Is AI going to make grant writers obsolete? Not yet, and here’s why.

It seems like new AI platforms and enhanced AI technology are popping up every day. But, is AI really going to take over the writing world? Will it replace grant writers?

Alex, the founder of Millionaire Grant Lady and Associates, has been a grant writer for more than a decade and has seen a lot of trends come and go. With all of the positive press about AI writing platforms, we had to see what all the fuss was about.

After attending trainings in AI, reading articles and online courses about AI, and testing several platforms, we have identified some tasks where it may be appropriate and even beneficial to let a bot handle the task. However, for most tasks, a human still does a much better job.

Read this article to see:

  1. What can AI do that a human can’t?
  2. What can a human do that AI can’t?
  3. When should you use AI in grant writing?
  4. When should you avoid using AI in grant writing?

What can an AI writer do that a human grant writer can’t?

Before reading this article, I strongly recommend that you learn a little bit about how AI writing platforms work. You can check out my article on this topic here.

In my research, I have been testing AI to see if or how it can be used for grant writing. After working with several different platforms, here are the things I have seen AI be able to do really well.

  1. Generate a lot of ideas very quickly.
    AI can be used to banish writer’s block, to an extent. For example, several weeks ago, I sat down to my computer pre-coffee and needed something to kick-start my brain. I typed into AI, tell me 10 common problems grant writers face. And boom, in a few seconds, the AI writing platform had formulated a list of 10 problems.

    This list didn’t turn into anything I submitted to anyone, but it did give me a jump on getting my brain going for the day. From the list of 10, I was able to pick a couple to research more in-depth. The research I later used to create new content on my own.

I have found that AI can be a really great brainstorm-er. Not all of the ideas AI puts out are good, but usually at least one of them can get me going in the right direction.

Pro-tip: When asking it to generate ideas, there is a sweet spot for how many ideas it can generate. For me, 10 is about the max. If you ask it to generate 20 or 30, eventually AI runs out of predictive sequences and repeats itself.

  1. Create an outline very quickly.
    If you already have an idea of what you want to write about but need help developing the ideas, ask AI to create an outline for you.

    Simply tell it, “I am a grant writer. Create an outline about [topic]. Include [add details.]”

    In less than a few minutes, it will craft an outline that you can use to guide your own writing. While not every idea on the outline will be a good one, the outlines AI has created for me usually get my creative brain working so I can move in a good direction more quickly than if I had thought of each idea on my own.

    Pro-tip: The more specific you are, the better the output will be. For example, in the section where it says [topic] if you put “homelessness,” “causes of homelessness,” “providing services for individuals facing homelessness,” etc., these are all going to get you very different results.

  2. Create a headline, title, or social media post very quickly.
    Many AI platforms allow you to copy and paste in large amounts of text. If you already have a text you are working from and need to create a short piece of writing based on this longer text, you can copy and paste in the long text and ask AI to create headlines, titles, or social media posts for the text.

    Pro-tip: Ask it to generate more responses than you actually need. For example, 10 headlines, 10 social media posts, 10 titles. By asking it for 10, it gives you a chance to find one that you like or to identify a pattern you’d like to use to create your own.

  3. Summarize something (when the content of the summary isn’t all that important) very quickly.
    AI cannot understand the context for the writing it is creating. It writes based on its word prediction algorithm. This means that it doesn’t know the funder you are writing for, their priorities, your priorities, or what is happening in the world today. It is simply predicting which word should come next based on complex calculations.

    Recently my son came home from school and “summarized” a story about what happened to him at school that day. Later on, he was telling the story to his dad and it was a totally different story. When I asked him about it, he said that he summarized the story for me. Turns out, in his summary he left out literally the only important part of the story.

    Just like my elementary school son failed to understand what was important when telling me the summary, if you ask AI to summarize something, it is likely going to leave out the important information. It is just predicting the next word based on its algorithm.

    But, if you have a large amount of content and you already know what’s important, you can ask AI to summarize the text. Then, you can augment the AI summary by adding back in the important details AI removed.

    Pro-tip: Think of AI like a calculator. It is only as correct as what has been put into it. Always check what AI gives you, and make sure it fits with your organization’s goals, brand, and voice.

What can a human grant writer do that AI can’t?

  1. Read and comprehend what has been written.
    AI stands for artificial intelligence. It is artificial intelligence because the writing only appears to be created by a being who understands. AI does not actually understand the writing that it creates. It creates writing much like the predictive text feature on your phone. It scans what you have written and guesses at the next word that you want. Sometimes, these guesses are right, but many times, they lead to illogical or inaccurate messages. AI does not know and is not able to determine if what it is writing “makes sense.”

Humans, though, can cognitively process what has been written and predict, based on their understanding of their organization’s goals and the funder’s goals, what needs to be written next. Because of this understanding, a human grant writer can craft a much more compelling grant application by explaining, in a compelling way, what the need for the program is, how the organization is meeting this need through the program, and how the program ties to the funder’s goals.

  1. Understand context.
    Is your organization growing? You know that. AI doesn’t.

    Is your organization unique because you provide services in a way no one else in your area does? You know that. AI doesn’t.

    Do you know the mission of a particular foundation and what they like to fund? You know that. AI doesn’t.

    Are there specific current issues that your organization is working to address? You know that. AI doesn’t.

    A well-crafted grant proposal will provide context for your program and its need. This context is part of what will allow you to earn more funding. A human grant writer can understand and incorporate this context. Without this context, your grant proposal will likely get put straight into the recycling bin.

  2. Create a highly competitive grant proposal.
    AI uses predictive text. It scans the writing it has to create writing. At its worst, AI writing is inaccurate and perpetuates the inherent biases of the language it was trained on. At its best, AI produces average writing, which will not lead to a highly competitive grant proposal.

    Now you may be thinking that your own writing is less than average, so maybe AI writing is better. And that could be. But writing skills are a muscle that can be developed over time.

    So if your organization does not have a strong grant writer, you could consider developing a person so they are able to write effective grants, or if budget allows, you could hire outside help. Millionaire Grant Lady and Associates partners with nonprofit organizations of every size across the United States to win them more money for their mission. Want to know more about how we can help you? Contact us today!

    Effective grant proposals can multiply funding for your organization. However, submitting average, potentially nonsensical applications really isn’t much better than not submitting an application at all.

  3. Be creative.
    AI may appear creative because it is able to create long strings of words that describe complex topics, but remember, it is essentially predictive text. It is only using what it has already been given to create text. This means that it cannot generate new ideas, explain how your unique program will solve a new problem, or tie your organization to the funder’s priorities.

    Remember, chatbots only know they are chatbots because they have been told they are chatbots. They are not self-aware. In fact, I asked a popular chat program how it knew it was a chat program. It said, “I don’t ‘know’ that I’m an AI language model in the same sense that a person knows something. My responses are generated based on programming and data rather than self-awareness or understanding.”

    And because AI writing platforms are not self-aware and they do not actually understand anything, they cannot be aware of or understand you, your organization, and your program.

    A human grant writer, however, can use their creative and emotional intelligence to create a compelling grant proposal that ties to the funder’s goals. This creativity and originality will help bring your project to life, help you stand out from the crowd, and multiply more funding for your organization. This is what it takes to win grant dollars.

When should you use AI writing platforms in grant writing?

AI excels at tasks that require speed and volume. When you need many ideas generated quickly to get you going, AI can do this well. When you want several social media posts from the same content, AI can do this, too.

All AI writing should be overseen by a human. Even social media posts that AI has created for me need quite a bit of touching up to be ready to go.

When should you avoid using AI in grant writing?

I would avoid using AI in grant writing anytime you need:

  1. Up to date information—AI chatbots do not have sufficient information about current events to write about our current world with specificity and accuracy
  2. Specific writing about your organization—Even if you tell AI what is important about your organization, it cannot really understand what you mean. AI just uses predictive text to write about organizations like you. A strong grant writer must help you stand apart from the crowd not create writing that shows you are just like the crowd.
  3. Creative solutions—AI uses predictive text to write based on predetermined patterns. If your organization is solving problems in new ways, AI cannot write this content for you.
  4. Nuanced answers—In my testing, I provided AI with three versions of the same question, each with a different spin. AI cannot understand nuance and created three nearly identical answers.
  5. Longer pieces of writing—Because AI uses predictive text features, at some point it just starts to repeat itself. When I tested AI a year ago, AI repeated itself after just a few sentences. Now, I find it doesn’t start to repeat itself until about a page. This feature is getting better with time. However, since many grant proposals are 6 to 8 pages in length, AI is far from being able to achieve this at this time.
  6. Writing you can put your name on—Much of the writing that I have created through AI just doesn’t feel right to me. The words are off, the data is old, the trajectory of the writing doesn’t fit my vision or purpose for the piece. At this time, I will not put my name on anything AI has created.


While AI writing platforms are intriguing, at this time, they have a limited range of what they can do well. If you have a task where speed and volume are paramount, AI can help you with these tasks.

However, if creativity, authenticity, accuracy, and effectiveness are your primary concerns, then a human grant writer can still do this job better.

Are you interested in AI grant writers because you need help creating or submitting grant proposals?

The team at Millionaire Grant Lady and Associates has won more than $103 million in grant funding to date for our clients. We can help you, too. Contact us today to see how we can partner with your organization to win more funding for your mission.