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Are Grant Writing Certifications Worth Your Time?

grant writing Jan 10, 2017

Okay, I know what I'm about to say may be highly controversial… so BRACE yourself! I want to share with you what I really think about most Grant Writing Certifications.

Truthfully, I think most of them are a waste.

You heard me right… I said, “A WASTE!”

Now, I know what I just said is not going to get me nominated for any grant writing awards now or in the near future.

But, those aren’t important to me… besides, most of those are bias and are NOT given to those that are most deserving, rather those that are most self-serving for the organizations handing out the awards.

I often chuckle when I see awards being passed out to corporate sponsors... I guess the saying is true that you have to pay to play.

So Why Do I Think That Most Grant Writing Certifications Are A Waste?

Well, there are a number of reasons. But, I’ll spare you of my full list because the partial list suffices.

However, before I tell you why I think most of today's grant writing certifications are a waste, let me tell you that this is NOT coming from someone who hasn't tested the waters.

In fact, this is coming from experienced grant writers probably has more certifications and degrees from reputable institutions than many reading this.

Yes, I have an Advanced Grant Writing Certificate from California Polytechnic University, a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Duke University, a Leadership Certificate from the University of Southern California, not to mention two Master's degrees and a BA degree from the University of Texas.

So, when I tell you what I’m about to say, realize that it is coming from someone who knows a thing or two about degrees and certificates. 

Contract Grant Writer Rates?

The rates of contract grant writers vary depending on their experience, location, and the complexity of the grant proposal. In general, contract grant writers charge between $500 and $2,500 per proposal. However, there are some who charge more, especially for large or complex proposals. 

Grant writing can be a lucrative career, especially if you have a flair for words. If you can command the 26 letters of the English alphabet in a way that presents an institution’s value, both to the sponsor and the community, while appealing to the sponsor’s emotions, you can give organizations millions in grant proposal. And if this is the case, then do you really need another person to hand you a flimsy certification that proves you took a grant writing classes online and affirms your writing prowess?

First, it goes without saying that education is important to me!

I believe in education, however, I’m just not a huge fan of grant writing certificates.


Because other than the institutions that are handing it out the certificates, most outsiders really don’t care about them.

I'm a BIG fan of helping my grant writing clients and students GET RESULTS!

Let’s be really honest with one another.

Most people really don’t understand what grant writing is in the first place and even more, could care less about whether or not you are certified. Only ONE thing is really important to the nonprofits and government agencies that do understand the importance of having a good grant writing services. 

What is that you ask?

I’ll tell you… It’s the RESULTS! It really is the only thing that truly matters to them.

Can you help me and my agency GET FUNDED?

You can be a polka-dot-elephant that wears a green wig, yellow overalls and if you know how to write successful grant proposals that Get Funded, people will hire you.

And guess what? They won’t ask you the obvious burning question of, "where did you get your wig from or your yellow overalls?"

Now, they might ask you if you’ve got your grant writer's credentials or certification.

Or if you’ve paid your renewal fees or shall I say, “grant writer fees”.

Either way, you get my point.

All this really is funny to me and I can be totally honest with you about all of this because I’ve probably passed out more grant writing certificates than most people reading this.

Over the past few years, I’ve probably passed out over 1,500+ highly coveted grant writing certificates to our students that attend our Grant Writing That Gets Funded workshops.

These are certificates of completion for attending the workshop.

Why do we pass them out… because people want them.

It validates and proves that they have completed our training.

Several of our students go on and write successful grant proposals that get funded within the next few months.

I’m talking about students actually getting RESULTS!

However, the funny thing is that these same students would have to stand in line and pay an additional grant writing fees $500 to $1,000 depending on where you get your certification from.

Some would even have to wait for a few years just to get a certification to validate that they are professional grant writers even though they have won millions of dollars. It’s almost like those with certifications proudly keep others outside the barn so they can happily parade and say, “we are insiders” and “you are an outsider” even though you’ve gotten terrific RESULTS!

This kinda reminds me of high school where you had the cliques… with the in-crowd and the out crowd.

I didn’t care for them then and I surely don’t care for them now.

Let’s be honest and call it what it is.

These certifications are BIG business and this coming from someone who passes out certificates left and right and who fully understand the economics of passing them out.

However, I have enough GUTS, to be honest with you and tell you the TRUTH.

Again, all of this is just my opinion.

I’m sure many people who have worked and studied hard to obtain their grant writing certificate would swear by the importance of having this credential. I would too if I jumped all of those hoops.

Truthfully, I believe some people need to get their grant writers certification because it helps their esteem to feel like they have accomplished something great. It allows them to finally be a part of the in-crowd.

You may see value in grant writing certification courses online, especially if you still need a bit of polishing, but in the end, it’s just a piece of paper and honing your skills is more important.

And if this helps you… then more power to you. Go and get your certificate!

Heck, check out our grant writing certification program because dollar for dollar, it offers a lot of value.

But do not be fooled into thinking that your certificate is going to be something that most nonprofits and government agencies ask you about when considering whether or not to hire you.

They won't bring it up… but if you're skilled you can bring it up and then it might help you.

Well, I've got to go because I'm getting tired now and I got a lot of work to do.

I want you to feel free to share your opinion.

You might agree with me or you might TOTALLY disagree. It's okay.

However, know that I've shared with you my honest opinion.

Don’t be surprised if it takes me a few days or a week to respond to you because I’m a busy guy even without a grant writer's certification.

P. S. If you are looking to do an online grant writing course or certification program, be sure to ask the service provider these grant writing costs 10 important questions BEFORE you let them teach you to write a grant.

Rodney Walker is today’s leading expert in Grant Development Systems™ and President of Grant Central USA - Grant Writers Association. 

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