Introduction to Grant Writing for News Organizations

This training will equip new grant writers with both skills and confidence to meet the unique challenges of raising money for news organizations.

In this five-week course you will work with experts in the field and small peer-groups to learn the science and the art of crafting competitive grant proposals. During the course you will work through each step of the grant writing process, including:

  • Identifying the right funding opportunities
  • Effectively and persuasively making your case
  • Developing each element of a proposal and letter inquiry
  • Relationship building

Led by Penn Creative Strategies, the course met once a week for 60 or 90-minute sessions from Tuesday April 6, 2021 to Tuesday May 4, 2021. In order to foster an interactive and participatory environment, enrollment was limited to 30 participants.

Please email Lenfest Institute Communication & Editorial Director Joseph Lichterman with any questions.


Session 1: Research & Relationship Building

What does this have to do with grant writing? For those new to the craft, and even for those with experience, this is the hidden aspect of the process that can make the difference! What are the various kinds of grantmakers and how can you get their attention? What tools are available to make your grant search easier? What challenges are news organizations facing now and how can you plan the most effective grant writing approach? 

• Slides

Session Recording

Session 2: Making the Case

Session 2 is your time to shine! In parsing the structure of a strong grant proposal, you will define and explain your big idea, show why you are well positioned to execute it, and show your peers that your project is a great candidate for support. You will illuminate your project/organization through authentic storytelling while exploring the differences between journalistic writing and grant writing. 

Slides

• Session Recording

Session 3: Supporting the Story

Another hidden part of the grant writing process is how to support your case – this is the make or break component of a convincing story.  A critical part of your proposal is showing how you will track your success. We will share tools and approaches to help you define how/when your project accomplishes its goals. We will teach you how to tell your story through numbers —since you are asking for money, here you can show how this investment will galvanize your work and create a social return on investment!

• Slides

• Session Recording

Session 4: The Letter of Inquiry

If this is the first step in the process, why do we teach it toward the end?  Here we will show you how to take the components of your full proposal and distill it into a well-crafted letter of inquiry. We will explore the right timing for submitting a letter of inquiry, and review/edit an “LOI” with peer-review. You will close out the final session with ideas, insights, and a workable template to incorporate into your organization’s fundraising plan. 

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• Session Recording

Session 5: Communication & Relationship Stewardship

Hey! Hey! You got the grant! (Or, Boo! You didn’t get it this time around.) In Session 5, we’ll share some tips on continuing your relationship with the donor, whether you got the grant or not. Explore best practices in cultivation of prospective funders, keeping regular contact with donors (beyond formal grant reports), and monitoring your progress throughout the year.

• Slides

• Session Recording