Use Your Grants as a Tool of Change Webinar

Decolonize Your Grants: How grant writers can deconstruct their traditional grant writing practices and instead use their grants programs to further social justice. 

The words we use matter. The stories we tell have an impact. Yet, our grants are often full of old, recycled language and buzzword descriptors that are more than just boring — they’re harmful. Grant writers play a critical role in branding the organization and crafting the ways in which it is presented to funders, and thus they are critical in integrating social justice into fundraising programs – and the overall culture and work of their organization. 

This hour-long workshop explores how grant writers at all stages of their career can ground their grant writing practices in race, equity, and social justice.  Participants will explore the ways in which we talk, teach, and practice nonprofit work  can uphold harmful systems of oppression – or use their writing to further anti-racist, community-centric principles. From word choices to storytelling, we’ll delve into how to deconstruct grant writing, and identify alternatives that writers can start using right away, including: 

  • How the language you use to describe your participants can perpetuate stereotypes – and what to do about it.
  • The ways in which using constituents’ stories can perpetuate tokenism, and how you can instead tell truthful, empowering stories that elevate the communities with which we partner.
  • Why we need to discuss your organization’s DEI initiatives and fundraising programs without lapsing into vague buzzwords.


Catherine Ashton (she/her) is on a mission to change the way nonprofits raise money. As the founder of Giant Squid Group LLC, Catherine works with nonprofits to land donors, win grants, and fund their works.  She is a sought-after coach, speaker, and strategist locally and nationally, and specializes in helping organizations marry best practices and mission-aligned innovation to drive systems-level change. 

Catherine is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and equity in the nonprofit sector, and has been a raging feminist from a young age. In her “outside of work” time she’s volunteering with the Austin Diaper Bank,  or chasing her energetic daughter, Rosalind down the nearest hiking trail.  You can find Catherine at and learn about her nonprofit work at