Allison Shirk is an Approved Specialist in the Nonprofit Resource Directory, a vetted resource of nonprofit consultants recommended by their clients and peers. She has more than twenty years' experience in fund development with a focus on grantwriting. She has trained over 5,000 individuals in the last five years and helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars to help make the world a better place.


Allison specializes in grantwriting, fundraising, case statements, strategic planning, evaluation, continuous quality improvement, and nonprofit development. She co-founded a nonprofit and has worked in increasingly responsible fundraising roles for 20 years. She is a Columnist for the Foundation Center - New York, The Sustainable Nonprofit.


My mom was a social worker who spent her life fighting for social justice. She instilled in me a deep sense of empathy for others and a lot of FIGHT to stand up for those who couldn't stand up for themselves. I have followed in her footsteps. I have worked to protect foster children, immigrants & refugees, people experiencing homelessness, individuals with serious mental illness, and the most poor and vulnerable in our communities. I have also protected habitat and wildlife, made sure children had a place to play, and much more...

I started out as my mom did - working directly with those in need. Then  I learned about...


I learned that by using the power of the pen, combined with the spark of hope, I could write grant applications that compelled others to give money to support good causes. 

  • At first I wrote thousand dollar grants to support grassroots work.

  • Then I learned to write ten-thousand dollar grants to support programs and small capital projects

  • I went bigger and wrote hundred thousand dollar grants to support regional-level nonprofits and program development.

  • Then I learned to write grants for multi-million dollar capital campaigns.

  • And finally, I learned how to write multi-million dollar grants that changed whole systems.

And that's when I realized that by learning to write grants, I could actually help change the world. I could make a difference on a larger scale than I ever thought was possible.


Writing a winning ten thousand dollar grant is NOT THAT DIFFERENT than writing a multi-million dollar grant. With a little practice, patience, and persistence,  you can do it!

I started Spark the Fire Grantwriting Classes because I believe that we need more people like you  to SPARK THE FIRE of philanthropy.  I love teaching people how to write grants. I love meeting new people and hearing about the amazing work you are doing. And I especially love hearing from my students that they just got a grant to fund something they care deeply about and can now do more good work in the world.


Colleges are hearing about Spark the Fire Grantwriting Classes and asking me to come teach at their college. I'll be teaching at three different colleges between now and the end of the year.  More than a third of folks who sign up for Spark the Fire Grantwriting Classes were referred by a friend or colleague who attended and LOVED it.  

Whether you take my classes through a college or directly from me, you can now get a Certificate in Grantwriting that assesses if you have learned what it takes to write great grants by submitting a completed proposal for review and feedback. We will work through your finished product until it is ready to inspire the POWER OF PHILANTHROPY.

Step 1. Comprehensive Grantwriting: I'll walk you through the fundamentals, where to find grants, how to write your proposal step-by-step, how and when to communicate with grantmakers, and give you tons of tips along the way. Write the first draft of your grant. We'll dive deep into each section of the proposal, look at how grantmakers use matrixes to evaluate and score your proposal, and decipher requests for proposals (RFPs).

Step 2. Individual Assessment: Present your completed grant proposal for review and feedback. Once your grant proposal is ready, you will receive your Certificate in Grantwriting.

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I invite you to contact me with any questions you have. Invite me to come teach in your community. Let me know how I can be of service to you. Together we can make a difference! 


Let's Get Started

Interested in working together? Here's my contact info.

spark the fire grantwriting

allison shirk

PO Box 2124
Vashon, WA 98070

(206) 734-6521