Whether you’re working for an NGO, trying to get through college, or you’re an independent artist or creator, writing grants is a necessity nobody trained you for.
It’s a bunch of paperwork that can be confusing and overwhelming. Lucky for us all, there’s a wide selection of guides to grant writing (and all the hidden work around it) that cover everything from A to Z. These knowledge bases aren’t dry walls of text either. There are a few quite engaging grant-writing books out there, so let’s get right into it!
The Best Grant Writing Books Worth Your Perusal:
The Only Grant-writing Book You’ll Ever Need is exactly what it claims it is. It’s the only resource you need to kick-start your career as an investee, whether you’re a non-profit organization, a student, or a freelancer. Published in 2014 and written by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox, who have a combined experience of over 30 years, the book is a contemporary resource you can trust and go to with questions about grant-writing you have. This book is not an instant-read – at almost 450 pages, it’s a comprehensive guide that you’ll need to invest some time in. However, the time you invest in this book will pay off in the end. You’ll find out how to properly layout your proposal, and how to nail the tone of voice for each section. It even discusses how to develop your relationships with potential grantees to ensure you get fully funded on your first try. This title also comes with a plethora of hands-on exercises for you to master the skill of grant writing before you get down to the real deal.
You probably heard about the “For Dummies” book series, and chances are, you came across these handy instructional publications at least once. The legendary series covers a range of topics from vegetable gardening to programming, including, of course, writing grants. Originally published in 2001, this extensive manual was revised and updated in 2016 to bring you a modern perspective on writing winning grants. Its 330 pages are very well organized and the chapters are written so they can be read as standalone guides. That makes it easy to find the answer to any question quickly and understand the beautiful, reader-friendly explanations with ease. Grant Writing for Dummies covers the whole process of winning a grant. From discovering enterprising ways to get grants and using online databases, creating a strategic plan with a thorough understanding of what funders expect, to writing compelling applications whether you’re applying for traditional or e-grants. You can trust the author, Dr. Beverly A. Browning, with all your grant-writing questions. She is a top-notch professional in the field with over 40 publications related to writing grants. This book goes wonderfully in paired with another publication from the For Dummies series, Nonprofit Kit For Dummies.
3. The Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing: Tips, Tools, & Templates to Write Winning Grants – Holly Rustick
If you need to master grant writing ASAP, I recommend Holly Rustick’s Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing. At only 160 pages (quite short compared to other books on the list), this book can be considered a quick guide among grant-writing books. Even with its below-average page count, this is a comprehensive, information-packed manual with pretty much everything you need to know before writing your first (successful) grant.
Getting funded is not easy, so the author, Holly Rustick shares her best tips on:
- Finding prospective grant givers
- Making a difference between myths and truths
- The mindset that wins grants
- The 5-step formula to writing amazing grants.
Published in 2019, this book is a great bite-sized resource that’s completely contemporary and in tune with the latest trends in grant writing. With more than 10 years of experience on both ends of the pen – writing and reviewing grants, Holly Rusctick is the right person to go to for grant-writing advice. She’s the creator of WEGO Consulting and even has a rich grant-writing and funding podcast where she shares invaluable advice with listeners.
4. The Everything Grant Writing Book: Create the Perfect Proposal to Raise the Funds You Need! – Nancy Burke Smith and Judy Tremore
With the 1st edition published in 2003 and the 2nd edition in 2008, The Everything Grant Writing Book keeps on proving its worth as a timeless guide to grant writing. This 335-page guide to writing grants doesn’t contain hip lingo, but it’s a precious resource of essential knowledge about grant procedures. The author, Nancy Burke Smith, knows her stuff – she’s garnered over $20 million in direct funding for her clients. Besides being on the submission side of the process, she also worked as a grant reviewer at the Frey Foundation.
As a person who has experienced both ends of the process, Nancy will walk you through all the steps of writing a successful grant:
- Finding available grants
- Writing your statement of need, letters of inquiry, proposals for capital projects
- Developing your action plan and budget narrative
- Taking part in partnerships and collaborations.
If you’re a complete beginner who wants to seek funds for the first time, Grant Writing 101 is a book for you. It does exactly what it promises to do – teaches you about the world of grants and funding with a gentle learning curve that anybody can master. This 2011 guide to writing and submitting grants contains contemporary knowledge that will get you started in the fund-seeking game.
Within its 280 pages, you’ll find:
- The top ten tactics to make your proposal compelling with samples
- Choosing the right grantor for your project
- A detailed introduction to components of various grant types
- What happens after you get approved?
Victoria M. Johnson is a versatile fiction and non-fiction writer with a background as an Air Force Reserves medic and a 10-year of experience in fundraising. Now, her goal is to spread knowledge and introduce beginners to grant writing with her book and her blog Grant Whisperer.
If you’re after a quick way to master the art of writing unique, convincing grant proposals, go for Meredith Noble’s condensed guide. How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn is a 170-page manual that has the power to turn your grant proposals from ugly ducklings to beautiful, fund-winning swans.
This book will teach you:
- The 7 steps to writing grants
- How to create a strong narrative and grant budget
- The places to look for grants and make your applications on time
- Where to find match funding
Besides the invaluable knowledge contained within the book, Meredith Noble also gives you access to spreadsheet templates and discount access to top-level grant writing courses. If you’d like a sneak peek, check out the author’s online learning program and free mini-course about grant writing.
Once you choose a book that suits your style and read it, it’s time to get down to work, write your proposal, and send in your application. Good luck getting your projects funded, and let me know how it goes. Next up, you may want to explore a guide on how to become a freelance grant writer.
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