Overview of the Week: Grantsmanship Training Program

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Monday through Wednesday morning

Grant Proposal Readiness – Organizational readiness and well-planned programs are the key to winning grants and making positive change. Through discussion and examples, you explore what Grantsmanship is and why it’s much more than just “grant writing.”

Planning Programs and Developing Grant Proposals – You use The Grantsmanship Center’s Program Planning & Proposal Writing  Model to understand the specific types of information all grant proposals must include–-and you’ll see how and understand why proposal components fit together.

Through a series of small group exercises, you put new knowledge into practice by drafting sections of a proposal. This includes reviewing the work of your colleagues and providing constructive feedback.

Some types of proposals–capital projects, organizational capacity building, prevention programs, art for the sake of art–have unique requirements. You learn to handle these types of proposals successfully.

Submitting Proposals – You explore the dos & don’ts of submitting proposals with an emphasis on the demands of online applications and electronic submissions.

Finding Appropriate Grantmakers – You learn about government grantmakers, how they work, and how to gain more planning time. You practice interpreting application guidelines, and then learn to use the primary online resources for identifying funding programs that align with your organization’s mission and priorities.

Then you learn about private grantmakers–foundations and corporations–and how they differ from government funders. You also learn about and use the primary online resources to identify grantmakers that align with your organization’s work.

Wednesday afternoon through Thursday

Draft a Full Grant Proposal – By now, you have worked with others to draft several components of a grant proposal for your project, or the project of a teammate. On Wednesday afternoon your team ties the drafts together, refines them, fills in the missing pieces, and develops a draft of a full grant proposal for the class to review. You complete this work between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon.

While the time-frame for completing the proposal is short, most grant proposals are produced under tight deadlines. It's amazing how much can be accomplished in 24 hours, especially with active teamwork and guidance from your trainer. Even if you don’t manage to complete every section of the proposal or polish it for submission, you create the foundation for a competitive funding proposal and the feedback you get from your trainer and classmates is invaluable.

The proposals drafted in class are for real projects–-once the training is over, almost all of them will be completed and submitted to a funder. Many of the proposals developed in class are actually funded!

Learn to Think Like a Reviewer—Explore What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why –Your trainer explains how different types of funders review grant proposals, and class members who have reviewed proposals share their experiences as well. You then receive clear instructions for team proposal reviews, along with guidelines for providing helpful comments and constructive suggestions.

Teams are review their assigned proposal and prepare a brief report for the class. You also read all of the proposals drafted in class so you get full benefit of participating in the review discussions.

Team proposal reports begin on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. Every team receives specific information about the parts of the draft that work well, as well as specific, helpful suggestions about how the draft could be strengthened.


After completing proposal reports, the class discusses returning to work and how best to put new knowledge and skills into practice. Your trainer reminds you about the follow-up services The Grantsmanship Center provides (at no additional cost), and the class ends, usually exhausted and exhilarated, by 1 pm.