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Old 07-06-2011, 07:34 PM
MissyMiss's Avatar
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Default Any Grant Writers Here?

I've recently become fond of bidding sites, and I've noticed grant writing gigs for as high as $25,000.

How do you even become a grant writer? Why does it pay so much? Is drafting a grant the equivalent of composing a massive novel?
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:23 PM
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I can't answer this from a freelance writer position but I do have knowledge from a university standpoint. My minor is in non-profit managment and we had a course in grant writing (Wayne State University - Detroit)

Also, my sis has spent the last 20 years working for NGO's (non-governmental agencies - which, if you work in "that" world, is the proper term - they don't use "non-profit"). She has worked for several very large, well-known organizations over the years and has had positions where her entire job was ensuring that her NGO got the grants they needed. When she returns from Haiti, she will be getting her Master's at Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is down the street from me and a top notch choice in her field.

I would google reputable schools where you can take a class online. I know when I went to Wayne State my program was a minor for undergrads but a certificate program (4 classes total) for those that weren't enrolled. There is also a school in southern Illinois (Collingville?) that is great but really rural location so my sister never looked into.

Good luck! Hope that helped! If you are serious and want to pursue it further, PM me and I'll give you her email : )
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:29 AM
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I donít do grant writing yet, but I am planning to. Before I wrote and did medical work, I worked as a caseworker at non-profits. I did that about 5 years before switching careers. It paid terrible. Anyway, I got a little interested in the grant writing process, but wasnít doing any type of writing back than.

I have become very interested in at again. It is a nice alternative to online and print stuff. I have been researching it a lot and talking with people who do it. It can pay a lot. Sometimes pay is hourly or a percentage of the grant.

Every grant writer I spoke to has said the best way to break in is take a few grant writing classes and try to volunteer at a local agency working with the grant writer to learn the ropes. After you successfully work on a few grants, it is easier to find work.

I contacted a local organization, which helps the homeless in my area. They were happy to accept a volunteer to help. I wonít start until the fall; I said summer was too busy. I pretty much will be researching places for funding, and helping write grants. There is a paid part-time grant writer on staff that I will be helping.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:06 AM
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Here is a good book you can find on Amazon: The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:35 AM
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I have been interested in grant writing too.. and wondering how easy it is to break into this specialty. Thanks for these tips, Ladies!
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MissyMiss View Post
I've recently become fond of bidding sites, and I've noticed grant writing gigs for as high as $25,000.

How do you even become a grant writer? Why does it pay so much? Is drafting a grant the equivalent of composing a massive novel?
When I worked for a non-profit I authored and co-authored several grants. Each scenario may be different, but most pay a lot because the writing needs to be top-notch and most prefer an experienced grant writer with proven results. In addition to writing, there is also a fair amount of research to be done as well as regularly meeting with key staff members for information and polishing. On top of this, there's a lot of money to be gained and some organizations offer grant writer's a percentage of the grant's total.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that writing one is equivalent to novel writing, but they are extremely detailed and some can be quite long. Normally, you're given exact instructions on how to write each one individually and specific questions or issues to address.

If you're interested in becoming a grant writer, check a few books out of the library on the subject and volunteer to help co-write a couple for a non-profit in your area. It's best to stick with grant requests for projects that you have a passion for, as "readers" can tell pretty quickly if a grant writer was hired or not and a lot of them frown on that sort of thing (though they won't always admit that out loud). One of my dear girlfriends used to be a reader and I encountered several others in my non-profit days. Most prefer that the author be someone directly involved with the project, as they are looking for a certain level of passion, and some feel that hiring a professional writer is cheating...although it isn't and there usually aren't any rules against it (besides some stipulating that a writer is not to be compensated directly from grant funds, if received).

I don't write grants for a number of reasons today, but a primary one is that a lot of non-profits (or NGOs as they're called in other countries) only want to pay for the service if the grant is funded. Makes sense from the pov of the non-profit, but not so much for a writer who spends days or even weeks drafting a grant.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:34 PM
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My daytime job is Executive Director for a small nonprofit boychoir organization and a large part of my job is writing (media releases, grants, brochures, newsletters, etc.) ... grant writing is hard work with all the research, interpreting financial reports and such. And because my organization is so specialized, I am extra-handicapped in getting grants funded.

After taking a few workshops and classes, I did feel better equipped in finding the right "spin" to get noticed. Look into your local community colleges. Many offer continuing education classes online and on-site. Also look into your nearest United Way agency. They often offer workshops on grant writing and research. Make it a habit of visiting the website of your nearest university and chamber of commerce. In my area, I will often see workshops and conferences for grant writing sponsored by these entities.

Another note - I often study certain foundations very carefully, researching who they have given money to in the last 5 years. You can look up their IRS form 990's for the information (visit guidestar.org for leads) ... an organization can say that they give to arts and culture but their giving habits may not reflect this. That is not to say don't try to send them a grant, but rather it is likely a long shot.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:00 AM
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Great information everyone! I too became interested in grant writing. I have checked out a few books at my local public library and I am also speaking with my future in-law as well. She is a grant writer from Arizona. I also found a few organizations on volunteermatch.org that are looking for volunteer grant writers. I think that will be a great start!
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