Successful Grant Writing, from A to Z
Writing a proposal is only one crucial part of a much larger process—namely, how to build and sustain successful, long-term relationships with foundations. Completing this course will give students a solid understanding of best practices in how to secure grants and, in turn, build effective relationships with foundations over time.
The course consists of in-class instructional sessions, short assignments, and brief supplemental readings. The in-class sessions will include lectures, discussions, and student presentations, and are designed to be highly interactive; participation is key (and welcome!) The research and writing assignments will include practice using the Foundation Center’s Directory Online database (access will be provided for several weeks, free of charge), as well as several short, yet focused, writing projects.
To the greatest extent possible, lessons will be applied from the classroom to real-world projects.
Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive 15 educational contact hours (1.5 Continuing Education Units, or CEUs.) The course is offered on a pass/fail basis; no letter grades are awarded.
Students will learn both short- and long-term skills, including how to:
- identify "fundable" ideas
- identify and vet foundation prospects
- develop customized strategies for approaching specific foundations
- structure and write letters of inquiry
- draft a proposal and budget
- work with others in their organizations to build ongoing, highly productive, and sustained relationships with foundations
Instructor: David Gordon
David Gordon is a senior associate director of foundation relations at MIT. In that role, he manages relationships with a portfolio of leading national foundations, helps faculty get major grants, and works with the president of MIT and other senior officials on selected special projects.
Before joining MIT in 2002, David was the senior associate director of corporate and foundation relations at Brandeis University and had held several previous fundraising, public policy research, and nonprofit management positions in or near Boston. In all, he has nearly two decades of experience working with foundations and has directly raised over $120 million in grants during that time.
As an active member of Association of Fundraising Professionals, David has led frequent training sessions over the past decade for newcomers to the field. In addition, he has spoken about foundation relations work at several conferences and workshops, and since 2009, he has taught a continuing education course on the grant seeking/proposal writing process.
A lifelong Boston-area resident, David is a graduate of the Boston Public Schools, Harvard College (History), and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Administration, Planning, and Social Policy.)