5 Tips for Becoming a Grant Writer

Grant writers create proposals that help nonprofit organizations receive the funding they need, and while you might think that you can become a grant writer with just some writing experience, you usually need a college degree too.

Organizations can apply for grants from various levels of the government and from large corporations that donate money to groups every year. Becoming a proposal writer lets you help those organizations get the funding they need.

Take Classes

Going to college is just one way you can become a grant writer. Though colleges do not offer degrees in grant writing, you can take enroll in a writing or journalism program. Choosing a major in English may also be helpful. If you want to work in a specific area of the nonprofit industry, consider majoring in that area in college. Those working for hospitals and health care facilities might major in health care management, nursing or public health. This gives you a better understanding of what the organization does and how it will use those funds.

Get Experience

Some people assume that any writing experience will help them when creating grant proposals, but these proposals are often highly technical in nature. You’ll need to create multiple sections and follow an outline similar to a business plan. One section will offer a short history on the organization, while a separate section might offer a brief overview on the people working for that group. Writing grants for fictional organizations can help you understand the outline you must follow and give you some experience creating those proposals.

Read and Understand the Instructions

Before you accept a single job, take the time to look at popular grants online. Download and read through the instructions to make sure that you understand what the group handing out that grant looks for in candidates. The instructions should explain exactly what the grant should contain, the outline to follow and even how to format the application. According to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, those companies and groups will instantly eliminate any grant that does not follow its format and outline requirements.

Look Over Templates

You may not know it, but you can easily find grant proposal templates online. These templates are available as files that you can download and view in Microsoft Word and other document programs. Looking over a template will give you an idea of the type of outline you should follow and the format required. You can even practice writing fake proposals for organizations and facilities with those templates. When you apply for jobs and have less experience, you can use those templates to show prospective employers that you understand the fundamentals of grant writing.

Join Professional Groups

Joining professional groups and associations is one of the best ways to become a grant writer. Two of the largest of these groups are the American Grant Writers’ Association and the Grant Professionals Association. Both groups offer opportunities for members like invitations to regional and national conferences and access to an exclusive journal or email newsletter. You can also sign up for online classes to further your education and find out about the steps associated with becoming a Certified Grant Writer. Professional organizations often offer online job boards for members too.

Grant writers are responsible for finding out about grant opportunities, doing research for organizations and creating proposals to show why those groups deserve those funds. They can work for just one group at a time or work for multiple organizations. You usually need a college degree to become a grant writer, but you may find that joining a professional association is helpful too.

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