How Much Should You Spend on Hiring a Grant Writer?

When hiring a grant writer, who you hire and how much you can spend are key to how you approach the prospects of winning the grants you seek. Just remember that you cannot spend any grant money you earn on to pay the grant writer. You must pay for a writer in advance before you turn in the proposal.

The cost of hiring a grant writer depends upon several factors. First, you have to decide what type of grant to apply for. The grant writer’s knowledge and experience play a huge role in helping you accomplish your goal. Veteran grant writers know what additional documentation is needed. This will help assure proper consideration when you submit your grant for funding.

Grant writers set their own fees and start at $40 an hour. The minimum cost comes out to around $500 in total. However, the total overall average cost for a grant proposal of 5 to 8 pages of narrative text is about $1,500. Of course, this can be higher or lower depending on the work needed.

The Average Rates for a Grant Writer
Beginner Grant Writers:
  • 1. Grant writers who have won fewer than 3 grants: roughly $20 – $35 per hour*.
Intermediate Grant Writers:
  • 2. Grant writers who have recently won 4 – 5 grants: roughly $40 – $50 per hour*.
  • 3. Grant writers who have recently won 6 – 8 grants: roughly $60 per hour*.
  • 4. Grant writers who have recently won 8 – 10 grants: roughly $75 per hour*.
Advanced Grant Writers:
  • 5. Grant writers who have won 10+ grants: from $75 up to $125 per hour*.
  • 6. Expert grant writers with 10+ years experience of winning a substantial number of grants: up to $200 per hour*.

*these prices are guidelines only

So, if a grant writer charges $50 per hour and approximately 10 hours are needed to write the grant, their bid estimate would be $500.

Remember, there is no guarantee that you’ll win a grant, regardless of the amount of experience a grant writer has and no matter how well the proposal may be written. Furthermore, it is important to note that these prices are guidelines only.

Each grant writer sets their own rates. Rates can vary depending on a variety of factors, especially with regard to the type of work required. Whenever you hire a grant writer, it’s important to have the overall cost quoted upfront – in writing – to avoid surprises later.

How Many Hours Are Required?

In addition to writing grants, grant writers can be hired for a wide range of other services including, but not limited to::

  • Consulting for businesses, foundations, corporations and government agencies.
  • Locating contract and funding opportunities.
  • Securing funds for projects, programs or services.
  • Developing curricula, mission statements and needs statements.
  • Writing LOIs and budget proposals.

Since grant writers work at an hourly rate, you will probably want to know in advance how many hours will be needed. Unfortunately, the cost of writing a grant can vary drastically and so can the required amount of writing. You need to contact a grant writer directly to obtain an accurate quote.

Often, estimates of the time it takes to prepare a federal government grant proposal will be included as part of the request for proposal (RFP). A reasonable amount of time to write these government grants is 60 hours. Subsequently, this does not include the planning and additional documentation needed. It is best to start early when submitting this kind of grant proposal.

Foundation grants are generally simpler and smaller. Often they can be submitted directly online. The grant proposal may be as short as five pages. You should budget 20-40 hours for most grants, but the needs and requirements are different for every grant.

How Much is Too Much?

When grant writers set their flat rate, the budgeted amount of that fee should not be more than 5% of the grant award. Fees are not commission-based; it’s just good business sense, for both the organization and the grant writer. For example, if a client is looking to apply for a grant of $100,000, an experienced grant writer’s fee should not exceed $5,000. Typically, as a rule of thumb, grant writer fees are usually 2-3% of the total grant award.

If you win the grant, you can not use the money to pay the grant writer. Grant writers should not work on a contingency basis or a ‘success fee.’ Not only is this unethical, but it also violates state, federal and foundation funding guidelines. If a funder discovers the grant writer was paid a percentage of the grant award, at the very least you’ll likely lose the grant. At worst, there could be legal consequences as well.

Finding a Grant Writer

Interested in hiring a grant writer? One of the key benefits of using a grant writing agency is the security of a payment portal system in place. Look for agencies with online payment portals, instead of making all payments directly to the grant writer. A payment portal can give the grant seeker valuable peace of mind.

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