Syllabus for MSP-662



In Practical Grant Writing for Nonprofits, students will practice researching, writing, budgeting, and evaluating successful grant proposals. Grant writing ethics are stressed throughout the course. While the concepts covered can be applied to business, individual, and government proposals, this course focuses on philanthropic grants to nonprofit organizations from charitable foundations. Within one week of starting class, students will be required to identify a charitable or government entity and project to serve as a subject for their own proposal. To successfully complete the course, each student will create a proposal that he or she may wish to submit to grantmaking organizations, engage in the process of identifying funders and translating technical program objectives to a lay audience, create meaningful evaluation criteria or program process, and demonstrate how his or her program matches the funder’s mission.

Course Introduction Video



After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Create a proposal that may be submitted to a real-world grantmaking organization.

CO2        Analyze your selected nonprofit organization’s technical program objectives.

CO3        Research funders whose missions match the programmatic objectives of your recipient entities and programs.

CO4        Justify your selections of funding organizations, with the intent of satisfying the mission purpose of both the funder and internal organizational constituents.

CO5        Differentiate between why funders approve and deny applications.

CO6        Compose the applicant program’s goals and objectives, capacity, history and qualifications, and project activities and program outcomes.

CO7        Prepare a budget and rationale for specific funding needs.

CO8        Develop a process for program evaluation and sustained funding of your selected nonprofit organization’s programs.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN: 978-1595424044


Practical Grant Writing for Nonprofits is a three-credit, online course consisting of 7 modules, 5 discussion forums, 15 written assignments, and a final project. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for details.

For written assignments and the final project, please submit your work in either .doc, .pdf, or .xls file forms, when applicable. Check with your mentor at the beginning of the semester if you would like to submit your work in another form.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in this document.

Research Source Hierarchy*

For all assignments in which research is required, follow these guidelines when deciding which sources are appropriate to cite in an academic setting. Remember that they are guidelines, so you may find a limited number of exceptions. Regardless of the type of source, remember that all sources must be cited in Modern Language Association (MLA) format.

Here is the order, from most desirable (#1) to least desirable (#8) types of sources:

  1. Primary sources: quotes of what a person or source document actually said, not someone else’s interpretation.

  1. Interviews that you conduct with experts in the field.

  1. Articles appearing in peer-reviewed academic journals.

  1. Research and studies that appear in other places, conducted by legitimate sources, such as government reports or universities.

  1. Research and studies conducted by trade groups or businesses.

  1. Books, in this suborder:
  1. Academic publishers (MIT, University of Pennsylvania, University of California, etc.)
  2. Trade press (NAPCO, Charity Channel, Sage, etc.)
  3. Commercial press (Jossey Bass, Wiley, Jones and Bartlett, etc.)
  4. Private publications

  1. Newspapers, news weeklies, and major international, national, or local media outlets (New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, KYW-TV, etc.)

  1. Sources that would not normally be accepted, but may be useful due to context:
  1. Encyclopedias (Wikipedia, etc.)
  2. Popular culture magazines (People, etc.)
  3. TV and radio shows
  4. Interviews with non-experts
  5. General Internet sites and discussion groups
  6. Social media
  7. Your own stories

Faith-based texts are legitimate sources in some kinds of papers. For example, if you are citing a particular religion’s basis for a kind of cultural act, like charity, a faith-based text would be appropriate. However, religious texts tend not to be strong sources for historical or scientific evidence.

*Adapted from Oleson, Katherine. “Hierarchy of Sources.” Bellevue College, n.d., Web. 7 Sept. 2016.

Discussion Forums

This course requires you to participate in four graded discussion forums. There is also one ungraded but required Introductions Forum in Module 1.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion forum interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete 15 written assignments, one of which will be graded complete/incomplete and one of which is required, but not graded. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules and will lead into different parts of your final project, a complete grant proposal.

As you’re writing, keep in mind the word count limits that are indicated for each assignment. Often when submitting a real grant proposal, you will be limited to a certain number of words and you will not be allowed to submit anything past that limit. In this course, your mentor may not read past the word count limit indicated and exceeding that limit may affect your grade.

Final Project

The final grant proposal is the process of pulling together the elements developed in all previous modules into a coherent proposal format, suitable for a typical funder, or the specific funder identified throughout the course. In your final proposal, use the same word counts as in each of the previous modules. However, this is not a simple “copy and paste” of what you wrote before. You will be required to carefully review your mentor’s comments and incorporate any suggestions, corrections, or adjustments that you feel are helpful.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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