How Do I Become a Nonprofit Grant Writer?

Nonprofit grant writers help nonprofit organizations secure funding to continue their work. Read on to learn about education programs that can prepare you for this field, job duties and potential earnings. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Skills and Training Do I Need to Become a Nonprofit Grant Writer?

As a nonprofit grant writer, you need skills in persuasive writing and in-depth researching. You may also need technical knowledge if the grant is of a technical nature. You need to have a good eye for details, the ability to follow strict guidelines and general knowledge of the grant process. Having a bachelor's degree in English, communications or writing can help you to be more competitive for jobs. Some graduate-level degree programs relating to professional writing or the nonprofit sector may include specific coverage of grant writing.

There are also dedicated grant-writing certificate programs. These programs are usually a short overview the process and procedures involved in the grant-assigning process. They last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, and may be completed entirely online. Things you may learn include types of funding sources, common grant structure, grant- and proposal-writing tips as well as research methods.

What Would My Job Duties Be?

Your job is to create a grant application that serves to acquire needed funding for an organization. The process of creating a grant application involves researching, writing, developing ideas and working with others on the grant proposal staff. You must follow the guidelines set by the grant-maker, which may include explaining why your organization is most deserving of the grant and what plans the organization has for spending the grant money. You also need to have a good understanding of the organization for which you work including having a good knowledge of projects, finances and programs.

You may be hired on a project basis, only working for an organization when grant funding is needed, or you may be kept on staff. You usually handle writing the grant, along with monitoring the proposal after it has been submitted. You may be responsible for creating follow-up materials or gathering additional information that has been requested by the grant-maker after they have read your proposal. You may also have to report on the status of grant proposals to the leaders in your organization.

What Are My Potential Earnings?

Grant writers' salaries are influenced by many factors including employee status, project type, organization type and work hours. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a mean annual salary of $64,560 for all writers and authors as of May 2009. According to the same survey from the BLS, the lowest 10% of writers and authors earned a mean annual salary of $28,070 and the highest 90% earned $105,710 (www.bls.gov). The source also stated that all full-time nonprofit workers earned an hour wage of $21.68 in 2007, which is more than some comparable private industry positions but lower than many similar roles within the national government.

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