Grant writing is the process of applying for non-repayable funds a governmental agency or private investors may provide to support a nonprofit organization, educational institution or a research project. In other words, grant writing is a formal request for funding addressed to an organization known to provide philanthropic support.
Nowadays, as the nonprofits around the world work relentlessly to address burning social issues, grant writing is relevant as it has never been before. Therefore, if you are passionate about learning something new and putting your efforts into support of socially beneficial causes, you may consider grant writing jobs.
Is grant writing hard?
Grant writing is challenging for the very same reason why it is promising as a career path. While many businesses offer support through financial grants, the number of applicants has never been higher before. It means that writing a grant proposal has two inherent purposes:
- To persuade the prospective funder that your organization/project is worth supporting.
- To persuade that your proposal is more relevant and promising than the competitors’ ones.
While the two tasks are seemingly interconnected, there is no guarantee that both of them will be achieved even if you are writing a draft proposal for a really impressive and beneficial project. Therefore it is safe to say that grant writing is fairly hard. However, it does not mean that there is no opportunity for a complete newbie to secure any grant writing jobs. To ensure success of your application, pay attention to the following grant writing tips.
Conduct comprehensive research on prospective grant funders
Before you start drafting your proposal, you must have a clear picture of who you are communicating with. You need to understand the goals and priorities of the organization to which you will submit the proposal to show that they are aligned with your project.
Tell a story
Once you have identified a relevant subject for grant proposal and researched on what they expect of a successful grant proposal, start writing using a story of your proposed program having served people already. In other words, you need to present a case study in support of the claim that your organization/project deserves a grant.
The point about the necessity of storytelling in grant writing does not mean that you have creative freedom. On the contrary, being concise and up to the point is one of the grant writing basics. Businesses and governmental agencies are constantly bombarded with tons of grant proposals. They simply don’t have the time and resources to pay attention to vaguely written ones.
What does it take to be a grant writer?
It is impossible to learn grant writing as if it is a sum of principles. As already shown above, it is a complicated process that demands you to bear in mind the peculiarities of the project you are writing the grant proposal for as well as the organization to which the proposal is addressed.
There are several qualities you need to possess to develop and maximize grant writing skills.
- Be a natural researcher. Grant writing process is more about research and gathering information than actual writing. You may consider drafting your grant proposal as the final step on the long research procedure.
- Communication skills are a must. As a grant writer, you will find yourself in a position to consult with the organization requesting the daft as well as the one issuing it to clarify all the information relevant for writing a successful proposal. It is a part of your research project, in fact. In other words, you will need not only to browse the web and reference books, but conduct “field research” as well.
- Be invested in the topic. In addition to knowing what you are writing about in your grant proposal, you must care about it. There is simply no way around this issue. It means that as a professional grant writer you will need to focus on a limited range of topics and projects. The good news is that there is nothing wrong about maintaining focus and acquiring expertise in a particular field.
How much does a grant writer make?
Salaries for full-time grant writing jobs vary significantly based on a number of factors.
For example, it depends on the type of employment. You may work as a freelance grant writer to get additional income or work full-time for a nonprofit launching a wide array of projects and needs to submit grant applications constantly.
On average, an in-house grant writer makes around $50,000. However, there are job offerings promising as much as $100,000 per year.
It means that your prospective grant writer salary depends solely on your enthusiasm and skills.
Do grant writers need to be certified?
Nowadays, there is a wide variety of offers in the area of grant writing education. It is easy to get lost in the numerous options for grant writing classes and grant writing courses. Luckily for you, none of them are a must to start your career as a grant writer. While they may be fairly useful to learn what is grant writing and perceive some of the grant writing basics, there is no obligatory grant writing certification.
Again this is not to say that grant writing courses are irrelevant. Nevertheless, when looking for a grant writer, organizations pay close attention to the candidate’s experience rather than educational background.This issue may seem a problem for people who only plan to enter the field. However, there is no need to fear since the demand for grant writing is likely to give you a few chances to work on grant proposals for various organizations.
How do I learn grant writing?
The question of how to get into grant writing is easier to answer than it seems. You may feel under pressure by the need to get your first proposal right so that it will secure you further grant writing jobs. Various educational options discussed above may be helpful in both learning the necessary grant writing skills and gaining confidence necessary for success.
However, it is not necessary to sign for specialized grant writing classes to obtain necessary information. The internet is full of helpful grant writing tips. You may also check books on the topic, for example, “Grant Writing For Dummies” written by Beverly A. Browning.
Once you have gathered sufficient theoretical knowledge of the matter, it is time to get started. Here are some useful tips that will help you build a practical skill set and land a few jobs in the beginning of your journey as a professional grant writer.
- Spend time researching grant opportunities. Being able to offer an organization potential grant giver in addition to writing services is highly valued.
- Offer free services. It will not hurt to volunteer a few times to build a portfolio.
- Peer review others’ proposals. This activity is a way to get acquainted with best practices and notice things that do not work well to avoid them in your own writings.
- Assist an experienced grant writing. Apprenticeship is one of the most wonderful inventions of humanity. You may learn a ton by working with an accomplished grant writer on a project too large even for them.