The role of a grant writer is an important one for both nonprofit and for-profit companies. These talented writers use their skills to raise funding for various projects or activities that align with the company’s mission.
But what is a grant writer? And how does someone start a career as one?
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This article explores everything you need to know about grant writing. If you enjoy research and writing, it could be the perfect career for you.
What Does a Grant Writer Do?
There’s more to this role than just writing and asking for money. In fact, it’s a lot more than a fundraising job.
If you search “grant writer definition,” you will discover that these writers also do a ton of research, writing, and filling out grant applications.
When you apply for a grant, you factor in the project’s requirements, research possible benefactors, and submit an application with data, analytics, and in-depth resources.
Everything in the grant application should explain why the company is asking for a grant, plans for using the collected funds, and the expected impact or outcomes of the project or activity.
Depending on the grant you are applying for, the submission process can be simple or complex, requiring many details.
What Is a Grant?
Whether you are planning on levelling up as a writer by moving into the grant writing niche, or thinking of a complete career change with this job as a strong contender – then you likely know what grant is.
For those at the start of their research – let’s break down what a grant really is. After all, if a grant writer’s job entails researching and applying for grants, it’s best to have a fundamental knowledge of grants.
Essentially, a grant is a fund (or money) given by one group or organization to another group or organization. Government grants, private and public trusts, and foundations are the groups that typically supply a grant.
Anyone who receives a grant is known as a beneficiary. A college student who receives a scholarship from a school or trust is an excellent example of a grant transaction.
Most grants are for nonprofit organizations as they raise money for education or community development. It’s more challenging to get for-profit grants, but it is possible.
Typical Grant Writer Job Description
Companies looking for a grant writer want someone who has excellent writing, research, and organizational skills. Other grant writer qualifications include the ability to:
- Identify the needs of a project
- Strategize the best course to project completion
- Clarify project outcomes and accomplishments
Hiring managers will also look for candidates with education and experience writing grants, although it’s not required.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, marketing, communications, or English, this is a good start. You can also earn grant certification from places such as The Grant Training Center.
After you apply for a grant writing job, be sure to know how to prepare for your interview.
A Grant Writer’s Average Day
A grant writer spends their day reading and writing. It’s a fantastic job if you enjoy “being in the weeds,” as they say.
Basically, you have to know the ins and outs of the grant application process for each organization, foundation, and trust that offers grants. And each one of them is different.
Some benefactors ask that you supply budget reports and analyses. Others require specific formatting and fonts in the application. As a grant writer, you must know each grant’s requirements and dutifully submit the necessary terms to apply.
A company’s eligibility to win the grant depends on its grant writers.
Is Grant Writing a Good Career?
Whether you want to become a nonprofit or federal grant writer, it’s a rewarding and lucrative career.
As long as you have the required skills and a clear understanding of the job, companies will hire you as a grant writer.
In fact, you could work for many years as a grant writer because it’s a job that is still very much in demand. And as long as there are foundations and organizations offering grants, there is a need for grant writers.
If you are looking to change careers, you can become a grant writer in the same or similar industry and utilize your experience and expertise for good. Industries that require grant writers are education, environment, healthcare, arts and culture, community development, and more.
How Much Do Grant Writers Get Paid?
Grant writers can either work as freelance agents or part- or full-time with a company.
If you work as a freelance grant writer, you may work with several clients on various grants throughout your career. Most freelance grant writers start making about $25/hour as they build their clientele and experience. An experienced grant writer may earn $100/hour.
According to Glassdoor, a grant writer’s salary at a company averages $52,000/year.
How to Move Into Grant Writing
If you want to become a grant writer, there are some great options to start your career.
If you are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree, you can take writing courses to develop your grant writing skills. There are also classes specifically for grant writers at some colleges and universities where you can receive a grant writing certificate upon completion.
Or join the Grant Writers Association and get experience as a freelance grant writer in your current industry.
Gaining experience is the best way to solidify your grant writing career. The more you research, write, and earn grants for your clients, the more jobs you will get as a grant writer. It truly is a satisfying and rewarding career for those who decide to pursue it.
How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer
Freelance grant writers choose which clients to work with and set their own schedules. As you gain experience, you can update your resume, network with potential clients, and continue to grow your reputation as a successful grant writer.
If you are considering becoming a freelance grant writer, start your journey either on Upwork or Indeed, two job platforms that connect contract workers with companies.
For those who really enjoy writing, there are also creative writing jobs that you may enjoy.