What Is Grant Writing?

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Even in a good economy, it's often hard for nonprofit and other organizations to make a splash with a new proposal. To that end, they turn to foundations, corporations, government agencies and private philanthropists to award them money that will put--and keep--their plans in action. These grant proposals are composed by grant writers.


Grant writing is the application process wherein the organization seeking financial assistance explains what it plans to do, how much money it needs to do it and how the results will be measured.


Grant writing requires extensive research to identify which external funding sources will have the greatest interest in the project and what types of projects they have previously helped fund.

Doing the Math

Grant writing calls for a realistic estimation of the funds needed, a detailed accounting of how these funds will be allocated and a timeline for the project's completion. If the proposal is for an ongoing project, the grant must also address how the project will sustain itself after the grant money runs out.

Following Rules

Grant writing requires strict adherence to all instructions in the grant application, including the manner in which the presentation package is formally assembled and delivered.

Writing Style

Grant writing favors a concise, straightforward approach that sets forth a plan of action that is easy to understand, and offers sold research and evidence as to why and how the project will benefit its target constituency.


The best grant writing in the world won't accomplish its objective if it arrives in the mail after the window of opportunity has already closed. Keeping a close eye on the calendar is essential, especially if the grant writer is pursuing multiple avenues of funding.