The Best 5 Tips on How to Become a Grant Writer Without Experience
Updated on: by Olivia
So you are the type of person who enjoys helping out charitable causes, just because, huh? That is absolutely wonderful!
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Do you also love to write? If so, I have the perfect job for you.
It combines both your want to help others, with your passion for writing, all in one. It is called grant writing.
Grant writers can work for numerous different not for profit groups at a time, or stick with just one that their heart is truly set on.
What is a grant writer?
You likely already know that not for profit groups run off of donations, but have you ever wondered how the funds are acquired?
There are various ways for charities to raise money for their cause. Some groups hold fundraisers and auctions. Others rely on holding events and selling merchandise, to generate their revenue. But another way that not for profit groups can earn money is actually by hiring grant writers, who basically ask for donations.
Sure, anyone can ask for donations, but to have the best shot at getting a donor to say, “yes,” it requires just the right person. Someone who is knowledgeable about the group, and who has great communication skills, that will help “sell” a cause. This person will whip up a proposal asking to be funded, and explain how the monies will be used.
Skills needed for a grant writer
As a grant writer, there are certain skills one must possess. While a bachelor’s degree can certainly come in handy, it is not an absolute necessity. Here are some of the skills you should have as a grant writer.
- Communication/Interpersonal skills
People, businesses and groups don’t just give away their money to anyone. The ability to be able to communicate well with others plays a huge role in grant writing.
- Research skills
In order to help a not for profit make money, you will be required to do quite a bit of research. You will need to research various grants that are suitable for your mission, specifically, as well as familiarize yourself with both the big, and small details about the not for profit.
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- Writing skills
So you can talk up a storm with just about anyone, but can you put your words into meaningful text? You will be writing your grants, after all.
- Detail oriented
As you can guess, there will be many details involved as a grant writer. You must be able to stay organized, and keep great detail on a number of different things, from dates and deadlines, to various specifics. And if you happen to have multiple clients, it will require extra effort to keep them separate.
How to become a grant writer without experience
If you want to become a grant writer, but don’t happen to have a bachelor’s degree under your belt, don’t worry. While landing big gigs may not be the easiest, there are ways to become a grant writer without experience. Some may be paid, while others are just to help you gain experience. Here are 5 great tips to help you get started on your grant writing adventure.
#1. Join a not for profit
The best way to get your foot in the door is by actually joining a not for profit group that. But before you choose just any ol’ not for profit, make sure that you have a strong passion for the mission of said group.
Once you have found a group that is just right for you, volunteer as much as you can. Get to know everyone. Learn how they operate. Be flexible, and available. Do your part, and others will notice your strong desire to want to help.
As a volunteer for the group you will have a better understanding of why funding is needed, and just how the funds will be spent. Share your writing skills, and you just may be able to land yourself the responsibility of helping your not for profit land some grants.
With a job like grant writing, being able to network is incredibly important. Oftentimes just knowing someone well is all it really takes.
Talk to anyone and everyone in the field. Express your interests. Ask questions. Be personable, and enthusiastic. Build up a great reputation! You never know who may remember you later on, or who can lead you in the right direction.
#3. Get Connected with Linkedin
If you aren’t familiar with Linkedin, you are truly missing out! Linkedin is a wonderful way to start networking. Once you sign up for a free account, you can create your personalized profile, and even upload your resume.
With a Linkedin account you will be able to connect with others in the grant writing industry. In fact, Linkedin will even provide you with suggested connections!
You can even search through job postings on Linkedin. Just type in “grant writing,” and BAM! Current job openings will pop right up. Just remember to enter the location as, “remote,” or you may end up finding job postings for particular cities, that may require you to commute.
#4. Find an internship
While many internships require hours and hours of hard work, that are often unpaid, your devotion will be worthwhile in the end. While interning as a grant writer not only will you be expanding your network, but you will also be able to learn anything you have ever needed to know about grant writing.
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Sometimes internships can even lead to a full-time position, if you play your cards well, and the timing is just right!
#5. Join the Grant Professionals Association
Joining the Grant Professionals Association can be a great place to start.
There you may be able to find local chapters to join, and attend meetings. You can even possibly find a grant consultant to take you under their wing and show you the ropes!
Freelance grant writing
As with all jobs, you will always have competition. The best way to get hired for a freelance grant writing gig is to create an amazing proposal. Since this job, in particular, requires you to write, you will want your proposal to be exceptionally well written. Make sure it flows well, is free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes, and really sells what a great writer, and researcher you are.
Now, when it comes to finding freelance gigs, there are a variety of different websites to visit.
The following are some of my favorite sites I check out, when I am looking to work some freelance jobs.
When I am in need of new clients, my absolute favorite platform to check out is Upwork. You will need to create an account, before applying for any gigs, but it is completely free to do so.
Creating an account on Upwork will allow you to fill out your personal profile, and then see highlighted job postings that are likely up your alley. They use their very own algorithm that is just so happens to show a number of listings that match your profile.
You can choose to apply any of the jobs that you think are fitting, or use the search function to see what else is available. Simply type, “grant writer” into the search bar, to see a number of grant writing positions that are waiting to be filled, by freelancers like you!
Job search sites
Indeed and Monster are very popular job search websites. While not all of the jobs that are posted on Indeed or Monster are freelance, a good number of them are. Just use the search function to look for current grant writing jobs!
One of the great things about using these sites is that you can create an alert, that will send you a notification, as soon as a particular job pops up!
Further your grant writing knowledge
The more proposals you create for grants, the easier it will come to you. However, if you want to further your knowledge, when it comes to writing grants, you have a few options. Take a look at these great ideas I have for you.
There are numerous books out there pertaining to writing grants. One of the more popular books is The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need. This incredibly informative book was written by a pair of authors who have already won numerous grants totaling millions of dollars.
You can check it out at the library, but I suggest you purchase a copy for yourself. It’s pretty affordable, and you can mark it up, and save pages for future reference.
Follow fellow writers
Social media is a wonderful way to stay connected with others. This includes fellow writers of all sorts: freelance writers, grant writers and favorite authors.
Each writer that you follow will post their own various pieces of information that you may not have known about otherwise. Sometimes it is just nice to be able to communicate others who share a common interest.
Grant writing courses
Udemy is a fantastic website that offers a number of courses related to all things business and technical.
Currently, Udemy has over 1,000 courses dedicated to grant writing.
These courses are perfect for anyone. Whether you are just beginning your grant writing career, or consider yourself an expert grant writing guru, you are sure to find a number of courses that can help you improve your skills, and start winning the big bucks.
If you are looking for a physical class to attend you can also check out your local community college! Some colleges offer specific grant writing classes, while others will offer classes that pertain to writing and speaking in general. Any such class or course can certainly be beneficial to your grant writing career.
A great way to improve your writing is to read various samples of other grants. This can give you a great idea on how to make your proposals flow. It can also help you to learn which aspects are definitely worth mentioning.
One of the best ways to get a hands on approach is to volunteer.
Doing so may not pay in cash, but you will in turn get paid in the form of knowledge, and experience! Plus, volunteering is an excellent way to get your name out there, and expand your network.
So how much is grant writing paying these days? Well, that of course depends on a number of things. For example, where you live, and what kind of certifications or degrees you have can make a difference. However, one of the biggest factors that will determine what kind of pay you can expect has a lot to do with your experience. No surprise there, huh?
For those who do not have a bachelor’s degree, or have previously taken any grant writing courses, they will likely only earn about $10-$25 per hour. But for a newbie who likely has a job just land in their lap, it really isn’t too shabby. Especially when you are getting paid to do something near and dear to your heart.
On average, the pay for most grant writers in generally in the $30-$50 range. Though it isn’t unheard of for some grant writers to be earning a whopping $100 per hour. As you can guess, to be making that kind of cash you will have to have many years of experience, as well as a degree, and a huge network under your belt.
There is a lot to learn about grant writing. A good part of it comes simply from doing it, and getting comfortable. The more experience you gain, the more comfortable you will become.
Be sure to read proposal guidelines before you get to writing. There is no sense wasting time in a proposal that does not meet the proper criteria, nor will it be good for your reputation.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Afterall, as a grant writer, you need to know exactly how a group runs. What is their purpose? How much funding do they need? How, precisely, will the funds be used?
Without the answers to these questions, whipping up a good proposal will be next to impossible.
Most importantly, be personable! Networking is a huge part of being a grant writer. Get to know others, and make yourself well known. Word of mouth travels quickly, and you want your clients to be able to refer you to others!
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