About Our Courses

Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

Spark the Fire has been offering inspirational grantwriting classes since 2003 that equip you for advancement in the nonprofit and educational fields. Each course is online and on-demand with optional group video conferences that deep dive into the subject matter through discussion. Please click on the courses below to learn more about each one and review the curriculum. Sneak peaks into each course are available.

Former Student Testimonials

Learn what others love about these courses.

“Allison was a great instructor. She was clear in her instructions on what should go into writing a good proposal and also provided useful examples from her experiences.”

Pierce County AIDS Foundation & Chair of the City of Tacoma's Human Rights Commission

Michealia Lemons

“Personally, I had never written a grant. This class gave me the initial information and guidelines to begin to think about the process. This class was filled with valuable information and resources. The class opened my eyes and awareness to the depth in which grant writing can benefit community. Allison's teaching style is engaging and it is clear she loves what she does.”

Photographer & Community Engaged Artist

Rosemary Alpert

“Allison will walk you through the entire process from finding sources of funding to writing thank you notes after the get the grant. Her knowledge and ideas are an inspiration.”

Maketing Communications for Microsoft & Freelance Writer

Marty Wolk

“Allison is extremely knowledgeable about grantwriting and the way she presents all the information is easy to follow.”

Executive Director of Empowerment for Girls

Kristen Rubis

“Allison's course is wonderfully organized and her extensive knowledge and experience are spectacular.”

Project Developer/Writer at Washington State Department of Transportation

Colin Pippin-Timko

“Spark the Fire Grantwriting Classes offered all the tools I need to successfully and confidently writing winning grant applications.”

Gov't & Regional Affairs Director at Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce

Stephanie Swanberg

“I came away from this course with new and updated ideas for tackling a variety of grants for my organization. The instructor was engaging and knowledgeable.”

Development Manager at Outdoors for All Foundation

Brylyn Felty

“Allison is knowledgeable and approachable, which helps make a seemingly daunting process feel manageable and attainable.”

Executive Director of Alexander Hamilton Scholars

Angela Hedwall

“This course is a great start into the world of grantwriting. Allison's wealth of knowledge and eagerness to help made this a very positive experience.”

Writer

Linsdey McGhee

Course Reviews

Jodi Jonis

5 star rating

“What I liked about this online grantwriting course that was not offered in other courses was the one-to-one interaction with the instructor to address problems. I was looking for an ongoing resource in grantwriting and that is what Spark the Fire ...”

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“What I liked about this online grantwriting course that was not offered in other courses was the one-to-one interaction with the instructor to address problems. I was looking for an ongoing resource in grantwriting and that is what Spark the Fire provided. In addition to the personal interaction, completing an actual grant was the most beneficial part. I am confident that I can identify the areas of any grant I encounter, regardless of its format or novelty. However, if I were to encounter such a grant application, I know I can reach out to Allison for support. Win-win-win.”

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Jennifer Martin

5 star rating

“This is a great class. Allison is extremely knowledgeable and relishes in helping her students understand the material. She's always available for questions and further explanations. The homework assignments are relevant and rigorous, and her feed...”

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“This is a great class. Allison is extremely knowledgeable and relishes in helping her students understand the material. She's always available for questions and further explanations. The homework assignments are relevant and rigorous, and her feedback is really helpful. I highly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in grantwriting--or even to people who are just interested in learning more about how nonprofits work.”

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Nicolina Miller

5 star rating

“This was a great course. Very informative and clearly outlined for ease of comprehension and simple action steps for putting into action what we learned. A great resource for the grant writing professional.”

“This was a great course. Very informative and clearly outlined for ease of comprehension and simple action steps for putting into action what we learned. A great resource for the grant writing professional.”

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John Chabala

5 star rating

“I am a twenty-two year old college student who found myself with nothing to do this summer due to Covid. I took this certificate on a whim, hoping to kill some time and invest in myself a little bit. Boy was it worth it! I've looked at grant writi...”

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“I am a twenty-two year old college student who found myself with nothing to do this summer due to Covid. I took this certificate on a whim, hoping to kill some time and invest in myself a little bit. Boy was it worth it! I've looked at grant writing before and it felt daunting. Now I feel ready to climb that mountain. This course won't make you an expert grantwriter, the only way to do that is by grantwriting. It will, however, provide you a platform and tool kit necessary for any grant. And most importantly, for the newbies out there, by the time you're done you'll have written a grant! Meaning your biggest hurtle to grantwiritng, the actual writing of it, will be officially over. I highly recommend this course”

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April Hichens

5 star rating

“Allison is incredibly knowledgeable and has the unique ability to impart her expertise that is digestible, well-organized, and thoughtful. She's created a number of tools to use while organizing the crazy amount of information and ideas one genera...”

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“Allison is incredibly knowledgeable and has the unique ability to impart her expertise that is digestible, well-organized, and thoughtful. She's created a number of tools to use while organizing the crazy amount of information and ideas one generates while putting a proposal together. She cleared the murky waters in this writing process and armed us with the tools to tackle the work on our own. Allison is a font of wisdom. I'm looking forward to taking more classes from her! ”

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Allison Shirk

Instructor

Allison Shirk is the Executive Director of Spark the Fire Grantwriting Classes and is dedicated to helping organizations make a positive change in their community and in the world. She has more than 20 years experience writing grants for nonprofit organizations, schools, tribes, and government entities. She is an Approved Specialist in the Nonprofit Resource Directory, a vetted resource of nonprofit consultants recommended by their clients and peers. Allison specializes in grantwriting, fundraising, case statements, strategic planning, evaluation, continuous quality improvement, and nonprofit development. She has helped organization raise millions of dollars through grantwriting. She is a Columnist for the Foundation Center - New York, The Sustainable Nonprofit.

Allison Shirk

Executive Director

FAQ

  • What is the difference between the various Certificate in Grantwriting Courses

    Since you will be writing a grant proposal during this course, you will need to gather data from a nonprofit organization. This process varies depending on whether you are currently employed with a nonprofit or if you will be approaching a nonprofit for information. If you are not currently employed by a nonprofit, please choose the course for those seeking a career or service in the nonprofit field. If you are a current employee of a nonprofit, you may choose the course for nonprofit professionals or the executive course. The executive course includes the feedback and review of your supervisor during two group conference sessions during the course.

  • What is the difference between the Certificate in Grantwriting courses and the Business of Freelance Grantwriting course?

    The Business in Freelance Grantwriting course is designed for nonprofit professionals that have either completed the Certificate in Grantwriting course or who have at least three years experience in grant writing or fund development.

  • What is the difference between the Executive Certificate in Grantwriting course and the standard Certificate in Grantwriting course?

    The Executive Certificate in Granwriting course should only be taken by current employees of a nonprofit or educational organization. The course requires that the student's supervisor participates in two of the student's coaching sessions.

  • It'd like to take both the Certificate in Grantwriting and the Business of Freelance Grantwriting Course. Which do you recommend I take first?

    Brush up on your skills with the certificate course, and jump into the freelance course when you're ready to launch your business.

  • What makes it a certificate course?

    The difference between a grantwriting class and a certification course is that in a grantwriting class there is no evaluation of whether you have gained the knowledge and skills in the subject area. In a certificate class, you receive an assessment. When employers or clients see that you have received a certificate, it assures them that you understand the subject area.

  • Do the certificate courses cover prospect research and grant reports?

    Yes, Certificate in Grantwriting course take you through the complete process of grantwriting, including researching where to find grants, developing a strategy for your request, writing your proposal step-by-step, grant reporting, building relationships with grantmakers, and much more.

  • Why is this grantwriting course more expensive than some other courses out there?

    Most grantwriting courses do not include review of your writing. During this course, your grant proposal will go through several drafts that will be reviewed by your instructor. This personalized feedback and encouragement results in students gaining confidence, inspiration, and practical learning that results in greater long term success in the field and a shorter learning curve.

Calendar

Group Video Conferences

All course content is on demand. You are also welcome to join a video conference meeting to ask questions and participate in discussions. Click the button below to view the video conference calendar.

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