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How to Become a Grant Writer: Expert Tips & Advice

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Do you enjoy working toward a worthy cause? Do you have good writing and communication skills?

Then, why not pursue a career in a unique style of writing that lets you benefit from your skills and make good money in the process?

Researching this noteworthy job opportunity can help you decide whether this career path is right for you.

Based on our experience in the field, we compiled the most relevant factors to consider before deciding whether or not you should be a grant writer.

Keep reading to learn how to become a grant writer, what you need to get started, and how to find jobs.

An Overview of Grant Writer: A Primer

The biggest responsibility of a grant writer is to assist businesses and nonprofit organizations obtain funds. This funding source can be big corporations, private foundations, and government entities.

These funds are collected and used to support different projects and programs in the local community. They range from homeless shelters, low-income housing, assistance to single mothers, free medical care, environmental education, and more.

As a grant writer, you can work full-time for a certain organization. In situations like this, you’ll need to become familiar with the funding opportunities for specific projects, services, and programs.

You also need to familiarize yourself with opportunities specific to your location.

Another job prospect is to look for freelance grant writing jobs as a unique side hustle. This way, you can work with multiple organizations at once and serve a wide variety of groups and services.

Depending on the needs of the organization and entities you’re working with, your job description will include a variety of responsibilities. The biggest task includes researching potential funders who support particular services, programs, or small business grants.

At the same time, you have to keep in mind that funders often change their priorities depending on their business model. Their priorities also shift based on what they regard as critical at a certain point and time.

So, you’ll also need to stay current on these types of changes

How Much Do Grant Writers Make?

According to a recent PayScale survey, a grant writer’s salary is between $37 and $69k annually with an average salary of $50,526. There are also around $11k in commissions each year as well as about $22k in annual bonuses.

In addition, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 4% job growth between 2021 and 2031. This indicates that there’s room for advancement in this niche.

The total sum of your salary depends on a few factors, including:

  • Education
  • Type of training
  • Years of grant writing experience
  • Certifications

What You’ll Need to Become a Grant Writer [& Associated Costs]

This is what you need to get started:

  • A bachelor’s degree: The average cost of a bachelor’s degree program is between $15,000 and $45,000. However, there are some top universities where tuition fees range from $57,000 to around $85,000.
  • Grant writing certification: Lasting about 30 weeks, the typical cost of this certificate is between $900 and $2,000.
  • Additional courses like marketing and data analysis: The cost of most courses and classes runs in the range of about $2,000–$6,000 based on your location and the type of class you’re taking.
  • Membership with the American Grant Writers’ Association: The rate of a one-year individual membership is $119, whereas a two-year individual membership is $200. A one-year business membership costs about $179.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Grant Writer?

So, are you thinking about launching a career as a grant writer? Then, it’s helpful to have a general sense of what it’ll cost you so you can manage your budget.

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $19,000 and $54,000.

Bear in mind that this can be higher if you enroll at a top university. It can also increase if you decide to pursue a master’s program and other additional education degrees.

A female young grant writer checking her work at home

Is it Hard to Become a Grant Writer?

The job of grant writing is basically getting paid to write. Even though it sounds simple enough, it does require a lot of moving pieces to come together at exactly the right time for the grant proposal to be effective.

For example, a successful grant writer needs to work with the team responsible for the funding who can provide the necessary information about what should be included in the grant application.

They must also create a compelling storyline that engages funders and convinces them why this organization deserves money.

In addition, grant writers have to create a full portfolio for each grant, including details about the organization you’re seeking funding for, budget documents, and any other required attachments.

Then, they need to assist with data management and follow-up reports associated with the grant proposal.

Finally, they should communicate the expectations and requirements of the funder to the designated team at the organization. This way, they don’t miss reporting on vital requirements or follow-up steps.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Grant Writer

If you have your bachelor’s degree and your grant-writing certification, you can start immediately.

However, if you still need to complete certain degrees or certifications, that means you’re likely to wait a couple of years before you can become a professional grant writer.

How to Become a Grant Writer in 6 Simple Steps

Grant writing is a great opportunity to make a difference in your community or on a wider scale.

A close-up of a Grant Writer typing on a laptop

Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree

The minimum requirement for a grant writing job is an undergraduate bachelor’s degree program. While almost any field will be applicable, the most helpful are those in English, journalism, creative writing, or communications.

You should also consider a degree in nonprofit management. It can come in handy and open up doors to new job prospects.

Step 2: Gain Hands-On Experience

Even with only a bachelor’s degree, you can start looking for jobs to build up your resume and, ultimately, increase your salary.

You can start by looking for internship programs in grant writing or offering pro bono services to nonprofits. The goal is to gain experience and become more marketable.

Step 3: Complete a Grant-Writing Certification Program

Unlike having an undergraduate degree, this certificate isn’t a requirement. Yet, it can be a great resume booster if you’re still lacking in experience.

The American Association of Grant Writers offers a list of reputable programs across the country.

Other groups like Instrumentl, GrantsMagicU, and NonprofitReady provide low-cost training as well as free resources that can help you get in contact with potential employers.

Step 4: Build Your Professional Network

Expanding your network ensures that your name gets to the right people, thus opening doors to potential employment prospects. You can connect with funders and build your network through conferences, workshops, and various fundraising events.

Professional associations are another effective way to network and connect with other writers and funders. They also provide training opportunities and can even help you land your first job.

Step 5: Look for a Full-Time Job

Nothing beats real-life experience. Even if it’s pro-bono or starting as an intern, each job will help you gain the experience you need for the next one, and so on.

Starting out, you may find that working with only one organization is a good launching point. Then, as you gain more experience, you may want to seek out several nonprofits and organizations.

Step 6: Hone Your Skills

Everything about grant writing is constantly evolving, from databases and opportunities to requirements and skillsets. So, you need to always stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

For example, attending educational webinars can provide the perfect chance to hone your skills and rub elbows with funders, consultants, and members of different fund-seeking organizations.

You can also seek out training courses that keep you abreast of current trends and help you stay at the top of your game.

Some grant writing skills include:

  • Exceptional research skills
  • Manage and analyze data
  • Multitasking
  • Detail-oriented
  • Effective communicator

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Grant Writer

In recent years, freelance job opportunities have risen, including a wide range of writers covering all types of content.

A female grant writer working on a laptop and holding a cup of coffee

Luckily, a grant writer’s job description falls right into this category. Plus, they tend to be highly sought-after either in the nonprofit sector or in civil service or government entities.

Check out a few other reasons why grant writing can be a good fit for you:

  • Help nonprofit organizations make a real impact with proper funding
  • Knowing your efforts are helping make positive changes is a rewarding experience
  • Grant writers are generally paid more than other types of writers
  • Flexible work hours
  • Non-permanent work setting

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Hard to Be a Grant Writer?

Grant writing can be a difficult job because there are several intricate components you need to learn.

This includes understanding the inner workings of grant funding in general and the grant writing process specifically. You also need strong writing and communication skills.

How Do I Learn How to Write Grants?

Start by searching for training programs in your location and related to your specific field. These programs can include everything from workshops, online classes, seminars, and coursework.

You can also gain valuable information from books, online databases, and colleagues with experience in this field.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

We’re currently living at a time where there’s a bounty of a wide variety of job opportunities.

So, if you have experience in the field of writing, communications, or media, here are a few more jobs that may interest you.

  • How to Become a Freelance Writer: Working as a freelance writer gives you the freedom to work wherever and with whomever you want. It also gives you flexible work hours so you can maximize as much of your time and salary as possible.
  • How to Become a Copywriter: If you have good research skills and an eye for detail, then, copywriting is for you. It’s highly sought-out because you can easily apply it to a wide range of professions.
  • How to Become a Consultant: Consultancy provides a variety of work in a range of fields. You get to channel your creativity and brainstorming abilities to find solutions to challenging business dilemmas.

Wrapping Up

If you’re considering making a career out of grant writing, you’ll find many resources available that can help you learn how to become a grant writer.

Start by getting a bachelor’s degree in a field related to writing, media, or communication. Obtaining a grant writing certificate can also boost your odds of success.

The next step is to gain experience in the work field either by volunteering or interning. Then, you’ll soon be able to find employment with nonprofits or other organizations

We hope you enjoyed reading the tips and tricks in this article. Let us know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to share.

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