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Grant Research & Proposal Development

Member of:
American Grant Writers Association
For Grant Writers Only
Grant Writers Networking Group
Professional Grant Writers-Grant Writing

Ron S. Nolan, Ph.D. 
FarSun Communication Services
222 Santa Cruz Avenue, No. 11
Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 688-3158

...available week days and weekends...


I have a great deal of experience in grant writing for education, community, environmental and health-related projects.

Competition for grant funds is intense!

I will do my best to make sure that your proposal is as competitive as possible.

In order to provide first rate service to my clients, I only undertake a few projects simultaneously.  So, please contact me early in advance of your looming project deadline!

Despite the economic challenges, not-for-profit organizations can increase their budgets by increasing their grant applications in the short term.  2017/2018 is a good time to work with a professional grant writer to increase your success rate and take advantage of capital that is still available in the foundation and federal funding agencies.

Reasons to contract out your grant writing:

1. In these tough economic times for organizations and agencies, it makes more sense now than ever cost-wise to contract out grant work rather than to support a full grant writing staff--due to savings in insurance, workers comp, retirement and health benefits, etc.

2.  There are also savings in efficiency in that a contractor is on-target with a fixed price and because funding prospects are well defined in advance.

3.  There are many RFPs out  in education, energy and technology at the DE, DHS, NEA and NSF that I can bring to the attention of school districts, colleges and universities and I have a great deal of experience in researching and identifying funding sources.

4.  Since I telecommute, I provide all of the office overhead and necessary equipment and software needed to develop and assist you in electronically filing your query letter and grant application.  I can also cost-effectively provide your grant tracking and reporting requirements.

5.  For large-scale projects or demanding deadlines, I have professional associates ready to assist your project.

6.  I am also ready and willing to assist your agency grant writer as needed.

I have many years of experience in grant writing.  Here is a brief summary.  Please contact me if you would like a complete resume or to discuss rates.  Please note that I do not work on a commission basis.

Tips for Getting Your First Grant

Please be aware that there is a very high level of competition for grant funding and funding sources are limited.  However, you will succeed if your project is worthy; if your passion is deep and your motivation is strong. 

Organization Structure

Your organization will need a non-profit status (501(c)(3) and a tax exemption letter from the IRS to meet the basic qualifications of most funding sources.  Although you can form your own foundation, be aware that there may be state requirements for the representation on the board of directors that will legally take the control of “your” foundation away from you.

However you may work with an established non-profit to serve as the program administrator and fiscal agent.  In this case, your for-profit business might serve as a subcontractor.  Search for “fiscal agents.”

Even if you do have a (501(c)(3), you don’t yet have a track record, so you are at a disadvantage performance-wise.  This is a PRIME reason to TEAM up with an organization that has a similar geographic or program focus for your first round of fundraising.

Grant Writing Costs

My fee for grant writing is $37.50/hour paid weekly by PayPal.  I will negotiate with you a deposit and a not-to-exceed amount for work tasks.

It is regarded as unethical (and illegal by some) for a grant writer to defer compensation and take a share of the grant proceeds.  Please don’t ask.

To reduce costs, do the research for funding agencies yourself.  For the leads that seem to offer a reasonable chance of success (geographic location, subject, $ amount) determine their deadlines and record the website address.  You should list by deadline.

Once you have narrowed down the funding sources, either follow the directions or contract me to create the proposal and budget.  The more that you do, the less I will have to do and the less your upfront costs.

However, if you have the resources but not the time or inclination, you can contract me to do the funder research and strategic grant planning.  For more read Strategic Grant Planning below.

Strategic Grant Planning

Phase I.  Client Needs Assessment 

    In the first phase, I  coordinate with the organization’s staff to clearly identify the organization’s needs.  The object is to develop an approach that will minimize their costs and maximize their returns.  My writing efforts routinely begin by helping the client to clearly organize priorities, identify their goals and then construct a roadmap to reach them.  I request the following data from the outset.

Organization Background

  • List website URL
  • List E-mail addresses for key contacts
  • Provide a description of your organization (focus, background)
  • Provide short biographies of key personnel.

Project description

  • Define project(s) location.
  • Define project(s) goals.
  • Define target demographics.
  • List intended outcomes.

Funds Needed

  • Define amount needed.
  • Over what time period?
  • Is it capital or non-capital expense or both?
  • Funds are to be used for general or for specific project purposes.
  • Develop a tentative budget showing direct and indirect costs.
  • Define the percent of goal requested per funding source.
  • What if a grantor offers a smaller amount?
  • What is the minium funding needed for the project?


  • List grants and amounts received in the past for similar efforts.
  • List grants received in excess of $25,000.
  • List similar organizations.
  • List potential funding sources that your organization has identified.

Phase II  Funding Source Identification and Inquiry

    In the second phase, I use the information from Phase I to organize the search for candidates then proceed as follows:

  • Survey potential funding sources.
  • Prioritize list of funders based upon project scope match and filing deadlines.
  • Develop a list of items required for submission.
  • Develop a schedule for submissions.
  • Develop a letter of inquiry to be approved by your organization.
  • Submit letters of inquiry.
  • Based upon the response to inquires, develop a budget and schedule for grant writing.

Phase III  Grant Writing

    Once the funding candidates have been identified, formal grant writing begins and addresses each of the following tasks:

  • Develop narrative outline.
  • Identify long-lead time items (like commitment letters) and assign mutually agreed upon responsibilities and clear deadlines for letters to be received.
  • Develop a budget and budget narrative submit to client for review.
  • Develop technical proposal narrative and submit to client for review.
  • Revise according to review comments.
  • Prepare document and attachments for submission.
  • Submission
  • Delivery Tracking and Confirmation

Ron S. Nolan, Ph.D.

Government Grant Writing Experience

Experienced at developing and submitting electronic proposals to:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Department of Labor
  • USDA
  • HUD
  • State of Hawaii
  • State of California

My experience in developing proposals spans several decades beginning with my graduate studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  I have developed proposals for my own research, the University of California, Santa Cruz; the Development Consulting Network and Hatchuel Tabernick and Associates. 

Education Grant Writing Experience

  • Nolan has had a long involvement in efforts to educate young people as well as adults in environmental conservation.  One of the projects is the Task Force Environmental Education Kit.  This combination of instructional television series, interactive software and web discussion forum encourages students to understand the issues related to declining salmon fisheries.  It challenges students to develop skills in the resolution of environmental conflict by studying a wide range of differing viewpoints and then to develop their own management plan.  This was funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation in 1994.
  • Developer of Salmon Preservation: a Case Study in the Resolution of Environmental Conflict, a web site with a wide range of  resources, fishery data and open forum. 
  • Developer of Coral Kingdom, instructional software about the biology and ecology of coral reefs, Digital Studios, 1993.
  • Developer of Ecosystems (upper division level college textbook on CD-ROM), Digital Studios, 2000.

Information Technology Experience.

I have a keen interest in technology and have twice served as a research associate in computer engineering at UC, Santa Cruz

Environmental Experience

I have designed and conducted numerous environmental studies and impact statements; produced a national educational TV series on salmon populations and authored a college textbook on ecosystems.

Availability and Capability

Nearly all of my grant writing services have been provided via telecommuting and I am comfortable with that arrangement.  I am also willing to work on a contract basis or at an hourly rate. 

Contact Dr. Nolan

I can be reached at
    Ron S. Nolan, PH.D.
    222 Santa Avenue, No. 11
    Aptos, CA 95003
   (831) 688-3158