Book Review of "Getting Funded: A Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals, 4th Edition"

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Book Review of "Getting Funded: A Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals, 4th Edition"

Wells reviews Getting Funded: A Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals, 4th Ed. by Mary Hall and Susan Howlett.  Wells considers it “one of the most straightforward ‘how to’ grant writing books.”  According to Wells, the book leads the reader on a logical progression from understanding project planning to submitting a grant proposal, with chapters on grant planning steps, grant writing, and finally submitting a grant proposal.  Wells praises the book’s resource, evaluation, and writing sections as valuable to a grant writer in the grants process, whether the reader is a novice or a working grant professional.





Book Review

Getting Funded: A Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals, 4th Edition
by Mary Hall & Susan Howlett
Portland State University Continuing Education Press, 2003. $34.95

Reviewed by Michael Wells

Michael Wells is a partner in Grants Northwest, a consulting firm in Portland, Oregon. He is a charter member of AAGP and has served on the Board of Directors since 2000. Michael is currently serving as the Treasurer of the AAGP Board of Directors. He also teaches grant writing at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.

I’ve been using Mary Hall’s classic Getting Funded as the text for my university grantwriting class for a decade, but the third edition was getting a little dated. So I was excited to learn that she was updating it. I wasn’t disappointed, its still one of the most straightforward “how to” grantwriting books in a crowded field (Books in Print lists 75 titles under “nonprofit proposal writing’). For this edition, Hall has a collaborator, Susan Howlett, but I don’t know how they divided the work -- the book flows seamlessly.
The new Getting Funded keeps the same structure as the old book, dividing it into two sections: four chapters on Essential Planning Steps (including assessing organizational capability and finding funding sources) and nine chapters on Writing and Submitting the Proposal. But within this structure, she’s gone into more detail and made the book more practical. While the third edition seemed a little academic, this one is designed for someone working in a nonprofit on a real grant proposal.
In addition to the more practical approach, Hall has made it contemporary. The resources pages include web sites as well as books and publications. The evaluation section covers logic models and acknowledges that smaller grants don’t need fancy evaluation. The writing section talks about working in a team to develop a project.
Getting Funded is a perfect teaching tool. Its organization leads the novice reader through a logical progression to understanding the process of project planning, then each of the sections in a full grant proposal. The information is equally useful for foundation or government grants, and the differences are noted. Hall and Howlett are aware of the book’s long use as a text and have syllabuses in the back for a nine-session class or a one day workshop, as well as suggested assignments. My only complaint is that some of the one-page charts which I used in class have been divided between pages -- so I had to cut and paste to create overheads.
I would recommend the new Getting Funded to anyone in the grants field, whether you’re just getting started doing your first major proposal or you’re a working professional wanting a reference work.