If you enjoy writing, researching, and charitable causes, you might also enjoy being a grant writer. Grant writers write grant proposals for companies and non-profit organizations, helping them to obtain funding for their various projects.
Looking to learn a little more about being a grant writer? Interested in becoming one yourself? This article has you covered.
What Is a Grant Writer?
When you hear the term “grant writer”, you likely think of someone who writes grants. This is not quite true. Grant writers don’t write grants; They write grant proposals.
Grant proposals are research documents that companies and non-profit organizations send to grant donors in an effort to secure funding. The purpose of the proposal is to convince the donor that the organization’s project is worth supporting. As such, the proposal needs to be impeccably written.
Because many organizations lack the skill or wherewithal needed to write a good grant proposal, they sometimes export the task to a professional, someone who understands how grants work and how to secure them. This professional is, of course, the grant writer.
Now, this isn’t to say that all grant writers work for themselves. Some organizations do employ grant writers full-time. However, the good majority of grant writers work as freelancers, offering their services to numerous companies, schools, non-profits, and other such organizations.
Responsibilities of a Grant Writer
While they’re known as grant writers, their responsibilities include more than just writing. The primary responsibilities of a grant writer will be reviewed below.
Research Available Grants
One of the biggest responsibilities of a grant writer is to research grant funding opportunities. This is done to ascertain which grants would best suit his or her clients’ projects.
See, grants are typically not generalized. In most cases, they’re designed to cater to a specific sector or industry. For instance, an organization might create a grant to give to a company working in the healthcare industry.
As the grant writer, you need to choose a grant which aligns with your clients’ work. If you choose a grant which doesn’t align with the work of your client, your client’s organization will have no chance of winning it.
As we’ve noted, grant writers write grant proposals. Grant proposals are meant to follow the guidelines of grant donors. Because of this, every proposal that’s written ends up being a little different from the last.
When writing, you not only need to be able to follow the provided guidelines, but you also need to be able to communicate factual information in a clear and inspiring manner. At its core, grant writing is persuasive writing.
Communicate With Clients and Donors
In order for a grant writer to secure grant funding, he or she must keep close communication with his or her clients as well as with prospective grant donors. Depending on the circumstances, this communication could happen either in-person, on the phone, or via email.
How to Become a Grant Writer
Now that you understand the responsibilities of a grant writer, you might be wondering how to become one. We’re going to get into the specifics below.
Brush Up on Your Writing Skills
The first step is to brush up on your writing skills. Not only must you possess impeccable grammar, but you must also be able to demonstrate a sophisticated vocabulary.
Look at a few examples of grant proposals as guidelines. Study the writing style contained within them and try your best to adopt it.
Take a Grant Writing Course
If you’re entirely new to the grant writing process, you would be wise to take a grant writing course. A grant writing course will not only help you with the writing of grant proposals but with client communication, research, and a variety of other skills.
Find a First Gig
Once you think you’re ready to write a grant proposal, you need to find your first gig. This can be challenging, as it requires you to put in a good deal of leg work. However, if you put the time in, you’ll almost certainly find an organization willing to give you a chance.
Starting out, your best bet is to call up or email non-profit organizations. Non-profits generally don’t have grant writers of their own, and generally don’t have a lot of money to pay one. Offer your services at a low rate (or for free), and you’re bound to snag your first gig.
Once you’ve completed your first gig, you’ll have a better chance at landing other gigs. This is particularly true if your first gig was successful (ie. your client received a grant).
That being said, if you want to land consistent work, you need to market yourself properly. Create a website for your grant writing services, establish appropriate social media pages, and continue to reach out to organizations that might need proposals.
Skills Needed as a Grant Writer
Grant writers require a few different skills, all of which are fairly straightforward. First and foremost, grant writers must be able to write. If your grammar or vocabulary is poor, you’re going to have a difficult time securing a grant.
Secondly, you need to have solid research skills. Not only must you do research for your grant proposals, but you must also do research to discover available grants.
Lastly, you need to be able to communicate, both orally and in the written word. This is not a career for shy or complacent individuals. You will have to speak with clients and donors on a regular basis.
How Much Money Do Grant Writers Make?
Grant writers make varying amounts of money based on a number of different factors. These factors include success rate, number of clients, type of clients, monetary rate, and manner of work, to name just a few.
Entry-level grant writers generally charge between $30 and $40 an hour. However, experienced grant writers who work in big markets can charge as much as $100 an hour. If you have an especially high success rate, you can charge ever more than $100 an hour.