Grant Writing


Is the process of completing a funding application provided by government agencies (State or Federal), corporations, foundations or trust funds, with the purpose of using the funds for an identified problem or need by an individual or group.

51Fr314CT8L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_“Writing an effective grant is both an art and a science – it requires a focus on the details of project implementation and proposal assembly, as well as knowing how the project will help a client make an impact on the community.”

M. Coley and C. A. Scheinberg (Proposal Grant Writing: Effective Grantsmanship 2014)

How to Learn Grant Writing

  1. Know your Project!
    • Identify a problem or need
    • Explain the rationale (Why is it important? How will your project serve the need? Why will the project and strategy best serve and answer the expressed need or problem?)
  2. Research Possible FundersFinding the perfect match and possible funder is not an easy task, but it’s definitely possible.
    • Here are some search engines:
    • Probes: What will they fund? What not? Who will they fund? What is their mission statement?  What are their core values? Do they have limitations?
  3. Pick a Funder. 
    • Remember! How does your project fulfill the possible funder’s goals and mission statements?
    • Become familiar with your funder (know and use their vocabulary!)
  4. Start Writing your Proposal (Most funders will provide an application that will outline what do they want to know about your project).
    • General Parts of a Proposal (Abstract of the Project, Organization’s History (Applicant’s), Goal(s) of the Project, Objective(s) of the Project, Expected Outcomes, and Project Description.
    • Who will the project serve (population)? How? Where? How will you measure the success of the project?

Grant Writing Tips: Eight Qualities of Exemplary Proposals

  • Energy
  • Expertise
  • Commitment
  • Clarity
  • Collaboration
  • Benefits
  • Comprehensiveness
  • Effectiveness

For more information and definitions, check out Grant Making Basics: A Field Guide for Funders


“The program management office was established, in 2002, as a part of the President’s Management Agenda. Managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, is an E-Government initiative operating under the governance of the Office of Management and Budget.

Under the President’s Management Agenda, the office was chartered to deliver a system that provides a centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities.Today, the system houses information on over 1,000 grant programs and vets grant applications for 26 federal grant-making agencies” (


“Community Foundations are publicly-supported philanthropic institutions governed by a board of private citizens chosen to represent the public interest and for their knowledge of the community.

Community foundations uniquely serve three publics: donors, the nonprofit sector and the community as a whole.

Community foundations are one of the most enduring and fastest growing sectors of organized philanthropy in the United States and around the world. A catalyst for change, 700 community foundations serve citizens in all 50 states, and in over 46 countries worldwide. Domestically, community foundations hold billions in assets and grant billions annually to various fields of interest including the arts, education, emerging needs, environment, health and human services” (Albuquerque Community Foundation).

More Information/Resources

Check out Humboldt State’s Grant’s Database Library Guide!

Written by: Stephanie Martínez and Janae Teal
Last updated: 1 January 2016

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