Would you like a career that lets you help a charitable organization, enjoy the thrill of the chase, and take in a healthy salary of around $60,000 per year? If so then congratulations, you’d love a career as a grant writer.
You’ve probably heard the terms “grant writer” or “grant professional” flying around. What do these professionals actually do, though, and how do you know if you’re a good fit? Here’s what you need to know.
What Does a Grant Writer Do?
The term “grant writer” doesn’t do justice to the job. In reality, the job is all about securing grants to fund the non-profit organization that employs you. You won’t spend all day in a writing bubble as the name implies.
Here’s a look at what your duties will be in your job as a grant writer.
Find Applicable Grants for Your Organization
The first step to funding your organization is finding grants in the first place. This is a key part of a grant writer’s job.
Using your research skills, you’ll be always on the hunt for grants that could apply to your organization. Whether they’re local, nationwide, or on a global level, there are plenty of foundations out there looking for the right organizations to help with their money.
Grants are the most consistent and important part of the funding for most non-profit organizations, so your job will be vital. You’ll look for grants that could apply to your cause.
Of course, it’s not about finding every grant that exists. You need to evaluate each one as well to make sure your organization meets the eligibility requirements. Your time will limit the number you will apply for, so it’s important to prioritize the right ones.
When possible, you’ll look for annual grants as well. This provides a more predictable flow of money for your organization rather than relying on bits and pieces here and there.
Apply for Grants
As you identify the best grants for your organization, it’s also your job to complete the entire application process. When someone talks about “writing a grant proposal” or “writing a grant submission,” this is what they mean.
These grant proposals tend to be very writing-heavy. It’s your job to write a compelling letter that tells the story of your organization. You need to inspire a passion for your cause in the foundation board.
You also need to be able to illustrate to them how you’ll use their funds. Every foundation board’s goal is to do as much good as they can with the money they have, and it’s your job to show them that you can make their funds go far.
As we mentioned, some of the grants you find may be annual grants. In most of these cases, you’ll need to file some paperwork every year or at other intervals to renew the grant.
As the grant writer or grant professional, it’s your job to stay on top of this paperwork. You might also need to follow up with certain grant proposals or with other departments in your organization. Staying organized is crucial to keep the funding flowing in.
What Skills Do I Need to Become a Grant Writer?
If the job description above sounds like a fulfilling career that you’d enjoy, how do you know if you have what it takes?
One of the most important skills you’ll need for grant writing is, of course, writing skills. You need to be able to paint a compelling picture of your cause and why a foundation should award funding to you.
Research skills are an underappreciated part of a grant writer’s qualifications as well. It takes some digging to find the right grants for your organization. Knowing how to research and uncover the information you need will be a vital part of your success.
Considering that you’ll spend most of your time working on a computer, computer literacy skills are important for a grant writer as well. You need to be able to navigate the software your company uses and know how to find the information you need.
Finally, one of the most important skills you need is a passion for the cause you’re fighting for. It’s hard to write a compelling grant proposal for a cause you don’t believe in. As you’re writing, your own inspiration and drive to help will be your best tool.
How Do I Become a Grant Writer?
You know you’d enjoy grant writing and you have the skills it requires. Now how do you get started?
With grant writing, there are no 100% necessary degrees or certifications you need. Technically speaking, anyone with the right skills can get a job as a grant writer.
With that in mind, though, there are ways to boost your chances in the job market. Most candidates have a Bachelor of Arts degree in a writing-related area of study. This could be English, journalism, communications, or something similar.
As with an undergraduate degree, an advanced degree isn’t a necessity for a grant writer but it could help you get a job. Within the same fields of study, a Master’s degree will give you a leg up on the competition.
The most important part of applying for a job as a grant writer is to show your writing skills. Most employers will ask you to submit writing samples or a portfolio. Make sure you have the legal right to include your past writing in your portfolio, though.
The best way to help your chances of getting a grant writing job is to get experience. Fortunately, this is a job you can do on a part-time volunteer basis for many organizations.
If you want to go the extra mile, you could also get certified by the Grant Professionals’ Certification Institute. This involves a certification exam that determines whether you have the knowledge and skills you need.
Starting Your Career as a Grant Writer
Without a doubt, grant writing has the potential to be a fulfilling career where you can feel great about the work you do.
To learn more about getting a job as a grant writer or to pursue an education that will help, check out our online resources.