A new session of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.
All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when lessons are released. You will have access to all lessons until the course ends. However, the interactive discussion area that accompanies each lesson will automatically close two weeks after the lesson is released. As such, we strongly recommend that you complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks to complete all of your course work, including the final exam.
Lesson 01 – Grant Writer Roles
This first lesson will explore the roles of a grant writer. You will learn about the grant writing profession, what a grant writer does, and, most importantly, the work ethics of a grant writer. As an employee or consultant, realizing just how much a grant writer is expected to do will help you understand the grant profession and the multiple job titles of people who are assigned to write grant requests. By the end of the lesson, you will have had an extensive overview of the field of grant writing and the expected ethics of a grant writer.
Lesson 02 – Grant Funding Research
What are the best websites for researching grant funding opportunities? So many are rip-off websites, how will you determine what is real and what is fake? In this lesson, you learn how to use different kinds of trusted online grant-research databases to locate funding opportunities for your organization and its projects. By the end of the lesson, you will have developed expert skills in entering on-target keyword search terms for finetuning your grant funding research.
Lesson 03 – Grant Writing Planning Process
If you know that your nonprofit or NGO needs additional funding, why do you need to understand the grant planning process? In this lesson, you’ll learn how to expedite and navigate the grant planning process by using a Theory of Change Grant Project Planning Worksheet. Why can’t you just get started by writing your grant proposal? This lesson will also provide rational justification on why the planning process for projects in need of grant funding is a critical step that cannot be bypassed. This pre-writing planning process also enables the grant writer to gather valuable ideas from the project’s stakeholders. By the end of the lesson, you’ll be eager to explore more information about conducting a Theory of Change Grant Project planning meeting.
Lesson 04 – Introduction to Peer Review and Constructive Feedback
What is peer review and why is it needed? Why do grant writers need a peer to review their work before hitting the submit button? How important is peer review? In this lesson, you’ll learn the importance of providing and receiving feedback from peers. You’ll also learn about the fundamentals of the peer- review process in the grant-writing industry. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be better able to understand the benefits of peer review by experiencing it firsthand during this course’s peer-to-peer review process.
Lesson 05 – Executive Summary
How can you summarize any topic before you write the finite details about it? How does the executive summary fit into the Theory of Change Grant Project planning process? In this lesson, you’ll learn the purpose of an executive summary in the Theory of Change Grant Project planning process. You’ll also learn how to outline the information needed for the executive summary. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to extract information for an executive summary during a Theory of Change Grant Project planning process.
Lesson 06 – Statement of Need for Funding
Why do you have to prove that you need funding? Can’t a potential funder just look at your financial statements and tell that your organization is operating on a shoestring? In this lesson, you’ll learn that potential funders require extensive information about your target population, the people or animals or other types of projects in need of funding. You’ll also see that funders require validated information to justify a grant request. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to quickly drill down the research and statistics needed to present your statement-of-need narrative for potential funding sources.
Lesson 07 – Benefit to the Target Population
How will grant funding change the dire circumstances for your target population? How will you explain the return on a funder’s investment in quantitative terms to show how grant funding will impact your grant project’s outcomes? In this lesson, you’ll learn how grant-funded projects can initiate change. You will also learn how to delineate the benefits for your target population when the change unfolds within their circumstances. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to articulate return-on-investment outputs for funders.
Lesson 08 – Project Goals and Measurable Objectives
When you try to write your goals, are you often confused as to how our daily to-do’s (aka goals to complete) differ from the goals for a grant project? In this lesson, you will learn about the types of goals for a grant project. You will also learn the correct way to write non-measurable and measurable project goals to include in your final grant application. Using the Theory of Change Grant Project Planning Worksheet, you’ll learn how to create project goals for funding requests. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to create measurable project objectives for each goal.
Lesson 09 – Evidence-Based Solutions to Address the Need
Did you know that your solutions to solve the target population’s needs must be evidence based? Did you know that potential funders rely on accurate, well-researched best-practice models to form the framework for all of the activities that you plan to carry out when your grant project is funded? In this lesson, you’ll learn how to research evidence-based solutions and why potential funders require them. You’ll also learn how to use the Internet to identify best-practice models in your project’s subject area. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to create activities and timelines for your grant-funded project’s implementation plan.
Lesson 10 – Resources
How do you think a potential funder views your grant request when you have nothing to leverage against the grant project’s budget request? In this lesson, you will learn how to identify the internal resources available for grant projects. You’ll also learn how to identify the external resources for your grant project. By the end of this lesson, with the help of your stakeholders, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive list of internal and external resources during a Theory of Change Grant Project planning meeting.
Lesson 11 – Funding Outcomes and Evaluation
Why does every funder’s guidelines for submitting a grant request include a section on your funding outcomes and how you will evaluate the grant-funded project? How can you predict outcomes before the funding is awarded? In this lesson, you’ll learn how to fully describe the outcomes for your grant project during the Theory of Change Grant Project planning process. You’ll also learn how your project’s stakeholders can help you outline the changes that will happen for the target population as a direct effect of the project’s funding. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to create an evaluation plan that describes your grant-funded project’s projected success.
Lesson 12 – Developing a Project Budget
Do you get nervous when you have to guess how much funding is needed to support the implementation of a grant project? Is juggling numbers your least favorite task? In this lesson, you’ll learn how to outline your project’s budget expenses by using every narrative section that you’ve already written in your Theory of Change Grant Project Planning Worksheet. You’ll also learn how to justify each line-item expense for your grant project. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to quickly identify the difference between soft and hard cash leveraging funds and to develop a comprehensive grant project budget summary and a detailed narrative document.