A talented grant writer can be the difference between an organization financing its endeavors and having to scale back or even cancel projects.
With so many worthy causes competing for available grants, it becomes critical to locate the best possible donor matches and convince them that your group’s activities will make effective use of their money. Grant writers use meticulous research and persuasive communication to achieve this positive result.
Might you thrive in this writing occupation? Here, we look at all that’s involved in getting into grant writing.
What is a Grant Writer?
Think of grant writers as fundraising professionals who locate potential sources of funding and take the steps necessary to try to secure money for their employer’s objectives. Healthcare organizations, educational institutions, social service agencies, arts associations, and other nonprofit, tax-exempt groups seek their services.
While exact duties vary by industry, common grant writer job descriptions include:
- Researching grant opportunities through governmental databases and other websites
- Evaluating the strength of the match between the grant’s criteria and the organization’s goals to determine which opportunities are worth pursuing
- Writing persuasive material (cover letter, narrative, proposal, etc.) that piques interest and clearly demonstrates how the money will be used
- Following all guidelines presented in the grant’s application outline
- Gathering supporting material, such as budgets or demographics, from others within the organization
- Submitting all material by the deadline
- Following up to ensure receipt and seeing if the potential donor needs anything else
- Carrying out any instructions from the grant provider after receiving funds and reporting results of the project
Grant Writing Skills
Grant writers must possess excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. Failure to submit all requested material in the correct format by the stated due date usually means disqualification.
As the job title implies, these professionals also need exceptional writing skills. Readers want to know specifics about how money will be spent and why. A good grant writer stirs the donor to action. Passion for the cause is a major plus.
People who choose grant writing as a career often hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in English, journalism, communications, marketing, or a similar field. Some colleges offer classes specifically on grant writing as electives, as a certificate program, or through online studies.
Employers often seek candidates with knowledge of the general field for which the grants are sought. For instance, prior experience in the healthcare industry can be valuable to a group hiring a grant writer to maintain funding for a free clinic. Proper terminology may be easier to understand and use, and a greater “feel” for what gets noticed may yield better results.
Grant Writer Salary
Glassdoor reports the average grant writer salary as about $53,800 per year. Professionals with a solid track record of securing funds tend to command the highest wages.
Finding Jobs as a Grant Writer
Some organizations hire grant writers as part of their permanent staff. Others seek out services on an as-needed basis. As a result, prospective grant writers have a variety of employment options—many of which are highly flexible. Check out FlexJobs’ flexible grant writing listings for a better idea of the types of positions available and the qualifications sought.
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