What Does A Grant Writer Do: Tips To Hire A Grant Writer

How to become a grant writer and tips to hire a grant writer
What Does A Grant Writer Do

Each year, public and private foundations award billions of dollars in grants, sums of money that are intended to advance a specific objective. To be eligible for these funding, an organization or individual must have an objective that aligns with a grant’s specifications. Hence, the need to hire a grant writer.

Basically, grant writers help to match funders with projects they want to support. 

Here, I will take you through the work of grant writers, how to become as well as hire one.

So, if you have a lot of work going on in your organization, don’t let time keep you from accessing potential grant money. Consider outsourcing the grant writing process and hire a grant writer.

Just grab a cup of tea and enjoy this read!

What does a Grant Writer do?

A grant writer is responsible for assembling and sending out proposals – he researches, drafts, and submits proposals that help organizations or individuals receive grant funding.

Most grant writers work for nonprofit or charitable organizations while others are self-employed and take on projects from a variety of sources, such as museums and schools.

However, irrespective of where or who they work for, their goal is to assist them with applying and qualifying for as many grants as possible.

In line with, their responsibility includes:

  • Researching grants
  • Reviewing grant guidelines
  • Writing proposals
  • Communicating with clients and donors
  • Other tasks

#1 Researching Grants

Pursuing grants costs time, resources and money. So, grant writers are responsible for taking the time to figure out which grants are worth applying for.

To find available funding, they identify grants that match the objective of the organization or individual seeking money. They often go through detailed lists, databases, and donor websites.

Additionally, part of researching grants is determining which ones are not worth pursuing. According to Shelia McCann, a grant writer, “Some work for us, and some are not a fit for who we are and what we do.”

#2 Reviewing Grant Guidelines

Most grants have specific qualifications rules.

For instance, many grant proposals often require a variety of documents, such as a cover letter, project narrative, and supporting information, which might include things like letters of endorsement from members of the community.

So, grant writers need to know these requirements before drafting proposals for any organization.

#3 Writing proposals

A proposal is factual, motivational, visual, and inviting; according to Shelia, proposal writing tells a story. They should be accurate and informational.

Through the required documents needed, grant writers creatively explain why a cause (such as environments or education) is important and how the funds will be used. For instance, they might describe the past, present, and planned activities of the grant-seeking individual or organization.

Also while drafting the proposal, writers must follow the grant’s guidelines, such as ensuring that the organization meets eligibility requirements, and provide a budget that outlines how the grant money would be spent.

Furthermore, the grant writer ensures that the proposal stands out and is motivational and persuasive so that the grant is awarded to the company.

#4 Communicating with Clients and Donors

Prospective donors will have questions and a grant writer will need to answer the questions as well as communicate with them on a regular basis.

#5 Other Tasks

Many grant writers are responsible for documenting a grant’s impact at the conclusion of a project.

In addition, they can have other roles the perform within the organization they work for, such as program management, and so on.

How to Become a Grant Writer

To become a grant writer, you need a college degree, a range of skills,  and other training or experience.

Education

Just like other types of writers and authors, you need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for entry-level grant writing jobs.

Here, your field of study doesn’t matter, but courses such as marketing, journalism, public relations, creative writing, and other English-related programs along with your major will be helpful for a career in grant writing.

Skills

Learn how to write grant proposals; refine your grant writing skills.

Basically, research and writing skills are essential for grant writers. While research helps writers find grant opportunities, good writing expresses ideas clearly and succinctly, with creativity and persuasiveness helping a proposal stand out.

Interpersonal skills are also important. This is because grant writers interact with clients, colleagues, and donors to gather and relay information.

In addition, grant writers need to be detail-oriented and have multitasking and organizational skills. These skills will help them to juggle several grant applications and adhere to each grant’s guidelines and deadlines.

Futhermore, you can enrol in an online certificate program for grant writing. Earning a certificate will definitely help your resume stand out to employers.

Gain Experience

Generally, having experience in the field or related occupation is not required for entry-level grant writing jobs. However, having this experience can be helpful.

The best way to gain experience as an aspiring grant writer is to obtain a volunteer or internship opportunity. You can volunteer with small organizations to learn how grant writing is done.

In addition, networking with other grant writers and doing some unpaid work may help you learn more about the occupation. They may also know of some open positions that you could research and provide you with helpful tips that will enhance your chances of getting hired.

Note: A background in communications, fundraising, or budgeting is also valuable.

Update Your Resume

It is important to update your resume before you apply for any job as a grant writer.

Your new resume should show the skills you’ve acquired while completing an internship or volunteer opportunity. You can use those opportunities as relevant work experience.

Also when you are applying for jobs, review the job description and qualifications and adjust your resume according to what the position requires.

Now we’ve known what a grant writer does and what it takes to become one, let’s get tips on how you can hire one.

Join a Grant Writers Association

When you become a member of a professional group for grant writers, you will be able to gain more access to job opportunities and training. Joining an association will also allow you to attend conferences and network with other professional grant writers.

Tips To Hire A Grant Writer

To hire a grant writer best suited to work with your organization or team, you need to be specific about what experience, tone, area of expertise, pay rate,… you want.

Now aside from the educational requirement, below are what you should look out for while hiring a grant writer:

  1. Experience writing grants.
  2. Evidence of past job (can provide you with examples and references).
  3. Communicates clearly.
  4. Response (does the writer respond within a reasonable amount of time).

You can define your search by adding the following factors:

  • Experience in your field (human services, engineering, animal welfare…)
  • Pay rate
  • Shared work ethic and style (such as the organizational tools they use, ability to communicate during certain hours of the workday, and so on.)

Additional Tips

  1. After reviewing applications, including grant examples, narrow your search down to 3 writers that meet your requirements. You can then schedule phone interviews with them to make your final selection.
    Once you see a grant writer that you believe will work well with your team, contact his/her references to confirm his/her experience.
  2. If your organization is on a tight budget, you may have to sacrifice experience or industry-specific knowledge. So, weigh your options carefully before choosing a candidate.
     You can go for a candidate with only 2-years of writing experience, as long as they understand your vision and have a favorable work ethic.
  3. According to Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, CFRE, Philanthropic Partners, “when interviewing potential grant writers, make sure to investigate what type of grants they’ve written before.  She went further to say that if you’re looking to apply to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), you’ll ideally want a grant writer who has secured NEA grants before.

In Summary

Because every nonprofit or charity organization requires a grant writer with different experience and traits, an ideal applicant will vary from one organization to the next.

So, to get the writer that best suits what your need, carefully go through the tips above.

I hope this guide helps you.

Good Luck!

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