How to Find the Best Grant Writer
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A grant writer is a professional who is an expert at putting together grant proposals for small businesses. There are many nuances to applying for a grant, and they know how to put the application together in a way that makes you stand out. While you can apply for a grant yourself, they can take weeks to put together, and during that time, you will not be able to give your business your full attention. Hiring a professional grant writer allows you to focus on your business and know that you have an expert working on your grant who will have it done on time.
Read our complete guide to business grants
How to Find a Good Grant Writer
Writing a grant proposal is more than just putting a convincing application together. Grant writing is not like other forms of writing, and it requires a combination of skills that allows them to write in an analytical yet personable way, as well as some skills that are not related directly to writing.
When looking for a professional grant writer to hire, you want to find someone who comes with references and experience and someone who you can ensure is properly vetted. Ask if they have any experience in your industry, this can reduce the amount of time you have to spend teaching them about your business. Ask about their process, their success rate, and how often you can expect updates during the process. Do not be afraid to ask questions; you need to find the perfect grant writer for your business, and the only way you can ensure someone is a good match is by asking questions and checking their references.
Now let’s take a look at some of the traits to look for when hiring a grant writer.
5 Things to Look for in a Professional Grant Writer
If you are looking for a good grant writer, these are some of the characteristics to look for in your search.
1. Writing Skills
An effective grant writer knows when to use emotion to help make the point as to why the grant is needed, and they know when to use business lingo to punctuate a point. You need someone who can write persuasively and creatively, with perfect grammar, to help make your grant proposal stand out. While a writer can include all of the necessary information in a grant proposal, a professional grant writer can use all of that to help make your application outstanding. They know how to use evocative language to show the donor the importance of giving you the grant, which is what helps your grant application stand out.
Attention to detail is crucial for a grant proposal. If a writer overlooks a small minute detail, that can cost you the grant. Look for someone who pays attention to details to ensure nothing in your grant proposals gets overlooked.
You need a writer who understands how to properly use data to highlight what is known or why something is needed. Anyone can find statistics on Google, but a professional grant writer can dig deeper than that and use data to support the point they are making in your grant proposal.
4. Research Skills
Grant writers need to have good research skills so that they can find the information they need to write an effective proposal from the documents you provide them with. Many professional grant writers will also research various grants for you to find the best ones for your business that you are most likely to receive. Having good research skills is also crucial for this.
5. People Skills
Professional grant writers also need to be able to work with people in your business to gather the information they need for your grant applications. If they do not have good people skills and cannot communicate clearly and effectively, this can become an arduous task. Grant writers need to be able to build a relationship with you and others in your business and establish a rapport. Time can end up getting wasted if the writer does not communicate clearly, and you could lose out on a grant because of this.
Where Can I Find a Grant Writer for Hire?
There are a few ways you can find a professional grant writer for your business. If there are any local organizations that you have a relationship with that you know have received grants, you can ask them for a recommendation. This is a good opportunity to reach out to other organizations that have similar goals to your small business. You can also put an ad in a local newspaper or publication seeking a grant writer.
You can visit a large fundraising group like the American Grant Writers Association or the Association of Fundraising Professionals, both of which have job boards for certified grant writers who have been vetted.
Hiring a freelance grant writer is an option, but keep in mind when doing so that you will need to spend some time vetting them and confirming their credentials. Online professional freelancing websites are a great way of finding someone who will work with you and who fits into your budget. Some websites where you can hire a freelance grant writer are:
What Does it Cost to Hire a Grant Writer?
Grant writers are usually paid hourly, in a flat rate per grant, or by retainer. The exact amount you pay a grant writer depends on their experience.
Hourly rates for grant writers typically range from $20 per hour and $150 per hour. A retainer for a grant writer is usually between $2,500 per month and $10,000 per month. Flat rates can go as high as $10,000, depending on the scope of the grant itself.
When hiring a grant writer, you get what you pay for. Do not choose someone just because they are offering the cheapest rates. Select the grant writer who you think will be the best fit for your business that is within your budget. Yes, it is possible for the best fitting person to be the one with the lowest rates, but do not pick them only for that reason.
If you find someone who feels perfect for your business, but they are asking for more than you can afford, you can ask them if they might be willing to negotiate a lower rate; do not overextend your business to hire a grant writer. There is not a 100 percent guarantee that you will win the grant, and it is not worth it to overextend your budget for something that is not guaranteed.
If a grant writer offers to work on commission and will be paid a percentage of the grant money, do not hire them. This is unethical, and it might lead to legal repercussions. Plus, any grant writer who is part of the American Grant Writers' Association is prohibited from accepting a percentage of the grant as payment. There is no guarantee that you will get the grant, no matter how good of a job the writer does, so only paying them based on that means they may not always get paid, which is unfair to them.
Grants can give your small business a financial boost to help it grow, and it helps you gain credibility. Once you are awarded one grant, it becomes easier to get more grants. However, grant writing is a highly specialized niche, so hiring a grant writer helps increase your chance of success. If you need help finding grants to pursue, you can search for grants in our Grant Marketplace.
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