BLOG: UNLV Grant Academy Launches this Fall

July 2, 2014 - 10:04
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UNLV Ed Outreach
UNLV Grant Academy courses will be offered at Historic Fifth Street School in Downtown Las Vegas.

Syllabi for the new Grant Academy classes are finally complete and approved, which means we can officially get excited about the program. It’s been awhile since I worked in the nonprofit and grant writing fields, but I have to say that reading the course descriptions had me wishing my grant education had been this well structured. 

For me, my first application basically plagiarized my predecessor’s work; the application was pretty much cut and pasted from a sample my boss handed me. It was not big money, maybe just $500, so he figured it was a good learning opportunity for me. Taking this type of shortcut didn’t work long, though, as I moved on to bigger grants and more sophisticated review committees.  

This is the point at which I begin to salivate at the Grant Academy curriculum and wish someone had better explained to me the value of doing all the difficult pre-work before working through a grant application. Before the Grant Academy students even begin to write proposals, they will take Building a Grant Ready Organization. In this class they will back up and look at the big picture: organizational capacity, program development, partnership building, and policy development -- all should be in place before an organization asks for funding. These behind-the-scenes tasks aren’t glamorous, but, boy, do they make a difference in giving a grant application focus and purpose. 

Most grant writing workshops I attended over the years did a solid job of taking participants through the proposal writing process. The Grant Academy will no doubt do an excellent job of this, especially since a total of eight weeks will be dedicated to discussing narratives, budgets, and RFPs. So while proposal writing is important, I would rather get you excited about the final Grant Academy course: Grants Management.

With so much focus on winning the grant, sometimes it can be alarming for an organization to realize it actually has to come through on proposed projects within the promised timeline. In the everyday business of nonprofit work, tracking expenditures and program outcomes can easily fall by the wayside. When the grant report comes due, there’s a scramble to consolidate the required information. Grants Management will give grant writers and managers tools to successfully implement projects, track outcomes, and build relationships with funding sources; these skills all improve your chances of receiving additional funding.

Registration for Grant Academy courses is now open. Course descriptions and details are posted online. You may take courses individually or save by registering for the full five-course series as a bundle. The first course for fall 2014, Identifying Funding Sources, starts Sept. 2.