The University of Iowa

Grant Writer's Tools


Success in grant writing continues to gain importance in the economy of the academic research institution. Expectations for knowing how to write grants crosses all disciplines and ranks have become requirements in many areas and to some grants represent the lifeblood of an ongoing research program. Thus, the pages and links contained within Grant Writer's Tools represent a cross-section of what experts, agency program officers, foundation staff, and others with grant writing experience have to say on gaining advantage in the highly competitive and charged environment of the grant writer.

Groundings, Contexts, and Beginnings - Definitional Glossaries

If a novice, it makes sense to learn and understand the meanings of the vocabulary being used in grant guidelines, reviewing definitions and explanations used widely or by a specific sponsor. Some sponsor guidelines provide a Glossary of terms unique to the sponsor - NIH does this in its Application Kit.

Learning by Seeing

Most novice writers or experienced grant writers working in a new area seek out copies of proposals that have been successful with a particular sponsor. Some federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Education may make winning proposals available if you visit the office in Washington, D.C. or provide grant workshop participants with a copy of a successful proposal to aid new writers in understanding how the agency means or expects its proposals to be prepared for successful results.

Preparing to Write a Grant Proposal

Definitions and Explanations

The following resources can be useful in understanding terminology commonly referenced in grant guidelines, contracts, and/or administrative agreements between UI and external sponsors.

Federal Agency Glossaries/Definitions

Explanations of the Abbreviations/Acronyms used in the Grant World

Writing Guides - Understanding Sponsor Expectations

The old adage "learning by doing" certainly applies to the best means for an individual to learn how to write a grant proposal. Yet, numerous books and how to listings and guides offer insights to novice grant writers and even those with experience. Much like texts on Writing Resumes, a wide variety of texts exists on Writing Grants. Thus, a sampling of Writing Guides from Multiple Perspectives has been gathered for those seeking some guidance when preparing a proposal whether it be for the first or the hundredth time.

Missing Pieces - Miscellaneous Information Dealing with Grants

Regardless of how comprehensive a text is on writing grants successfully, other ideas, suggestions, insights, or formulas continue to pop up as you look further into grant writing. The following information provides additional detail.

Bibliographi​​es of Grant Info in Print

Online Courses

  • The  Foundation Center grant workshops offers the novice fundraiser and the nonprofit executive a nuts-and-bolts presentation on the proposal writing skills needed to secure grants from foundations and corporate sources.
  • The Fund Raising School offers a workshop on Preparing Successful Grant Proposals Course 105.
  • The Grantsmanship Center offers general workshops through its Grantsmanship Training Program.