Here's what you also get in this course
The problem with most grant trainings is that you take the class and then months later when you come to write a proposal you find you've forgotten a lot of what you've learned or the online courses are available for a limited period.
I've solved this problem by giving you long-term access to all the class materials and recordings for as long as you want them. You'll have long-term access (as long as I offer the class and I don't plan to stop anytime soon) to this material so that you can dip into it whenever you want a refresher or have an immediate deadline.
Private Consultation and Peer Support
You'll be invited to join a closed group of all Grantwriter’s Well participants. I'll be actively involved in the group and answer any questions that come up. I also invite you to find an accountability buddy to go through the course with you. It will give you another perspective and be helpful to have their support for your work.
Grantwriting Coaching Sessions
At the beginning of the course, you'll receive a 30 minute 1:1 coaching session with me. In addition, each week you’ll get a 45-minute live group Q&A calls in which you can ask me any questions that have come up as you’ve been working through the materials. Did you ever take a class and then try to put what you learned into action and hit a snag or run into something they didn't cover in class and then feel stumped? Me too, that's why I'm including this component. I'm a skilled coach and absolutely love sharing what I know about the field through these coaching sessions.
This course is NOT for you if...
You have years of grantwriting success under your belt (I have other programs that might be better suited to you).
If you don’t have an organization that you are working with or are brand new to your job and/or a project in mind, you’ll struggle to get the most out of this course. You will learn some things and be able to circle back around later, but its not ideal.
You don’t have 4 hours a week to put into the course – and 16 hours during weeks 6 & 7.
I’m a progressive liberal inspired by radical re-imagining of our world as a place that supports EVERYONE - if you’re offended by that then this isn’t the course for you.
You don’t have internet access to the internet, googledocs, etc.
You can’t be on any of the live calls (4pm EST on Tuesdays, 1:00pm on Fridays).
You hold fundamental religious beliefs that don't allow you to expand into new experiences and ideas.
You’re not strong at self-motivation and self-discipline since you will need those to keep yourself on track to do the coursework between live sessions. Like anything in life – you’ll get what you put into this course.
You desperately need to win grant funding to pay your salary right now.
You want to raise money quickly for something that isn't easy to fundraise for - such as lobbying or esoteric art projects with limited appeal.
You want to raise money for a for-profit business.
The story of how this course came into being
In the summer of 2017, I walked (and biked when my shins gave out) 500 miles across Spain with my daughter along the Camino de Santiago.
Walking the Camino was the closest thing that I have experienced to the world that I’ve been working to create my whole life. On the Camino, there are people from all over the world who walk, talk, and eat together and just get along. There’s the semblance of a gift culture (you may know, I gave my book on a gift basis to promote gift culture). There’s awareness and genuine gratitude for the people who have gone before you who have left food and belongings in their wake, and a sense of wanting to care for those who come after you.And a few simple belongings carried on my back were sufficient. I got to spend 7+ hours a day in nature which was truly and deeply nourishing. And there are a whole host of volunteers in hostels who find fulfillment in supporting and caring for the pilgrims at the end of the day.
On the Camino, I touched a sense of the generous, simple, and gentle world that my heart has always yearned for and I return with my heart broken open. I felt grief and sadness that it’s a dream not fully realized more widely in the world, AND, I know that it IS possible – even when so much looks to be going in the wrong direction.
When I got home, I realized that it was time to take the course that I’d taught locally and get it out in an online format to you so that you can use the skills to create a world that works for everyone and in which all life is honored as sacred.
I have worked for decades through my grantwriting to support visionary people in realizing their dreams for our collective future. So, I’d love the honor of sharing with you what I’ve learned and and instead of doing it in a fast-paced, high-pressure and fear-driven environment we’ll be in action with spaciousness, graciousness and love present.
If you're reading this, I know you care deeply about the world and are dedicated to the greater good.
And, if you're like most people with a conscience right now, your heart vacillates between your commitment to love being presenced in the world and despair and rage with the current state of global affairs.
I know that you appreciate that we’ve been freely gifted a bountiful earth for us to enjoy and know there simply must be kinder and gentler ways for us to distribute the bounty so that everyone thrives.
In an ideal world, good-hearted, hard-working people like you and I wouldn’t have to spend hours writing grant proposals to compete for limited money from the government and foundations for programs that provide basic necessities to people who need them, or to protect the planet from wanton destruction and depletion of its resources by corporations.
But, for now, the world is what it is.
I'd love to be like the guy on late night TV with the dollar signs on his jacket raving about how much money is out there and all you have do is apply. Or to teach a 1 or 2 day class and send you on your way knowing that you'll do fine.
But, I'd be pumping you with falsehoods and not giving you the skills that you need. And it would leave you prey to feeling like you're doing something wrong.
Grant writing is not difficult but it is super competitive and so you do have to know how it works and be really strategic in how you spend your time.
You have a good heart and I want you to thrive.
So, the best that I can do is share my decades of grant writing experience to help you be more effective in getting more money for your organization for years to come.
Does this sound familiar?
You're working from home, concerned about the impact of COVID-19 and want to develop or brush up on your grant writing skills so that you are ready to win grants in an increasingly competitive grant environment.
You’re building a career dedicated to social change and know that grant writing is a skill that you'd like to have in your tool belt.
Your boss asked you to start writing proposals but you’re daunted because you’ve heard others talking about how difficult it is.
Or, you love your nonprofit but know that you really need to diversify the funding base for its long-term health and your peace of mind but find yourself thinking, "I see other organizations getting grants. I want us to get just as many but I'm not sure how.”
And... while you yearn to be a powerful force for greater good you also want to
live a balanced life.
And, it would TOTALLY float your boat to feel confident in your grant writing skills knowing that you can use them to create the world that you dream of for future generations.
If so… then you're in the right place my friend because the Grant Writer’s Well is designed for you.