How to become a grant writer

How to become a grant writer

Grant writers perform a valuable function for many businesses, schools, churches, and social organizations. Their skills help to target and attract thousands of dollars in funding that pays for jobs, equipment, buildings, and services. Some grant writers are paid an hourly rate, while others receive a monthly salary. A certain number can earn a small percentage of the funding dollars they bring in.

If you enjoy organizing information, writing proposals, and aiming at high-level goals, grant writing may be the occupation for you. While one doesn’t typically get a college degree in grant writing, there are other ways to develop an expertise in this exciting career:

  1. Read up on the subject. Go to the library or browse the local bookstore. There are even Websites that can supply helpful information on how to write grants. Read all you can about the basics of working with an organization to crunch numbers and develop proposals that will lead to financial support. You need not go into the more challenging aspects of securing funding, such as government contracts, which can be complex and require careful adherence to formulated specifications. Instead, learn about the basic principles for finding suitable grants that may serve your organization’s needs.
  2. Volunteer to help a local organization. You may want to offer your beginning expertise to a social service entity with a traditionally low budget, such as the public library or a school. Find out if someone else is already handling this service, and if not, volunteer to find one or two grants that you can apply for on behalf of the organization. Most likely the administrators will be thrilled to get your assistance, and you will be able to learn more as you actually move through the process of writing your first grant.
  3. Start small, aiming for a grant that awards a few hundred dollars. Carefully follow all guidelines and deadlines, and find an individual in the organization who can provide the needed institutional information such as employer identification number, articles of incorporation, and so on. Keep copies and records of everything in case the grant is renewable or if questions should arise. If funded, you will have a credit to add to your vita, and your expertise will make the next grant less intimidating.
  4. Study copies of successful grants. Contact organizations to whom you plan to apply and ask for copies of guidelines as well as permission to review past grants that were funded. You will get more ideas of how to word things and what the grant agency is looking for. Samples can provide help in answering potential questions about how to complete grant forms and which documentation to provide.
  5. Get in touch with grant organizations. Meet with officials to discuss your funding requests. Often someone can head off problems or steer you in the right direction to help you save time and increase your chances for writing a successful grant. A telephone inquiry, e-mail message, or in-person visit will put a voice, a name, or a writing style before the awarding officer and help you stand out from the competition.

Grant writing is a terrific way to support a community organization or make a living. Find out more before you get started in what may turn out to be a great opportunity to help others and feel good about your job.

Leave a Comment