Grant Writers

GRANT WRITING SKILLS

To be successful in this field, Grant-Writing-Proposals.com ranks these as the top 10 qualifications of effective grant writers:

  1. Strong organizational skills
  2. The ability to conduct prospect research and needs analyses
  3. Good writing skills
  4. Grant writing experience
  5. Good interview and communication skills
  6. The ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines
  7. The ability to work well with others
  8. Budgeting and data analysis experience
  9. Experience planning and/or implementing programs
  10. The ability to follow directions

HOW TO HIRE A GRANT WRITER

Grant writers work for organizations on one of two bases: as an employee or a consultant.

When hiring a grant writer, organizations will want to review the applicant’s resume for grant writing experience and speak with references. Generally, those who have been in the field the longest are also the most successful. Organizations seeking to hire a grant writer may want to seek the following information from grant writing candidates:

  • What kind of grants has the individual prepared? Government grant writing is more extensive than foundation proposal writing. Has the applicant written one or both types of grant proposals? Ask to see samples of written documents, including grant requests, prepared by the job applicant to evaluate the individual’s writing skills. Examine the materials to determine the individual’s style of writing, use of proper grammar, content quality, and creativity.
  • How many grant proposals has the individual written or contributed to the preparation? What was the job applicant’s role in preparing the document? This will clue in the organization to the applicant’s ability to lead or work with a team in preparing a grant proposal.
  • What kind of feedback did the individual receive about the grants? Note: It is as important to know why grant requests were approved or denied since so many factors in the approval process are beyond the control of a grant writer.
  • Does the job applicant have an educational background or background experience in the organization’s area of need (counseling, healthcare, juvenile justice, elementary or collegiate education)? Effective grant writers also have program experience.

HOW TO BECOME A GRANT WRITER

Individuals interested in learning the profession of grant writing can take workshops and classes offered by colleges and universities toward a degree or for continuing education credit (such as Purdue University Calumet @http://education.calumet.purdue.edu/faculty/jancich/) and other professional organizations (such as The Foundation Center @www.foundationcenter.org.) The American Association of Grant Writers @ www.grantprofessionals.org offers learners a certificate program.

Grant writing instruction is also available through this website Grant-Writing-Proposals.com.

Click here to order a copy of Let’s Write a Grant, a step-by-step guide to proposal writing, or the online grant proposal writing e-lesson series How To Write A Grant.


FEES AND SALARIES

Grant writers may be salaried employees, paid an hourly rate, or paid a flat or project fee. Experienced, highly successful grant writers – those experiencing a 50-75% success rate – will come at a higher rate than those just entering the profession.

Research Associates at www.grantexperts.com conducted a national survey about the salaries of grant professionals. They reported that annual gross salaries were between $35,000 and $44,999. Grant professionals with more than twenty years of experience received higher salaries, between $45,000 and $59,999, while those with one to three years received a lower salary in the $25,000 to $34,999 range.  It should be noted that half the respondents reported duties other than grant writing, such as administration and evaluation.

PayScale.com, at www.payscale.com, estimates the range of salary for a grant writer slightly higher: $33,178 to $52,224, with senior writers making up to $64,900. Organizations can also refer to www.salary.com to determine pay scales.

The hourly rate for grant writing consultants ranges from $15 to $100+ and varies according to an individual’s experience and the complexity of the grant proposal. Consulting fees may range from a low of $25,000 to a high of $150,000+. Flat rate fees begin at a few thousand dollars up to $12,000-$15,000 and even higher for a federal grant.

Should a grant writer be paid a percentage of the approved grant? Several professional fundraising associations have a policy against charging for fund raising based upon a percentage of the funds received. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (www.afpnet.org) has a policy against accepting any part of funds raised. Likewise, some grant writers feel it is unethical to charge a percentage fee for grant writing, and some foundation grant makers declare it an unacceptable practice.

Whatever the type of payment, it is wise to have a written agreement or contract so that both the grant writer and organization agree to the payment, payment schedule, and scope of work.