Grant Application Writer: Career and Salary Facts
As a grant writer, you'll research and write formal proposals requesting funding to cover expenses and provide charitable programs. Read on to learn about the grant writing process and related job duties, and find out more about training and salary. Schools offering Professional Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Does Grant Application Writing Entail?
Grant application writers are responsible for researching and composing requests for financial contributions intended to help their company achieve its missions. According to career information published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), grant writers generally work for nonprofit organizations, most of which support charitable causes or foundations (www.bls.gov).
The financial grants you'll solicit will typically be used to cover expenses and organizational costs, or to provide charitable services in line with your company's background. For example, a nonprofit organization supporting child literacy may seek funding to send reading tutors to child care centers.
What Will I Do On The Job?
Your work as a grant writer will involve research, writing and verbal communication. Prior to writing an actual grant application, you'll need to research potential donors, who are often known as grantmakers and may be either governmental organizations or private philanthropists. You may research their organizational structure, financial background, personal interests or past donations in order to determine whether they're likely to support your cause.
You'll also research the logistics of whatever you plan to do with the funding. For example, your grant may propose to cover the cost of providing medical care to citizens of a third-world country. This information is generally included in the grant application so the prospective donor knows where his or her money is going.
The last stage of writing a grant application is the execution - not only writing the proposal itself, but convincing potential grantmakers to fund it. Your proposals may be intended for a particular grantmaker rather than just a generic request for funding. This allows you to tailor the wording of the application to the donor's specific financial or philanthropic interests.
You may also meet with potential donors or speak to them on the phone to sell them on the idea of funding your grant. This type of marketing is often a significant part of a grant writer's job. Such efforts may include giving grantmakers tours of your company, bringing them to meet or observe potential charity recipients, and providing evidence of the success of past fundraising efforts.
What Training is Required?
The BLS reports that the majority of grant writers employed by nonprofit organizations are bachelor's degree-holders. Bachelor's degree programs specifically in grant writing are not generally available, but many degree programs in English, journalism or communications offer required or elective courses in grant writing. You can also major in marketing, business or another area related to the job duties described above.
Some schools also offer certificates or professional development courses in grant writing or nonprofit leadership. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (APF) also offers courses, diplomas and conferences in fundraising and nonprofit leadership (www.apfnet.org).
Certificate programs or courses in grant writing educate you in every step of the application writing process, including preparation, writing and review. You'll learn how to research potential donors, assess likelihood of a contribution, develop budgets and create project time lines. You'll also receive both theoretical instruction and hands-on practice in writing proposals.
Last but not least, you'll become educated in proposal review and negotiations via peer reviews of classmates' proposals. Most courses require you to create a mock grant, from start to finish, as a final project.
How Much Could I Earn?
According to the salary information website Payscale.com, grant writers earned a 25th-75th percentile salary range of $34,316-$50,382 as of January 2011. For entry-level grant writers with a year or less of experience, the middle salary range was $31,835-$44,126. The BLS doesn't collect grant writer salary data directly, but the Bureau did cite a salary research study by Abbott, Langer and Associates, Inc., in career information on nonprofit professions. The study showed that grant writers earned a median salary of $38,500 as of 2000.
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