Why I decided to develop an online grant writing class

After five years of grant writing in a fast-paced consulting environment, I vowed to never write another grant. I was the ultimate example of what burnout looks like.

When meeting new people, I would try and guise my past work. The moment someone finds out you are a grant writer, it’s game over! Everyone wants help finding money!

Despite my attempts to squash all inquiries for help with grant writing, I slowly started to realize that I do have something to give here. While I don’t want to be a full-time grant writer anymore, I like helping others develop the skill set.

This last Spring, I went to my family’s cattle ranch to help with calving season. Ranching allows for a lot of time to just think. It was here that I started to entertain the idea of developing an online grant writing training so others could become experts in the field.

Always receiving ample help from the dogs! PC: Tara Bolgiano

I decided to go for it and started creating course content based on my in-person grant writing workshops. I thought I could have the courses live within two months, but the undertaking was like a house remodel. It costs twice as much and took twice as long as planned!

Part of the reason for this is that I committed to taking absolutely everything I know about grant writing and pouring them into these courses. In hindsight, I should have started with one course!

I needed to share my screen to show students how to research grant funds or show actual examples of successful grant narratives. I shared the uploaded videos with my partner and he gracefully informed me that the videos suck. His full-time job is developing technical content training, so he knows what he’s talking about.

After tending to my bruised ego, I realized he was right, and I learned how to edit videos using Camtasia. Editing a 30-minute video to 10 minutes often took two to three hours. It was extremely time intensive but absolutely worth the effort.

I also spent a fair bit of time developing custom content and toolkits for students to download and make their lives easier. This included templates for a resolution of support, a detailed Excel budget, memorandum of agreement, and letters of support.

Finally by mid-September, I was able to share the website with friends and family. I was overwhelmed by the positive response. I thought I knew my customer base but based on the feedback from my network, I realized there are more people looking to understand the mysterious world of grants than I realized.

I am inspired daily by the feedback I’m getting on how this is helping people evolve their idea into something real. We need more talented grant writers, and I’m thrilled to help develop in that skill in others.

If you have feedback or ideas, I welcome them! www.learngrantwriting.org

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