Instructor Profile – Jay Katz – Online Grant Writing

Jay KatzJay Katz has been writing grant proposals since 1990, and started his own business as full-time grant writer in 1995. Today he teaches grant writing online and works with multiple organizations to secure grant money.

What are the benefits of studying grant writing online at SDSU?
I think in a way people have a lot more opportunity to interact with me one on one. They have more time to think and reflect on what they are learning, and then to ask questions. Whereas in a live classroom, the lecture might be too quick – meaning the information may be flowing too quickly and they may not have the opportunity to ask questions.

So students receive more attention?
Yes, more attention and more time. I know personally I am a very deliberate learner. I like to stop and think about what I am learning rather than having a one-hour lecture. During lectures you have to constantly be on. With an online structure, students can pause the lecture, write notes, email me, or post something on a message board. Where in a classroom situation, they just have to keep on target or interrupt the instructor.

How do the students communicate with you?
A discussion and message board is used to communicate with me and the entire class. What I like about it is that many students have the same questions or have their own personal experience with the subject and they want to share, the board gives them an opportunity to do so.

Which types of activities, homework or projects do you assign?
Students do everything from researching and funding opportunities, to writing an actual letter of inquiry, which is a short proposal that goes to foundation grant makers. They learn how to dig into grant research by looking at tax forms for private funders to see where grants are awarded. They learn how to work with federal grant opportunities and how to understand whether or not the opportunity is a good one to pursue.

What makes this online grant writing class unique to other grant writing programs?
I know there are webinars and I know there is prerecorded stuff out there, and this program is way more sophisticated than a webinar. I have attended webinars; however, you don’t get to practice the information that is being presented and you don’t get personal attention.

Who should take this online program?
People who will benefit the most are those who are in the nonprofit field and looking to build on their skills. There are those who may be pursuing a career with a nonprofit organization, and they want to gain skills and make themselves more attractive to potential employers. Then there are people who are generally interested in learning more. They were or are volunteers with their organizations and they are interested in acquiring a new skill.

What’s the best advice that you have to share?
Get a mentor.

Is there anything else?
I have my own resource website for grant writers at www.sandiegogrants.org. It has tips and information on it to help grant writers. And, I always tell people who are interested in careers in grant writing to get experience before you start to pursue a career. The best way to do this is to become a volunteer.

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