An education grant writer’s professional bookshelf: 19 must-reads

Here are some of Dr. Judy Riffle's favorite references on her professional bookshelf


Samuel Johnson said, “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” This is a great quote that can point to how to create a competitive grant narrative as well as to a love of reading and books.

Successfully funded grant narratives don’t leave any questions in the mind of the reviewer and read like a symphony, leading to a clear picture of the project. The reader of a grant application must be able to take the narrative and run the project independently, without any confusion. Don’t leave the reader confused; fill in all those blanks that might appear in their minds before you submit that application. 

I love to read, and wish I had more time to conquer all the books on my to-do list. Here are some of my favorite references on my bookshelf, which I hope can assist other education grant professionals to improve their writing and grant application skills. Other books on this list have been recommended by fellow grant consultants.  

These books can help assist other grant professionals with their writing and grant application skills.
These books can help assist other grant professionals with their writing and grant application skills. (Getty Images)
  1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White
  2. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
  3. Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals by Dr. Beverly Browning
  4. The Ultimate Guide to Winning Foundation Grants (A Foundation CEO Reveals the Secrets You Need to Know) by Martin Teitel
  5. Decoding Grant Management: The Ultimate Success Guide to the Federal Grant Regulations in 2 CFR Part 200 by Lucy M. Morgan
  6. Grant Writing for Dummies by Dr. Beverly A. Browning
  7. Nonprofit Bookkeeping & Accounting for Dummies by Sharon Farris
  8. Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits & Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships by Jessamyn Shams-Lau, Jane Leu, Vu Le
  9. Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty
  10. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  11. Style reference manuals - APA, MLA, Chicago
  12. PresentationZen by Garr Reynolds
  13. The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman
  14. The Social Profit Handbook by David Grant
  15. The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, Robert M. Galford
  16. Asking Styles: Harness your Personal Fundraising Power by Andrea Kihlstedt
  17. Fundraising Research Made Easy: A Practical Guide for Fundraisers by Meredith Hancks and Cara Rosson
  18. Raise More Money from Your Business Community: A Practical Guide to Tapping into Corporate Charitable Giving by Linda Lysakowski
  19. You Have a Hammer: Building Grant Proposals for Social Change by Barbara Floersch

I hope you find these suggested books helpful in your journey to craft successfully funded grant applications through successful fundraising techniques, strong budgets, stellar writing and good grammar.

What are some of your favorite books in the grant professional world?

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