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If you wish to use your writing and research skills to help your community, grant writing classes can help you learn to craft proposals that will help non-profit organizations get the funding they need to achieve their objectives. While it's true that many grant writing skills are simply acquired through practice, taking an introductory course is a good way to get a solid foundation in what makes a proposal successful. However, it's important to keep in mind that some grant writing courses will be more useful than others.
Obviously, the experience of the instructor is an important factor to consider when selecting a grant writing course. How long has he or she been in the grant writing business? What grants has he or she won? As a novice grant writer, you want to learn from someone with as much experience as possible. A class taught by someone with a poor track record in getting grants isn't going to be much more useful than reading grant writing books from your local library.
Having a chance to get feedback on your proposal writing skills is another important component of useful grant writing classes. Even if you pride yourself on having strong writing skills, you may be making simple mistakes that undermine your chances of securing grant funding. For example, it's common for new grant writers to forget that the committee making the grant awards won't have any background knowledge of the organization's objectives.
If you are interested in starting your own grant writing business or trying to find a full-time position as a grant writer, you will want to ask if the course is designed to help you pass the certification exam offered by the American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP). Through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPC), this organization tests knowledge of grant construction, public sector funding, private sector funding, professional ethics, and accountability for the use of grant funds. Although this certification is not required for working as a grant writer, the credential does add a significant boost to your resume.
The format of the course is mostly a matter of personal preference. Many community colleges offer grant writing classes, with some sections being taught during evening or weekend hours to better accommodate the needs of working adults. However, online grant writing classes are an option to consider as well. If you are able to manage your time well and don't mind missing out on the personal interaction in a traditional classroom setting, online learning is a convenient way to acquire the grant writing skills you need.
It is possible to take classes for grant writing that are tailored to specific types of grants. You can find grants for non profits, grants in the healthcare industry and technology grants.
If you know the field that you want to work in it is worth it to find out if there is a dedicated course. There are things about grant writing that are universal and other things that are specific to industries.
Any good grant proposal writing class will focus on more than just the mechanics and the procedure of grant writing. It will also go into the delicate and mysterious art of writing a grant that will actually get approved.
Ultimately, grant writing is a lot like copy writing just dressed up with a lot of facts, figures and dry language. But the grant has to stand out, has to grab attention and has to excite and compel the reader. Writing this way is difficult to do and even harder to teach. But the best grant writing workshops will touch on this.
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