Do you want to help people and make a difference in your community? Are you looking for a career path that is both challenging and rewarding? If so, understanding how to become a grant writer is the perfect way to start!
Grant writers are responsible for helping organizations secure funding from grants. They play an essential role in the nonprofit sector, and their work can make a real difference in the lives of people who need it.
In this blog post, we will discuss what it takes to become a grant writer and provide some tips on getting started on your grant writing career journey.
What is a grant writer?
A grant writer is someone skilled in writing and assembling grant proposals. Grant writers typically have a background in nonprofits, fundraising, grant writing, or a related field. They use their skills to research, write, and submit proposals that seek funding from foundations, government agencies, corporations, and other sources.
Grants can be a vital source of funding for many organizations and can also be very competitive. As a result, having a skilled grant writer can make all the difference.
How to become a grant writer?
Through grant writing, not only do you get to help organizations secure funding for important projects, but you also get to play a role in making positive changes in the world. If you're interested in learning how to become a grant writer, there are a few things you need to know.
With grant writing, upskilling can give you a significant advantage. Grant writing classes and certifications can help you develop the research, writing, and critical thinking skills essential for success as a grant writer.
Furthermore, getting certified can make you more credible in the eyes of potential employers or clients, as it shows that you are committed to your chosen field and have the dedication and discipline to complete a complex project.
a. Take writing classes
To become a grant writer, you must have strong writing skills and be able to think critically about complex issues. While you may not need a degree in English or Journalism to become a grant writer, taking some writing or grammar classes can help you hone your skills.
You can level up and get some experience writing proposals. There are several ways to do this, but taking some courses is a great way to learn the basics and get some experience in the field. You can find free grant writing classes at many community colleges and online. Some of the best grant writing classes offer self-paced courses, while others are taught live.
b. Get certified in grant writing.
There are ways to increase your chances of success working as a grant writer. One way is to get an online grant writing course from a reputable organization. Grant writing certification will show potential employers that you have obtained the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare winning proposals.
Getting certified in grant writing is a relatively straightforward process. Numerous online courses and certification programs are available so that you can boost your portfolio today.
2. Become familiar with the grant writing process.
The grant writing process can be complex, but it can become more manageable with a bit of research and practice.. Grant writers need to be familiar with the available types of grants and what and who they can and cannot fund. Government, corporate, and private grants may have different eligibility requirements and application processes.
3. Build a portfolio.
Grant writers must have a strong writing portfolio to be noticed in this field. This can be a website or an archive of your previous work, whether in school or a former job.
When compiling your portfolio, showcase your writing style and highlight your top skills. If you have experience with specific types of grants, mention this.
It's also a good idea to have a list of references who can speak to your writing abilities, such as mentors, former professors, or professional grant writers. By taking the time to put together a solid portfolio, you will increase your chances of impressing potential clients and landing new assignments.
4. Decide your preferred type of employment.
Decide if you want to be employed by a company or if you want to freelance. If you choose to be hired by a company, look for an organization that aligns with your interest and passion.
If you choose to freelance, you can work with multiple organizations and help them get funding for their projects. Many freelance grant writers become successful by managing their time.
Another way to become a grant writer is to specialize in a specific grant type. For example, you could specialize in federal or foundation grants and particular industries, such as healthcare or education.
5. Apply for grant writing jobs
Once you understand the basics well, you can start applying for grant writing jobs that suit your qualifications. Many types of grants are available, so finding grant writing jobs matching your skills and interests is essential.
The world of grant writing is constantly changing, so keep up-to-date on the latest news and trends. You can read industry publications, attend conferences, and network with other grant writers.
6. Promote and market your grant writing services
Creating social media profiles while looking for work is a great way to publicize your abilities. You may connect with small business or nonprofit professionals who want grant writers via social media.
One of the things you can also do is promote your services on freelancer platforms like Fiverr and Upwork or at best, in a community of professional grant writers such as Grantable.
Millions of businesses and organizations could benefit from your grant writing talents, but they won't know about you unless you put yourself out there. And what better way to do that than on a freelancer platform where you can reach thousands of potential clients with just a few clicks?
7. Network in the nonprofit community
If you're considering getting into the world of grant writing, one piece of advice you should always keep in mind: don't be afraid to network.
Connections are critical in this field; the more people you know, the better your chances of landing a grant. But where do you start? How do you find the right people to connect with? Here are a few tips:
First, attend grant writing conferences and events. This is a great way to meet other grant writers and learn about new opportunities.
Second, join organizations like the Grant Professionals Association and the National Grants Management Association. These organizations offer members access to grant writing jobs, conferences, and training opportunities.
Finally, don't forget to use social media. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for connecting with other professionals in your field.
"Millions of businesses and organizations could benefit from your grant writing talents, but they won't know about you unless you put yourself out there."
What are the Skills and Training Needed to Become a Good Grant Writer?
Although grant writers do not need to have a specific educational background, they must be able to demonstrate strong writing, research, and analytical skills. In addition, they must be familiar with the grant-making process and understand the funding sources available.
1. Persuasive Writing
Anyone who has ever written a grant knows that it is not an easy task. In addition to being knowledgeable about the subject matter and grant requirements, a grant writer must also be able to persuade the granting agency to fund the project. This is no small feat and requires a high level of writing skill.
Demonstrate this by ensuring your proposal is well-organized and free of errors. A sloppy or confused proposal is unlikely to win favor with the funding agency.
Also, remember that your proposal is not just a dry recitation of facts; it should tell a story that persuades the reader to see the value in your project.
2. Solid Interpersonal Skills
Every grant writer knows that the key to success is strong writing skills. But what many people don't realize is that interpersonal skills are just as necessary. A grant writer can be the face of an organization responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with grantors.
While a well-written proposal can undoubtedly make a good impression, personal interactions build relationships. Successful grant writers are great communicators who clearly explain their organization's goals and objectives. They're also good listeners, taking the time to understand a donor's interests and how they can be aligned with the organization's mission.
3. Great Attention to Detail
Every grant writer must have excellent attention to detail. Writing a grant proposal is highly detail-oriented, and even the slightest mistake can jeopardize your chances of being awarded the grant.
For example, most grant proposals require a specific format and page length, and if you do not adhere to these guidelines, your submission will likely be rejected outright.
In addition, grant proposals are usually reviewed by a panel of experts, and if they spot any errors or omissions, it will reflect poorly on your ability to follow instructions.
4. In-depth Research
Through research, you can identify potential problems with your application. What are the weaknesses of your project? What are the risks?
Once you have identified the potential problems, you can look for solutions. Can you find data or statistics that support your project? Are there ways to mitigate the risks? By taking the time to do this research upfront, you will be in a much better position to write a robust and persuasive proposal as a grant writer.
"While a well-written proposal can undoubtedly make a good impression, personal interactions build relationships."
5. Organization and Efficiency
Being a grant writer is not for the faint of heart. There are always multiple deadlines looming, and each project comes with its own set of unique challenges.
For example, you might be working on a grant proposal that requires extensive research while also trying to finalize the details of another grant due next week.
To succeed in this field, a grant writer needs to stay organized and keep track of large amounts of information. You also need to have a thick skin, as rejection is a standard part of the job.
Even when things are tough, it's essential to maintain a positive attitude and believe in the worthiness of your cause. You'll find grant writing can be a gratifying profession when you can do all that.
6. Proofreading and Editing
As a grant writer, it's crucial to be proficient in proofreading and editing your work. Any errors in the grant proposal can cost the organization money.
The organization may miss out on a deadline because of an error. In some cases, errors can even lead to the rejection of your application. That's why grant writers need to take the time to proofread and edit their work before submitting it.
7. Time Management
As a grant writer, time management is essential. There are deadlines to meet, reports to write, and meetings to attend. To be successful, you must be able to juggle multiple tasks and prioritize your time. It also means being flexible and accommodating when things don't go according to plan.
Good time management skills will help you meet deadlines, avoid burn out and keep your clients happy.
What are the perks of being a grant writer?
1. Competitive Pay
As the demand for grant writers continues to grow, so does the pay. In fact, according to recent data, the average salary for a grant writer is now $50,200 a year.
Additionally, grant writers often work on a contract basis, which means you can be paid for each project you complete. This can lead to a very high income, especially for those who can secure multiple contracts.
2. Flexible work schedule
As a freelance grant writer, you'll enjoy a unique degree of freedom regarding your work schedule.
While some tasks such as attending meetings or writing proposals will need to be completed during business hours, you can do much of the work on your own schedule. That means you can take advantage of times when you're feeling most productive, whether early in the morning or late at night.
3. Remote work setup
Because grant writing can be a freelance profession, many grant writers work remotely. You can set your workspace outside a traditional office from home or another location.
While freelance grant writing can be an excellent arrangement for some, it can also present challenges, such as feeling isolated from colleagues or struggling to stay focused. A well-thought-out remote work setup can help grant writers to overcome these challenges and be more productive.
For example, setting up a dedicated workspace in a quiet room away from distractions can help to boost concentration. And scheduling regular check-ins with clients or other grant writers can provide much-needed social interaction.
4. Advocate for a cause
A grant writer is tasked with writing grant proposals to secure funding for organizations or causes. But the role of a grant writer goes much deeper than that.
A good grant writer can tell a compelling story that speaks to the heart of an organization's work. They can paint a picture of need and show how the funds will be used to make a difference.
In many ways, a grant writer is like an advocate for their cause. They convince others of the importance of their work and inspire them to take action.
Some helpful tips before you begin your career as a nonprofit grant writer.
1. Volunteer and Immersion
Volunteering for a nonprofit is a great way to learn more about the community you care about and make a difference at the same time. This will allow you to learn about the day-to-day operations of nonprofit organizations and to see first-hand the difference that grant funding can make.
In addition, you'll likely have the opportunity to meet other grant writers and learn about the grant writing process. Plus, you'll gain some valuable experience that will come in handy once you pursue a career in grant writing.
2. Connect with organizations in the nonprofit industry
Grant writers need to connect with other organizations in the nonprofit sector, as well as funders. Attend industry events, networking receptions, and informational interviews to get your foot in the door.
You'll not only learn about the community, but you'll also start to build relationships with potential clients or employers and funders.
3. Keep upskilling
By staying up to date on the latest grant tools and programs, grant writers can identify new opportunities and write more robust proposals.
In addition, keeping up with the latest trends in grant applications will allow you to better understand the needs of funders and craft proposals that are more likely to be successful.
Where to get courses/programs and resources on grant writing?
There are several places to find courses and programs on grant writing. Many colleges and universities offer grant writing courses as part of their continuing education offerings.
In addition, many online classes and professional organizations offer grant writing resources and training opportunities. You can also talk to colleagues with grant writing experience and look for reviews of different programs online for grant writers.
Want to work with elite grant professionals? Join Grantable!
Luckily, there are ways to ease into the grant process and learn from the best in the industry. One great way to do this is to work with a community of grant writing professionals at Grantable.
Our team of experts has years of experience in the field and can help you develop a plan to write compelling narratives. We'll also help you find the grants best suited for your nonprofit. And because we believe in a strategic and efficient grant writing process, we offer specialized tools to fast-track your success!
So if you're looking for a way to get started in grant writing, check out Grantable today. Book a free virtual consultation in our Office Hours session to know more about what you need to succeed in this exciting field!