Grant Writing: Three Takeaways from GrantStation’s Educational Panel with NXUnite


Alice Ruhnke, President of GrantStation, joined NXUnite’s panel “The Ins and Out of Grant Writing for Nonprofits” with nonprofit professionals Garrett Hall of and The Fundraising Authority, Bethany Planton of DH Leonard Consulting, and Paula Love of GrantsAlert to discuss grant proposal writing and key strategies to help nonprofit organizations secure their funding and support their initiatives.

Finding New Grant Opportunities

Proposal writing is an essential element for all nonprofit organizations. An effectively written grant proposal can assist an organization with communicating its mission and goals, which, in turn, can help secure funding for the nonprofit’s initiatives. So, where can you start?

To find new funding opportunities, President of GrantStation Alice Ruhnke recommended that nonprofit professionals should “talk to the people within [their] network or check out others’ websites. [People] do not need to be afraid of grant writing.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are seeking out a new grant opportunity:

Creating Your Grant Proposals

Initially, finding the right grant opportunity that matches your organization’s needs might be difficult, but what do you do after you have? It’s time to create your grant proposal. Before your organization dives into the proposal writing process, there is one piece of advice that you should always remember: Planning is important. Garrett Hall, Founder of, noted that “Proposals have their own typical structure and information. It is important to keep it organized so you can refer back to it in the future.”

As you prepare to create your next grant proposals, here are some strategies that can guide you along the way:

  • start at the planning stage;
  • stay organized and look into grant management products;
  • find and utilize the tools available to you, such as a database that finds funders; and,
  • write with simple language.

Tailoring Your Grant Proposal

It’s important to tailor the grant proposal to who your organization is communicating with. You should never reuse the same grant proposal, even if the first one was rejected. “When you know one funder, you only know one funder,” said Bethany, a lead writer and grant consultant at DH Leonard Consulting. It is crucial that you get to know and understand your funders.

Grant writing is a balance between persuasive and technical writing. It is like you are a lawyer on paper, trying to make your case stand out against others,” said Dr. Paula Love, Founder of GrantsAlert.

When it comes to tailoring your grant proposal, the main thing to remember is that you must know and understand your funder, and know what the funder’s priorities are. Aside from understanding your funder, there are other strategies such as incorporating the funder’s terminology and language into the proposal or doing a grant review to help hone your own skills.

The Future of Proposal Writing

Because funders are becoming more understanding of the capacity needs of nonprofit organizations, it is a great time to start looking for grants. As your nonprofit continues to utilize new ways to seek out grant opportunities and write grant proposals, do not forget to leverage resources such as nonprofit podcasts, webinars, and more.

Action steps you can take today