How can someone learn to write grants quickly?
Grant writers get this question a lot. Deliberate practice is the most effective way to master this specialized set of skills.
Maybe not 10,000 hours, though in my experience, it really helps.
So, the short answer – they can’t.*
But that’s no fun, and not why you’re here!
10 affordable and practical training resources for aspiring grant writers
*It’s possible to learn quickly, through an immersive experience cranking out 1 or 2 applications a week for a single organization over a period of several months. This requires a dedicated focus to learning the craft, with the support of an experienced mentor. And caffeine. Lots of caffeine and chocolate.
Based on personal experience and stories from others, this can be an effective approach and helps you determine quickly if the work is a good fit, though it’s not highly recommended. Think graduate school, boot camp, or similar life-changing experiences.
Of course, there are also week-long workshops available to learn to write grants. I’ve heard a range of feedback from people who’ve attended, and they seem generally helpful. I think it’s a worthwhile option to consider for an organization with the resources (~$3,500) and time to send an employee through focused offsite training. I look for multiple sources of information and the perspective of many teachers when learning a craft. Everyone is different.
It’s beneficial to develop a personalized curriculum & seek out a variety of learning styles that support your continuous growth.
Many people have left this work behind after negative experiences with grant projects, low success rates, burnout and/or the trauma of being in dysfunctional organizations with poor management, ineffective programs or disengaged staff and board members.
I was very nearly one of them. I’m glad I found ways to stay in this line of work, and share a few lessons.
Next week I’ll share 5 tips that are helpful for grant writers. For more guidance on writing quality grant proposals, see “Why is it so hard to win grants?” from last month.
Do you have grant writing resources or learning strategies to add? If so, please share in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!