Document Type

Article - Open Access

Publication Title

Journal of the Grant Professionals Association


Grant Professionals Association

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Abstract/ Summary

Proposal-writing skills are critical for employees in a wide range of organizations, particularly in challenging economic times which demand diverse funding sources. This paper describes an innovative and multifaceted approach to teaching proposal writing to students enrolled in a nonprofit leadership course at a large, metropolitan university. The approach included a hands-on, field component in nonprofit organizations, in-depth organizational analyses involving interviews with nonprofit leaders, guest speakers including a grant professional and a foundation officer, grantsmanship textbooks loaned to all students for the semester, and review of students’ completed proposals by a grant professional and the course instructor. Students presented their proposals to the class at the end of the semester and voted for the best presentations and proposal ideas. A celebration occurred at the end of the semester involving students and nonprofit partners. The service aspect of this course is part of the university’s service learning faculty fellowship program. Additionally, in collaboration with students, during the semester the instructor modeled the application preparation process by writing and submitting a winning grant proposal to the university for funds to enhance the course. The paper adds to the existing literature on teaching grantsmanship to college students through experiential learning. It describes the various strategies used to introduce students to grant proposal writing and discusses challenges and lessons learned.