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writing to earn a grant writing certificate

Why Get a Grant Writing Certificate

Part of what makes grant writing appealing is that you don’t need a formal education to succeed in the field. There is no minimum education requirement and many choose to work as freelancers. Yet, many new grant writers choose to earn their grant writing certificate.

As many aspiring non-profits discover, writing grants is a tricky business. You compete with dozens to thousands of other companies with equally important missions for a limited pool of funds. Thus, you must do your research, demonstrate an understanding of finances, present dense information clearly and concisely, and know how to craft a strong logical and emotional argument. The boards that review applications may have special interests that draw their attention away from you, even if your submission is top quality. And there are many listed and unspoken rules on how to properly submit a grant proposal. Unfortunately, a simple error can cost you a grant that would have funded a new program.

Without prior knowledge or experience, the average writer would struggle in this field. Truly, unprepared new grant writers find themselves feeling like fish out of water. For this reason, many turn to accredited grant writing certificate programs.

What You Get from a Grant Writing Certificate

So, what skills do you gain from a grant writing certificate? It depends on what kind of program you enroll in. For example, Lakewood University’s program fits both beginner and intermediate levels of need. It goes over different types of foundations and funding sources, what funders look for, what goes into a successful proposal, and more. You can find other programs that focus on expert-level issues or specialized sectors, such as grant writing for the government.

However, not all programs are created equal. Namely, you should watch out for unaccredited vs accredited classes.

Unaccredited programs can still be useful and provide expert knowledge. But these credentials are not always accepted by employers or clients. They are less respected as they haven’t been reviewed by a third party through accreditation.

Accreditation is a review process that involves the review of course content to ensure its quality, usefulness, and value. In addition, accredited courses are taught by trusted instructors who are experts in their field. Unaccredited courses may be taught by anyone who has access to the internet. However, unaccredited programs are often more affordable and accessible.

Basically, when looking into a program, you need to consider three things: a) what do graduates have to say, b) how much does it cost, and c) what does the program have to offer?

Below, we’ll go over what you’ll get out of a grant writing certificate.

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1. Expert Experience

One of the most obvious perks of a grant writing certificate course is the expert advice you’ll receive along the way. Students receive one-on-one help as they’re guided through the process. They’ll be able to ask questions, learn from real-world experiences, and discover tricks and tips from someone who has worked in the field.

Your instructor will also review your grant proposal and help you learn to identify common mistakes. For example, facts are important when writing grants, but funders look for specific data. You don’t want to bog down your argument with useless statistics.  

In addition, part of running a business lies in learning from mistakes and failures. The same can be said for grant writing. While there is no avoiding an error or two in the future, you can avoid the more common ones by learning from others. Indeed, most experts have multiple stories of how they learned and grew from their own mistakes. Taking the time to listen can save you time, effort, and money in the future.

2. Peer Support

Another big benefit of a grant writing program is the class dynamic. Whether you work online or in person, you benefit from the knowledge, experience, and feedback of your peers. Indeed, your classmates will be on the same journey as you and will bring unique ideas to the table. Their feedback will not only help you develop as a grant writer, but they’ll help you build your proposal and take them to the next level. If you’re directly involved in a non-profit, you may even find yourself with new programs and initiatives in mind for the future.

Also, you’ll build your network. A good network is important for both writers and non-profit workers. You’ll walk away from the course with a grant writing certificate, new connections, and maybe even new friends.

3. Improved Writing Skills

Obviously, a grant writing course will help you build your writing skills. Many experienced writers don’t realize that grant proposals require a unique form of writing. Truly, it’s not the same as narrative, essay, or journalism-type writing. You have to follow a prescribed formula, provide specific information, and craft a compelling argument based on both fact and emotion.

Indeed, funders don’t fund the person who has the most facts, but often award the non-profit with the strongest human element. You basically need to argue that the cause or program you’re writing for deserves money and prove that your mission is possible. Additionally, you’ll need to show strong budgeting skills to display how the money will be used. No funder is going to give you the grant if you say the money is simply going to “help children.”

Thus, a grant writing certificate course improves your writing skills as your instructor helps you identify weak spots in your papers. They’ll also help you develop your voice and use language that will reach the hearts of your funders. Not every person will go for the same type of proposal – a successful grant writer knows how to read their audience.

grant money you can earn with a grant writing certificate

4. Credibility

If you’re looking to work as a freelancer or contract grant writer, you’ll need something to prove your skills. Typical writing samples won’t always be enough due to the unique skills grant writing requires. As a result, many new writers struggle to get their first clients.

Notably, this struggle is not unique to grant writing freelancers. It’s hard getting your name out there in the crowd. But freelancing writers can help themselves stand out with a grant writing certificate. This credential shows that you take your craft seriously, you know the process, and you were able to prove your skills in class. Basically, it makes you appear more trustworthy as clients can rest easy knowing you have the skills to succeed.

4. Clear Path Forward

Finally, a grant writing certificate provides you with the knowledge you need to move forward. The grant writing world can be a difficult place to navigate. Both experienced writers and non-profit creators struggle to find their footing when looking for funds. But grants are a necessary aspect of successful non-profits. The money is needed for all sorts of projects and initiatives. Thus, all non-profits need a strong grant writer on staff.

A grant writing program removes the guesswork from the process. You’ll learn every step and how to talk to funders. And you’ll feel more confident in your work.

In the end, these courses are worth the time and effort. Accredited programs provide more one-on-one assistance than self-led classes. While both have their benefits, feedback is a necessary aspect of writing. And you need to give your best in the world of grant writing. Otherwise, the grants your non-profit needs will be funding someone else’s programs.

Final Thoughts

Lakewood University offers a 16-week online grant writing certificate program. Students in this class learn how to navigate the world of grant proposals and funders. In addition, they’ll hone their writing skills and discover how to write persuasive, emotional, and informational arguments. Students may also work on their real-world grant throughout the program, getting expert advice through the course. Ultimately, graduates leave with the skills needed to succeed in their careers.

Lakewood University is an accredited online school that offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. We have rolling enrollments and asynchronous courses. In other words, you don’t have to worry about missing a lecture or running late to class. If you plan on enrolling in college while working, Lakewood University offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree.

Don’t hesitate – reach out to our admissions department today to learn more!