Interview with Christina Ryder, author of Grant Writing 101: Your Essential Guide to NonProfit Grant Acquisition

Applying for grant funding can often be an intimidating and confusing process. It can be difficult to know how to begin or even where to look for appropriate grant opportunities in the first place.

In her new ebook, Grant Writing 101: Your Essential Guide to NonProfit Grant Acquisition, Christina Ryder, founder and CEO of The Grantwell, breaks down this process step-by step, offering an accessible yet expert guide for putting together a successful proposal. With pages of tips, recommendations, and exercises, the book is an invaluable resource for any nonprofit organization, or individual, needing to better understand the challenges of obtaining grant funding.

Here, the author discusses some of the misunderstandings people have about the grant application process and what motivated her to write the book.

1. What inspired you to write Grant Writing 101?

For a long time I had been looking for ways to make grant writing information more accessible to individuals and groups that perhaps could not afford to attend a training, pay for grant writing services, or hire a Development Director. For several years I had been thinking about constructing a workbook; however, with the rise of ebooks, that medium seemed like the best and least expensive way to provide information on the grant writing process and format I have learned over 14 years of practice.

2. What do you think are some common misconceptions about grant writing?

Oftentimes people believe that grant funding is “free” money; however, there are obligations and expectations (including a formal application and reporting process) when an organization obtains funding. At times there are also individuals that believe that anyone who is a good writer can write grants. While it is important to have good writing skills, grant writing has its own format, own processes, and own best practices. In order to have the best chance at receiving funding, it is important to know (or hire someone who knows) this format and process.

3. What is the most important thing you think someone applying for funding should know or do?

The process has become more competitive since 2008/2009. It is important for an organization to do all it can to make sure that it is seeking funds that it is eligible to receive, has a good chance at receiving, and that the organization is employing grant writing best practices when constructing applications and proposals.

4. When it comes to applying for a grant, when should someone try to do it on their own and when should someone seek experienced help?

That is an excellent question and likely is best determined by what the person feels their strengths and limitations are. Anytime that someone might feel as though they are not sure about what they are writing, what an application is asking, or in general would like a second set of eyes on things - given the amount of time and energy it often takes to create a good grant proposal - it is good in my opinion to seek out guidance and review from someone who has experience writing grants.

6. You are the founder and CEO of the The Grantwell, LLC, which provides grant support, writing and training. What attracted you to this field? Why grant writing?

I am a sociologist by training who has always loved to write. Grant writing provided a field where I could combine my love of both. I have been fortunate to work with amazing groups doing amazing things for their countries, neighborhoods, and communities. Many of the groups we work with are saving lives and making life better for literally thousands of people on a daily basis. To be a small part in supporting that work and to be a member of that team is incredible. Everyday I feel unbelievably lucky to be able to do so!

Click here for more information on Christina Ryder’s new book, Grant Writing 101: Your Essential Guide to NonProfit Grant Acquisition.