Do you ever get asked “If you were starting over, what would you do differently in your career?”
As a professor teaching grantwriting, my students ask me this question every semester. This is what I say.
You may know my story—I was an intern. On my first day, a Monday, I was given an envelope full of material. My supervisor told me that there was information on a request for proposals in that envelope. AND that the proposal had to be ready to be overnight mailed by noon on Thursday!
Since I had no idea what to do, having never taken a class on writing grants, I panicked and asked who was going to guide me. “No one. It’s up to you! So, you better get started!”
You can bet that I wished I had some training, any training, at that point.
My experiences of “trial-by-fire” and “brutal reviews” eventually led me to becoming good at writing grants. In fact, by the time my internship was over, we’d received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, and I was hired as full time grantwriter for that organization. Before I moved on, half a year later,I’d raised over a million dollars, which wasn’t too shabby for a self-taught 24-year old!
Because of my experience, I vowed that, someday, I’d create a better way for new grantwriters to learn the skills.
And I’ve accomplished my vow: Oxford University Press has just released my new book, Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit, which is available from them directly or from Amazon.com.
In addition, I’ve taken all the information that I teach in a graduate level course on grantwriting, and put it in an online course that anyone can take. You can learn more about it by going to the link in the comments below.
Get training! That’s how I would change the start of my grantwriting career—thorough, comprehensive, and detailed training. And that’s how YOU should start off your grantwriting career!