Having a grant writing service is a lucrative business. Grant writing is now attracting more people and businesses looking how to supplement their savings and profits.
So how can you start your own grant writing consulting business? First, consider the matter carefully since making the transition can prove more complex than it actually seems.
Before starting a grant writing consulting service, bear in mind these two major prerequisites:
1. proven track record of successful grant proposals
2. nonprofit experience and knowledge
There are many professional grant writers out there. However, some of them have no nonprofit or grant writing experience. Unfortunately, a background in technical writing doesn’t make you a grant writer. It doesn’t make the transition easy since grant writing is different from technical writing.
In technical writing, there is tons of research involved. Just like grant writing, the process involves accumulation of about projects and funders. This is where the similarity ends, however. Grant writing consultants have one or more clients with various programs and goals. Having a technical writing background will enable you to produce content about numerous topics easily while in grant writing, there is a emotional language tuned to interest the reader.
Funders provide money if they are tugged emotionally. They have a personal or emotional connection to the cause that the grant will fund. Grant writers have the job of convincing the funders that their organization deserves the money more than their other competitions who are also asking for the same funds.
Organizations looking to hire or outsource grant writing jobs to someone with no proven track record or nonprofit field experience would be a slim chance. There are people claiming to be grant writing professional, but only prove to be a disappointment because they cannot provide well-thought out grant proposals.
If you’re an experienced grant writer and have a portfolio and reliable references to prove it, you can start your very own grant writing consulting business, whether in an office or homebased. You can produce a presentation folder that include your bio with professional related experience, a catalog detailing the projects you have worked on, and portfolio of organizations that have approved your grant proposals. Additionally, highlight specific areas such as benefits or affordability in working with your company.
Define your target niche. Identify what types of grants your grant writing consulting business will focus on. They can either be small business grants, research grants, or grants geared for nonprofits.
Try submitting a brief presentation to individuals you know who manage nonprofits. From your wealth of nonprofit experience, you certainly have established connections and built networks.
You can use your own local grantee lists you have accumulated over your past work experience to start an online database or inventory. This way, you can easily manage to send out ads or postcards to nonprofits on your list. If you must, follow up with an email or phonecall. Try being visible in the social media sphere to promote your grant writing consulting business. Build a website and design it around specific content to increase readership and traffic. Soon enough, you’ll be getting frequent referrals and new clients.
If your organization is planning to apply for foundation or federal grants, you know that producing a well-written grant proposal is crucial in having a charitable institution or the government decide whether you’ll get the money or not. If your organization lacks the employment of a grant writing staff, it will be in your best interest to get a hold of a grant writing service to propose funding requests for you.
Grant writing services are aplenty; you can find them in your local community or online. These services will utilize the information you have handed out about the applicant – whether it’s yourself or your organization. They will transform that information into the perfect grant proposal that you need to be submitted, taking into account the proper format and tuning the right language. By hiring grant writing services, you’ll be hiring people that know the writing process and the basic elements such as your project specifications, budgetary status, references, etc.
So how do you select the right grant writing service? To start off, you can conduct a search for grant writing services online. However, the web will leave you with multiple options, so it’s vital that you carefully check the grant writing service that will suit your needs and budget.
Below is a list of factors you must consider in choosing the grant writing service that’s right for you:
- Pricing: The pricing can be a huge deciding factor in your selection of a grant writing service. However, don’t let this stop you. There are several services that offer quality grant writing (research staff experience) and will also cost you less. Pick one that’s right for you.
- Experience: Staff experience is necessary in order to furnish you with high-quality grant writing. Remember that you need to obtain funds so it’s important that the written proposal is original, well-thought out, and clearly detailed. Only experienced researchers and writers can provide you with successful grant proposals. When in doubt, ask the writing service how long they have been in business, and the educational attainment and work experience of its grant writing staff.
- Knowledge: Ensure that the staff is knowledgeable in all specific areas of grant writing. If you’re after funds that are technology- or medical- related, it’s imperative that you seek out a grant writing service that has a staff specializing in these fields.
- Samples: Grant writing services provide actual work samples on their portfolios or website. Check out these samples to help you decide if it’s the grant writing service you’re after. If you have picked a service and have not seen a sample online, contact them to provide you with current samples. Also, beware of grant writing scams. There are tons of them online. Grant writing service scammers ask you to pay an upfront fee for their work or just for their samples. Don’t fall prey to them.
Keep in mind that you and your organization are not the only ones who will be seeking for grants. There is stiff competition, whether you’re applying for charitable funds or government grants. By hiring well-qualified and professional grant writing services, you can improve the odds of scoring the grant funds that you seek.
Grant writing involves guidelines that need to be followed in order for the grant application to be a success. Here are the fundamentals of grant writing and its explanations to help you navigate each stage of the process.
Preliminary grant writing is time-consuming preparatory work. However, this is regarded as the most crucial aspect of the grant writing process. Why? This will simplify each stage of the process.
In this stage, you have to define your project. Clarification, scope definition, and identification of specific objectives and goals are involved. Your objectives and goals imply that the proposal is seeking support for your organization’s needs whether it’s for an equipment purchase, recruitment, or production training.
Project outcomes must also be drafted in considerable terms. A timeline is a good idea wherein it showcases the planning phase, duration of seeking out funds, proposal writing, and the target start date of the project. Every so often, you must update the timeline as you unearth more information about the submission deadlines, award schedules, etc.
Determining the funders
To assist you in your funding research, you can turn to public libraries, foundation offices near you, publications, and online databases of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations. Look for a funding source that will be a good match between your project and the funds you’re seeking. Address funding priorities, purpose of the funder and your project, budgetary requirements and specific preferences.
Directly contact the funders that you think will support projects like yours. This way, you can also learn if the funder has other grant sources for which your project can qualify. The contacts you make may prove useful.
Securing proposal guidelines
These guidelines will enable you to know about eligibility requirements, submission deadlines, proposal formats, budgets, award levels, funding priorities and goals, review timetables, contacts, and evaluation criteria.
So carefully read the guidelines, review them again, and ask the funder questions in case you need some clarification.
Once you learn about the submission date, plan to send in your proposal on or before the deadline. Determine how the funder will inform you about the acceptance and status of your proposal. Jot this information down into your timeline.
Addressing personnel needs
Address personnel both by name and by function. You can start off by touching base with trainers, project consultants, and other supporting personnel to seek availability, obtain authorization to include them in the project, and discuss personnel compensation (important budget information).
Updating the timeline
Once you have gathered information about submission deadlines and budget requirements, get into your scheduled hours to draft your proposal, collect relevant materials, and prepare an objective critique of your proposal for substance, detail and clarity.
Writing the proposal
The vital elements of the writing stage include detailed specifications, structure, succinctly compelling writing, and a measurable budget.
Proposal components consist of the narrative, budget, supporting materials, authorized signatures, and specifications.
- Narrative. A good narrative details the purpose, goals, objectives and the practical reason why the project should be financially supported. The narrative must: 1) discuss the method of evaluation wherein expectations and results are described; 2) paint a picture regarding the project flow including start and end dates, activity schedules, and projected outcomes; and 3) provide applicant information stating the necessary credentials.
- Budget. Budgets will enable funders to look into how projects will be realized and managed. Well-planned budgets mirror carefully planned projects. Funders often give mandatory budget forms to be submitted along with the proposal.
- Supporting materials. These materials are arranged in an appendix and may provide commendations about the project and certifications, as well as information about project personnel and may present graphs, charts and tables.
- Authorized signatures. Proposals require authorized signatures to avoid the rejection of application.
- Specifications. Edit your proposal tailored to specifications seen in the guidelines. Note the number of pages, format, margins and spaces, and cover pages among others. Just be concise and clear; don’t just add these details as page fillers.
If you haven’t heard from your funding source, you can do a follow up by requesting for the status and outcome of your proposal. It is imperative that you ask for feedback. It may also be useful if you have reference information if you opt to approach the same funder again with your project idea.
Grant writers are able to create funding proposals and requests by working closely with organizations and agencies. It’s important they possess outstanding written communication skills to convey exactly what is needed. Grant writers also do extensive research, look into budget and finance as well as understand rules and regulations surrounding the grant application process.
Grant writing career options
Nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations usually employ the services of grant writers. Most of these organizations are not self-funded and often seek funding to implement and operate their community programs, tech and medical facilities, and environmental projects. Federal agencies and other nonprofit organizations solicit grant applications and this is where grant writers apply for financial philanthropic support or government grants.
Grant writers who produce grant proposals for various types of organizations must understand their group’s social mission and make future plans in order for the group to thrive within the philanthropic sector.
Educational institutions such as colleges and universities also engage grant writers for different projects such as requesting for research grants. Other grant writers work for businesses and corporations, and government agencies.
Grant writing is a lucrative business and employers look for writers whoa re willing to commit their time and energy into the industry in order to succeed. Grant writers can be employed on a full time or part time basis, permanent or temporary, office-based or telecommute.
Full time, permanent grant writing positions include all the factors involved with the grant writing process, while part time, temporary employment requires writers to work only on certain tasks. Grant writers divide their tasks by researching grants to pursue, creating grant proposals, and producing any kind of information needed to be submitted to the grantmakers. Contract-based grant writers, depending on their previous grant writing experience, education and track record, can also work virtually, thus enabling them to have flexible hours and set their own hourly or monthly rates.
Grant writers are sometimes paid by the hour, by project or on a monthly basis. They may also receive commissions based on grants that they have successfully obtained and campaigned for.
Educational requirements for grant writing
In the grant writing industry, it’s crucial to have a strong background in writing. Successfully employed grant writers are also found to possess English or Communications degrees. If you aspire to work in this field, obtaining such degrees can be beneficial in your resume.
Courses in grant and proposal writing, grammar and editing, technical writing, and even research and finance can all be advantageous if you desire to entirely dedicate yourself to grant writing. Plus, additional courses are necessary since writing some grant proposals require some specialization such as medical- or scientific-related grant proposals in order to better understand the projects that need funding.
Aspiring grant writers can also enroll in colleges and universities who offer grant writing certificate programs. These programs can be complete in a year or less and they can help students learn how to write comprehensively, plan budgets, research grant funds, and administer grant solicitations. In some grant programs, students are able to create and submit their own actual grant applications.
Various organizations also offer certification which enable grant writers to boost their qualifications. For instance, the Grant Professional Certification (GPC) is being offered by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI). Furthermore, the Certified Grant Writer (CGW) certification is provided by the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) to those who pass the requisite exam.
Grants are offered each year by agencies and organizations to assist and aid individuals, educational institutions, nonprofits, and corporations in receiving funding and completing their projects to improve the well-being of the general community. Grant applications must be completed in full detail so that an organization needing funds can obtain the necessary grant money.
But who creates and submits these grant applications? It’s the grant writer.
Some say that grant writing is an entirely different genre of writing. It is. To obtain a successful funding campaign, a grant writer must have broad knowledge how the nonprofit/philanthropy sector works. This includes having the knowledge of what a business provides, understanding the grant application process and its financial specifications, and knowing where to search for appropriate funding.
Qualities of a grant writer
Grant writers don’t just submit proposals to acquire charitable funds or government grants. Grant writers are a skilled bunch: they have excellent writing and communication skills, as well as having the ability to work independently and understand budget matters, be attentive to details, and meet tight deadlines. Grant writers are critical thinkers; this trait is important in crafting well-written proposals.
Grant writers often work for an organization or business. Others are professionals who may come from different backgrounds and work as freelance writers. They also spend a great amount of time researching online and participating in email campaigns.
Grant writers usually have degrees in English. Some have taken courses in grant writing or have gotten some grant writing experience. Many organizations do prefer grant writers who have worked with foundations and other charitable institutions; they have been previous publicists or fundraisers.
Grant writing basics
Familiarity with the grant application process is crucial when writing grant proposals. It’s called graftmanship – where grant writers extensively research funders to obtain funding success. The basic parts of the grant proposal creation process include:
- Figuring out the target audience
- Analyzing its purpose
- Researching and collecting information
- Selecting the appropriate type of grant proposal
- Writing and formatting
- Revising, proofreading, and editing
- Submitting the proposal
Grant proposals typically request for funding to support projects and activities that are in-line with an organization’s social mission. Larger corporations offer philanthropic programs that provide grants to assist local educational insitutions, social and human services, and arts organizations. . Grant funders often include the federal government, state and local governments, charitable foundations, businesses, and individuals.
Writing the proposal
In order to acquire successful funding, grant writers know how to create understandable, well-organized, concise and grammatically correct grant proposals.
Being explicit with the proposal narrative is key; it should contain adequate planning and details why the proposed application is better than the other proposals. Furthermore the budget proposal must be reasonable enough for the project. It must also reflect the project’s goals and be consistent with the funding requirements. Good grant proposals seek for resources that are just sufficient to complete the project and they should not be extremely high in amount. Grant writers also make use of charts and graphics with captions to drive a point home.