Will a grant writer really help and should I hire one? This is one of the most common questions asked by grant seekers. Grant writers can undertake a number of tasks, from locating grants you are eligible for to preparing and submitting grant applications. Each grant has a different application process, regardless of the grant funder. Some applications may be simple and are designed to be completed without the need for a grant writer. However, most larger sums grants typically require a more extensive application process.
Here are 5 key points to help you decide whether or not to hire a grant writer:
1. Finding Grants
If you don’t have the staff, time, or patience to locate new and existing grant opportunities, hiring a grant writer can definitely resolve this tedious task. Professional grant writers usually have memberships to multiple grant database programs, so you don’t necessarily have to pay for these services yourself, which can save you hundreds of dollars.
2. Compiling Documents
A grant writer can help with all aspects and requirements of the grant application, including:
- Completing a needs assessment.
- Writing proposals – both RFPs and LOIs.
- Developing budgets.
- Preparing evaluation reports.
Compiling a grant application takes time and patience. For 2019, professional grants organizations reported that grant research, submission, and reporting took more than three days per grant for 40% of grant seekers. Making a plan for the grant application and writing the grant took more than five days for 40% of grant seekers. The planning process is an extremely important process that should not be rushed. After all, if a foundation is willing to fund your project, you can’t expect them to blindly award funds. You must always show facts in the exact manner requested.
3. Professional Polishing
Professional grant writers are experienced in writing winning grant applications for every federal grant-making agency. If you submit a poorly written proposal, your application will be unlikely to be funded for two reasons. First, the funder may not understand exactly what you are proposing to do or how you intend to do it. And second, a poorly written proposal can suggest that the intentions behind the proposal may not be clear to the grant seeker, leading the funder to question whether your proposal would be a good investment.
Even if you have met all of the application guidelines and prepared a compliant proposal, your application may not be shortlisted for further review. If you do not have strong writing skills, it is essential to find an editor who can work with you to polish the text. You should consider hiring a professional grant writer for help with the research, development, and overall polishing of your grant application.
4. Targeted to the Funder
Submitting a proposal made up of text copied and pasted from other proposals is unlikely to be successful. While some text can be reused from one proposal to the next, proposals have different requirements and funders have different interests. If you do not tailor each proposal, your proposals can sound generic and flat.
A grant application has two parts, the substantive content and the packaging of the application (which includes formatting). Both parts must adhere to the funder’s guidelines to be compliant.
5. Costs & Pricing
The typical price of hiring a grant writer can range from $40 per hour to $150 per hour. This can vary depending on the writer’s experience and the local economy where a grant writer resides. Since each grant application varies in criteria, there isn’t an average amount of hours we can state. The overall average cost can vary between $500 to $2,500.
Grant writers never work on a contingency basis or “success fee.” If a grant writer offers to write the grant and be paid a percentage of the grant, then you should absolutely flee. This is not only unethical but goes against state, federal, and foundation funding guidelines. If a funder were to ever find out that the grant writer was paid a percentage of the grant award, at the very least the grant would be rescinded and, at worst, there could be legal consequences.
Where to Find Grant Writers
You can find grant writers through various grant writer agencies online. There are three things you should always look for and consider when it comes to selecting the best grant writer for your needs:
1. View the grant award success history of the writer.
2. Review their writing styles and sample documents.
3. Make sure their expertise matches your needs.
At the end of the day, if you have submitted three to five grant applications and have been unsuccessful in being awarded at least one, it may be time to consider hiring a professional grant writer. If you are a newly formed nonprofit organization and are new to grant funding, hiring a grant writer may be essential. If you are an established organization, you may have the budget to take on an in-house professional grant writer.
Read more: How to increase your chances of being awarded a grant.