Grant WritingI started out just looking for a basic grant writing 101 guide and was surprised to find so many resources available for free, even classes and full text books.

Even if you eventually hire a consultant or purchase training material, these resources will provide a good introduction to the basic terminology and concepts of grant funding. I’m sure there’s plenty of tips for experienced grant seekers too!

(Links will open in a new window)

1. Proposal Outline This outline describes the seven basic components for a grant proposal. From the Resource Development Initiative, a collaboration of the United Way of Palm Beach County and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

2. Grantseeking Basics The four steps in the grant writing process. Provided by the Minnesota Council on Foundations, based on their popular and time-tested grantseeking courses and materials.

3. The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox. Published by Carroll & Graf Publishers in 2003, you can read the book in its entirety through Google Books preview.

4. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grant Writing by Waddy Thompson. The printed version of this book (available for purchase online and off) includes a CD. You can preview and read the entire text through Google Books.

5. Don Griesmann’s Grant Opportunities a frequently updated list of grants, delivered by email or online and hosted by CharityChannel.

6. Proposal Writing Basics A free 60 minute class that provides an introduction to the grant process for new proposal writers. Available in Atlanta, Cleveland New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

7. Proposal Budgeting Basics This free class covers an essential component of any grant proposal, the budget. Available in Atlanta, Cleveland New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

8. Foundations and Their Role in Philanthropy A free online course offered by The Foundation Center. This course is intended for anyone who wants to know more about foundations, their giving, and their role in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

9. Getting Ready for Foundation Fundraising A free online course offered by The Foundation Center. Covers the organizational elements for non profits who intend to apply from grants from foundations.

10. Introduction to Fundraising Planning Another free online course offered by The Foundation Center. Provides an overview of the process of strategically thinking through the components of a fundraising plan, which would include grants and other sources.

11. Black Sheep Fundraising: Rethinking Major Gifts for Your Stigmatized Nonprofit by Jay Mendell. The author offers a free download of this book on his website. Jay S. Mendell is professor of nonprofit management at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches graduate courses in grantwriting and major gifts fundraising.

12. Anatomy of a Grant Proposal by Richard Lambert of The Idea Bank. This 15 page report based upon the author’s workshops, provides descriptions and tips for each of the key components of a grant proposal.

13. Advocacy Funding This 36 page guide discusses the strategies for funding advocacy, something that foundations may be cautious about, but that is crucial to the mission of many non profit organizations. This is one of several free reports provided by GrantCraft, a project of the Ford Foundation. The reports are designed for foundations not grantees, but may offer insight into the perspective of funders.

14. Non-profit Guides are free Web-based grant-writing tools for non-profit organizations, charitable, educational, public organizations, and other community-minded groups.

15. A to Z Grantwriting In this free monthly newsletter professional grantwriter and grantwriting instructor Linda Vallejo includes many new grant opportunities, listed by category.

16. Sample Proposals View sample foundation and federal grant proposals from consulting firm, Colorado Grants.

17. Free Guide to Plain English If your proposal is too wordy or jargon filled it might not get read. Make sure your grant proposal is written in plain English with this free chapter of the book Editing and Proofreading by Tim North of Scribe Consulting.

18. The Secrets of Their Success This free 9 page report from the Grantmanship Center includes 7 pointers from experienced grantseekers. Learn from those who have “been there done that!”

19. US Census Data includes information needed for grant proposals and community needs assessment. The Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Tool Kit has organized data that may be useful to non profits. There are other resources that can be accessed from the US Census Bureau home page.

20. Grant Proposal Checklist Print out this three page checklist to be sure that your proposal has all the needed information. Provided as a free resource from Grant Writers Online.

This post is part of the Grant Writing article series:

1. 8 Keys to Grant Strategy Success by Robert P. Stewart
2. 20 Free Grant Writing Resources for Non-Profits by Sandra Sims
3. Building Relationships with Foundations by Sandy Rees
4. Secrets From A Grant Reviewer by Katie Krueger

You can find additional links for grant databases and other resources on the grants page in the directory.

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Posted on 13 August 2008

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The Beginners System For Writing Funded Grant Proposals All the tools you need to discover available grants, plan and write successful proposals to get your cause funded!

Complete a grant request in just 5 days
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10 pages listing grant sources & databases
Proposal checklist ensures you don't leave anything out
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Find out more about this great resource!

55 Comments For This Post

  1. Tomika says:

    Thank you!

  2. Sandra Sims says:

    Thanks Tomika, glad you found it useful. :)

  3. Vicky says:

    Very useful information, I will be checking these tips out! Thank You!

  4. Bernie says:

    How do I find a donor that is compatible with my need when it is not listed on the list of categories?

  5. Sandra Sims says:

    Hi Bernie, that is a good question. What type of charity are you raising funds for?

  6. clive says:

    do we in south africa quilfy

  7. Sandra Sims says:

    There are many foundations that fund work in Africa. It just takes some time to do the online searches to find them. Follow the links on our grant page in the directory here. There is a long list at Fundsnet Services and more links can be found on the International Page of our directory. Wishing you much success in your work.

  8. Duke Peebles says:

    My wife and I are researching opportunities to open a non profit orginization that will include buying tax forclosed homes and turn them into affordable housing for saving neighborhoods to fill a much needed gap. We are looking at our best options and came across your information. We understand that we will be competing against others. We will be different because ours will house its own bank loan officer, mortgage broker, and real estate agent. We will also introduce programs to help clients short term and long term goals to help make their transition lasting. Our question is: Is it more effective to ask for a grant writer to write for us, or is it more prudent for us to write this grant ourselves.
    Thank you,
    Duke & Deb Peebles

  9. Sandra Sims says:

    Duke, If it were possible for you to work with an established nonprofit it may have several benefits for you. It sounds like you have not completed the set up of the organization, the 501c3 federal registration. This takes months and in many cases, years, to finish. The 501c3 must be received from the IRS, or you have to work under the umbrella of another organization before you can apply for any grants.

    If you partner with an established organization, your work with foreclosed homes would be classified as a project. Often foundations will be more likely to fund grants for projects under an existing nonprofit than they are to fund general operations or new organizations respectively.

    As for hiring a grant writer, I would recommend first learning as much yourself as you can about grants and grant writing. Creating a case statement and vision for the project will help shape your work and communications, not just grants. A grant writing class or book will give you a good introduction. Grant applications vary greatly in complexity. You may find some that are fairly easy for you to complete yourselves. Others you may wish to hire a writer to help you with. Always have a third party review your application before sending it in so that you are be sure that the message is consistent with what you want to convey and to avoid typos and other errors.

  10. laurie davis says:

    hey just wanted to say thanks for the inside look and hints!!!

  11. Kim says:

    I network with a lot of non-profit organizations and this is some great information to pass on. Thanks!

  12. Veronique says:

    I am currently working on expanding our re-entry program to include youth who are ex-offenders and also those who have parents that are ex-offenders. I am having a very difficult time finding grants that are currently available that will cover this audience. Any siggestions, have already checked juvenile justice services and obvious agencies. Thanks!

  13. Joyce Howze says:

    Thank you Sandra, I will be using your information and think of you each time I do so with a appreciation. I recently lost my job and now will attempt to offer my services as grant writer and consultant to small rural communities and non profit organizations. I would like to be a certified professional grant writer, I took two grant writing classes in Auston at the Hogg Foundation but all I have is a certificate of completion. Do you have info on the programs that are official and offer educational porgrams for a reputable grant writer/administrator certification?

  14. Pamela Grow says:


    I am not a huge fan of grant writer certification programs. Then again, I differ from the traditional mindset in that regard.

    AFP has the CFRE certification and the American Association of Grant Professionals has a grant-writing certification program I believe.

    I do not do any form of government grant proposal writing, focusing solely on foundation and corporate grant applications. In that aspect, I’ve learned a lot from simply reading good books – How to Write Knockout Proposals: What You Must Know (And Say) to Win Funding Every Time by Joseph Barbato and Storytelling for Grantseekers by Cheryl Clarke are two of my favorites (as is anything written by Mal Warwick).

    If you can imagine a foundation program officer sifting through a stack of 15 proposals, each one reading like the last, you’ll recognize the need for learning to craft a COMPELLING case statement – for truly learning how to engage the reader and bring them into your organization’s mission.

    Best to you & happy New Year!

  15. Sandra Sims says:

    Thanks for the comments Pamela. You make a great point, it’s the quality of the proposals that count. I would think that if you have successfully secured one or more grants that adds more to your resume as a grant writer than a certification certificate.

  16. Jacob says:

    Thanks so much. This is the best grant resources I’ve found on the web. Bookmarked!

  17. marcia says:

    Hi there please can anybody help me i want to help the poor and needy in my community due to work shortage here are a lot of children and old age that really really needs help in my community.iam waiting for my ngo please can u advise me on ow to do n application for funding thanks kind regards

  18. TERENCE C. FOX says:


  19. Mrs Robert says:

    Although I have secured 5 grants for my NGO, but this information on this page is mind blowing.

    Thanks so much.

  20. Rondell Anderson says:

    Hello am wanting to start a non-profit organization helping youth who are on the verge of being sent to prison i hope to establish a second chance foundation to give them the opportunity to obtain an education and to become adults and learn responsibility i was wondering what kind of grant would i have to write and also i want to be able to deal with several states in which i would house the kids in give new jobs to the community…..p.s. i just want to know which way to start thanks DELL

  21. Sandra Sims says:

    Dell, I would recommend this post (and see the links at the bottom about starting a nonprofit organization.) As far as the grants, I recommend starting at link #2 above: Also consider taking a class at your local nonprofit management center for more individual help.

  22. EDWIN AGWA says:

    Desire to venture into grant writing as a new career area to enable my association develop and sustain programs aimed at members capacity building and our not for profit organization which faces alot of resource mobilization challenges.

    Your assistance in kind towards skills and/or references will be welcome

    Thank you.

    PO BOX 22630-00202

  23. Saintycy Kesner says:


    My wife and I like to creat a small business plan for store where we can sell all things for babies for example(Food, dresses, Game etc) would you please provide us some explanation cause we don’t have yet a lot of money to start with.
    Thankyou for your time.


  24. Mamun Ar Rashid says:

    Dear Sandra,
    Greetings from me!
    Hope till you are addressing more valuable way for your clients/wellwisher, I have formed a foundation (not for profit organization) before 4 years and registering with Bangladeshi company registering authority, an obvious objective to develop the environment degradation situation both human and nature but i have not found any donnor agency to donate us. If you please tell the proper way why we will find donor for funding our organization. Thank you


  25. Michelle McKenzie says:

    Looking for a grant writer to write grants for our non profit organization. Please help us.

  26. barb plourde says:

    I am looking to apply for a free grant to get my childrens private school (a non-profit organization)a flagpole and flag. I do not know where to begin. Would you kindly provide some advice? thank you

  27. Julieta says:

    I would like to know if you will hold any seminars in 2011 in ATlanta, GA? Thanks

  28. Paul Murray says:

    i and a friend need to have a grant written asap he is blind and i have had stroke need some help please

  29. Russell Anderson says:

    We are a non profit 501c3 since ’08 working on research since ’97. Our goal has been to establish greater public awareness of water structure and to provide solutions. This awareness has included; presentations in cities throughout California, meetings with conservation organizations and working to establish a heart warming documentary of the oldest lake in America/ second oldest in the world. We are in the prosess of sending out 60 second videos in the form of a press release contracted by San Francisco Chronicle. I will also be speaking at the Silicon Valley United Nations as well as The New Living Expo at the Concorse in SF in these coming months.
    Despite the sucsess, we have little money to work with. We need money to complete a better promo video for the documentary. I think we qualify. Can you help us out?

  30. Elischa says:

    Hi Sandra
    I am a follow grant-writer of over 20 years. You are doing a great job here. Good Stuff! Be Blessed, Elischa

  31. Eric Fennell says:

    Hello everyone, thanks for all the information here. I am starting up a youth program in Raleigh NC. I have filed for my all my paper work need be, but i am seeking sponsorships. We are seeking a small amount to move forward with the other things that must to done. This program is really geared for our youth. There will be many areas we will cover to get them to realize their potentials. So if anyone know or have any suggestion send to my email. Thanks so much.

    Eric Fennell.

  32. md.khairul says:

    I am searching a free thesis paper on a organization . I am a student of MBA. Pl. send a good study or thesis paper.

  33. Jeanine says:

    Hi There,

    I need to do a grant or donation request proposal to various companies to assist with purchasing land for my NGO. The nature of the NGO will be to feed the hungry, build a creche, a church, reabilitation centre and generate income for the needy. I have a Leader Evangilast calling and need to get going with GODS work. I am based in South Africa, can someone help me and guide me. Who can I contact……..where do I start….???



  34. daniel says:

    im in san diego ,i want to start non-proffit,and awareness organization but do not know how to start,and have no money so please dont ask me to buy anything.

  35. Tonekia Townsend says:

    Looking fir grants to fund a summer youth camp. This summer will be our tenth year in operation. Help!

  36. amanda thompson says:

    Thank you for the great resources. I have bookmarked your page and will refer back to it again and again as a new nonprofit manager.

    I have a question I’m wondering if you can help me with. Do you know where my organization can find grant management software for free online for for a low cost. We are brand new with a very limited and just starting to apply for funds. I have tried to download GrantGate several times, but it is incompatible with my PC.

    Thanks again,

    Amanda Thompson
    Empowerment Services
    Salt Lake City, UT

  37. malissa white says:

    Since I am unemployed at this time and do not have the funds to pay for books or training, how can I get free training for grant writing?

  38. Sofie says:

    How much do you usually spend on such a grant writing? Because last and only time I tried I realized I need so much information FOR the sponsors, which I would never use for the project itself. And that’s just a waste of time. What would you think is a considerable amount of time for such a unnecessary work? I know, the guidelines are differing from grant to grant, but still. What is your experience?


  39. Ray says:

    Hi Sofie, i really need your help when it come’s to
    writing grants because i never did it before.I’m
    just trying to see if i can not only get myself a
    house but a car so i can look for work, and with your
    help you will be able to grant my wish.Woman like
    your self are like ferry God mothers making every-
    one’s dream come true please make my dream come true
    thank you Sofie very much.

  40. Rafiullah says:

    it is really useful thanks

  41. Beth says:

    This is a really comprehensive “starter kit” for those of us who have some background in development, but want to expand our skills and the basic philosophy behind grant writing as a formal method of fundraising. Thank you for compiling it and making it public (and free!)

  42. Denzel says:

    Hello ,
    I love helping the poor always with gifts monthly, especially Christians poor in Orphanages. I feel sad and despair as i do not have constant and large support for these ignorant and innocent infants who are new this earth and need the help of those who have ever experienced parental care and love. It just makes me sometimes burst into cry. I need emergency solutions for this situation.

  43. Debbie says:

    Hi looking to start a non-profit for teen girls and boys to prevent teen pregnancy so what I’d like to know is there any grants for this before I start this venture and how do I hind out what grants are availible.

  44. Ruben says:

    I need a grant writer can you help? If so can you email or direct me in the right direction?

  45. Mrs Mona Lisa. says:

    Good Day.
    We are corporate lenders in America/Asia/Malaysia and UK. we give out
    funds to A very honest and reliable personalities.Our Offer Ranges
    from $5,000.00 To 200, 000, 000.00 usd. at 2% interest per annual. Get
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    Loan scheme. If interested,CONTACT US at:
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    I assure you that a try will convince you.
    Mrs Mona Lisa.

  46. Rev. Rick says:

    Greetings Sandra Sims,

    I have questions to ask. I hope to get answers that are helpful to me and those asking me to do research and grant writing.

    1. Is it possible for a Grant Writer & Researcher to collect on their efforts after funds for a project are approved? Is it legal?

    2. I’d like to learn “How To” research and write grants. I’m totally disabled and I would have to do all the work from home. What’s your suggestion as to a place to start (I’m financially broke, and I only get SSDI), especially when an individual such as myself may be hindered due to numerous medical complications?

    3. I want to help – mostly – Not-For-Profit Businesses/Organizations, but at the same time I’d like to help any-one and/or everyone if its possible to receive grant funding for legitimate needs.

  47. emil says:

    if somebody can help me to wrrite letter for grant please contact me,

  48. Dickson M Lau says:


    I am disadvantaged. My non-profit humanitarian development youth organization is inviting a potential grant writer to help with my organization’s resource centre project proposal.

    Any reward to compensate for such service may be negotiated for, and agreed upon in due cause.

    Any grant writing volunteer can contact me immediately.

    Kind regards,

    Dickson M Lau.

  49. Frederick Ngesso says:

    Centre for Literacy and Community Development is a national NGO in Kenya, East Africa; whose mission is to contribute to equitable and sustainable improvements into the livelihoods of community by promoting adult literacy and community development initiatives. One of our strategic objectives is economic empowerment of women. Since this NGO was registered in 2011, we have not been able to secure grants. We are appealing to volunteer grant proposal writers to assist us. We are also requesting for donation of manuals and books on grant proposal writing for non profits. Address:
    CLCD Kenya,
    P.O Box 7114,
    KISUMU 40100,
    Kenya, East Africa

  50. craig bernard says:

    I am Mr Craig Bernard, i want to use this medium to thank KLEAN TECH’s who help me with an already hacked ATM machine card. I was as poor without funds so i was browsing one day and i saw somebody testifying how some engineers named Ernest Klean help him from being poor to a rich guy through this already hacked ATM card and today am also testifying on how THEY helped me. i never believe in it until they send me the card which am using today.I want you to work in hand with them and you will leave the life of being poor you can contact them through their email address; contact them now.

  51. Aneta says:

    Hi Sandra
    I have a nonprofit org.and I want to apply for a grant ,but I don’t have experience because I haven’t written before.My nonprofit works as a non profit for learning foreign languages,so I need money to buy resources to make a classroom ,and I also want to buy some IT technology ,to make the classess more interesting and effective
    thanks in advance

  52. Kate says:

    hhello there

  53. Richy Walters says:

    nice one glo

  54. Kani mang says:

    I am spearheading a start-up non profit which is the first of its kind in west Africa called West Africa Developmental Disability Services, a 501 3 c, registered under another organization. We seek to provide residential, vocational, housing and treatment services for the developmental disabled population in West Africa. We are seeking partnership with, foundations/organizations and individuals to find funding for this initiative.

  55. Tamara Kelly says:

    Hi, I just “stumbled” across this article, and it is chock full of useful information! Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings, Tamara

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