Top grant writer skills needed to get the job.

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Host

What are the top 3 traits or skills every grant writer must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your grant writer expertise?

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Alicia Murphy in Columbia, South Carolina

82 months ago

Please advise me of the three traits or skills each grant writer should possess.

Thank you, Alicia

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grantexpert in Portland, Maine

79 months ago

Attributes: creativity, persuasiveness, and persistence.

Tips: Read every book you can find on grant writing; become a proposal reviewer; attend workshops and courses on grants and grant writing; write and research as often as possible; participate on grant-related web-based discussion groups.

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danah in La Jolla

79 months ago

it depends where are you applying and for what. according to that - you put your writer skills in action.

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danah in La Jolla

78 months ago

danielle, i think the second applies, as we have all been in transition period.
maybe, to get consultations with someone before stepping in?

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Holly in Troy, New York

78 months ago

See if you can help a local grant writer with overflow work. Another entry point is through development or fundraising in a non-profit.

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aspiring grantwriter in Vassalboro, Maine

75 months ago

I have recently graduated from college with a B.A. in English. As part of my course work I took a grant writing course where I wrote a grant for a local animal shelter who has yet to implement the proposal. Additionally, I have volunteered to assist in writing another grant for a nonprofit organization. I would love to find a job as a grant writer, but do not know what else to do to "break into" this field. Any suggestions? Any leads?

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jseliger in Tucson, Arizona

66 months ago

You need writing and researching skills, which might be numbers three and two, but most importantly, tenacity.

"Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your grant writer expertise?"

Yeah, but there's too much to post here: see Grant Writing Confidential at blog.seliger.com , which will give you vastly more than relatively short comments can.

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iseliger in Bothell, Washington

66 months ago

mark in Syracuse, New York said: good writer
good researcher
able to think outside the box

Actually, great grant writers think "inside the box," because we re-construct the myths that reviewers bring with them. Remember, you are writing for bureaucrats, not for the ages. For real insights into grant writing, see various posts at Grant Writing Confidential, blog.seliger.com. I will soon write a post on grant writer as myth maker.

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Dan H in Yorktown Heights, New York

63 months ago

Research, research, research.

See if the grant source has examples of past successful grants you can use as a model. Then copy what they did. Get to know the folks at the granting agencies so you can call them and get answers right away.

Know the restrictions on grants, and the deadlines.

Do your homework, and you will get paid for what you know.

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Karla in Ponsford, Minnesota

59 months ago

Alicia Murphy in Columbia, South Carolina said: Please advise me of the three traits or skills each grant writer should possess.

Thank you, Alicia

What I have found helpful for myself since my goal has been to become an grant writer is to take a grant writing course through the web site; ed2go.com , these courses are cheap $ 77.00 per course (on-line)and the instructors are experts grant consultants with 20 years or more of experience. I'm just finishing up my third course- Becoming a Grant Consultant, and I will be ready by (Jan 1 2010), to start my home based business. Beverly Browning gives a great informative course. I recommend her , and these courses are about 3 months long which gives you time to retain all the good information needed to become successful. I hope this help , but just check out the web site and see if this is something that will benefit you.

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NC in Hampton, Virginia

57 months ago

As a person who has hired grant writers, I need to see evidence that you previous writing experiences have resulted in proposals. Also determine what types of grants you are wanting to write: are they for the government or to foundations...those are completely different. None of the organizations that I have worked for submitted grants to government agencies because the proposals take significant more time (like weeks more) than one to a foundation or corporation. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, it just gives you an idea of what you are getting yourself into. Small nonprofits often combine their development and communications efforts so look for jobs in both areas. This may mean you are also writing some marketing pieces.

You should of course have strong research skills, but know that there are databases (Foundation Director and Wealthengine.com) that help reduce the amount of time you spend researching.

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commonsensegrants in Oxford, Maine

56 months ago

Diligence, perspicuity, and tenacity.

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Chef Sonita Oliver in Dallas, Texas

54 months ago

aspiring grantwriter in Vassalboro, Maine said: I have recently graduated from college with a B.A. in English. As part of my course work I took a grant writing course where I wrote a grant for a local animal shelter who has yet to implement the proposal. Additionally, I have volunteered to assist in writing another grant for a nonprofit organization. I would love to find a job as a grant writer, but do not know what else to do to "break into" this field. Any suggestions? Any leads?

Please contact me after you read our website
www.greenstartculinaryranch.org we are not ready today but if you still want to work we may consider you. Chef Sonita the founder
Dallas Texas

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Amberama in Clackamas, Oregon

53 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every grant writer must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your grant writer expertise?

The academically taught answer to this is specific, which is: 1- Ability to meet deadlines, 2- Ability to follow instructions, 3- Ability to 'read between the lines' (resourcefulness').

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Grant Professor in Windham, Maine

53 months ago

1) Ability to read, 2) Ability to write, 3) Ability to do arithmetic

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writer in Rumson, New Jersey

48 months ago

Every position I see posted for a grant writer wants a proven track record, which makes sense... except that to have experience as a grant writer, someone has to take a chance on you as a grant writer. Should I simply volunteer to write a grant proposal as a way of gaining experience?

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SusanM in San Jose, California

45 months ago

"Business Opportunity...guaranteed income...25% commission..." This is a scam. Don't fall for it!

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Christine in Edison, New Jersey

44 months ago

writer in Rumson, New Jersey said: Every position I see posted for a grant writer wants a proven track record, which makes sense... except that to have experience as a grant writer, someone has to take a chance on you as a grant writer. Should I simply volunteer to write a grant proposal as a way of gaining experience?

I'm running into this problem as well. Even the volunteer listings I've seen seem to strongly prefer experience. To add to the above question - what would be the best way to approach the issue of inexperience when offering to volunteer?

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Eduardo in Sacramento, California

44 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every grant writer must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your grant writer expertise?

Boiling it down to three "tips" is no easy task. Nevertheless, below are some things that you may want to keep in mind when developing your grant writing expertise:

-Be curious! By this, I mean get to know what the organization is about. In particular what their overall vision is (what they hope their work contributes to on a grander scale), their mission (what it is that they do to contribute to the vision) and what their specific outcomes are (how they measure success). You want to do this for both the organization that you will be writing the grant for as well as the organization that you are submitting a grant to.

-Be clear! Whenever I work with both experienced and novice grant writers, the first thing I have them do is to cut their narrative by a third. Though this may seem arbitrary, pushing to them to convey the same information in less words helps them to clarify what exactly it is that they are trying to say. A great resource that was recently introduced to me is "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. This is definitely an instance where "less is more" takes on the form of an industry maxim.

I know that these are pretty broad tips. If anyone has more specific questions please feel free to post them here.

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Eduardo in Sacramento, California

44 months ago

Christine in Edison, New Jersey said: I'm running into this problem as well. Even the volunteer listings I've seen seem to strongly prefer experience. To add to the above question - what would be the best way to approach the issue of inexperience when offering to volunteer?

Trying to break into the world of grant writing does require some patience on the part of the grant writer- both in terms of the process and definitely in terms of the return. This is an industry that can provide for a very comfortable living, but one that also brings with it a lot of financial uncertainty for both the writer and the client, unless you are on staff.

That being said, to respond to the comment of how to approach the issue of inexperience, here are some tips.

-Find your niche. When starting out, you really want to lead with whatever professional/academic/life experience you do have. Find an area of your life that you can speak about confidently. This can range from being a single mother to being a former Executive Director.

-Identify with local grant sources. This process can be started with a simple Google search. Your goal is to identify sources that are linked to whatever your area of interest is.

-Connect with a grant source. Once you identify potential funders, I would really encourage you to try to schedule some time with a Program Officer or representative. Your goal is to begin to build relationships that you can tap into in the future in your work as a grant writer. Legitimate requests for a meeting can be to learn about their grant portfolio and ask questions about their long term vision.

-Connect with potential clients. Do this, not with a marketing mindset but with a goal of learning about how different organizations are working to serve the community. Not surprisingly, your curiosity tends to result in building a relationship with the organizations that can eventually turn into a contract.

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ChrisinNorfolk in Virginia Beach, Virginia

41 months ago

I'm a disabled vet with a Master's in Public Administration who is looking to break into grant writing/management. Unfortunately my experience is limited to my current volunteer assignment. I'm looking at additional volunteer opportunities and taking a grantsmanship certificate, but will this be sufficient? Do I need to clarify to myself whether I'm interested in grant management or writing (the former is better but the latter would be great too)? Which steps should I take before I can hope to apply for real positions?

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Eduardo in Sacramento, California

41 months ago

ChrisinNorfolk- there are some definite considerations that you will want to make as the responsibilities of a grant manager and grant writer are different. From my own experience, the prior tends to be housed within a foundation or a larger non-profit, while the latter carries more liberty in terms of the work location.

Additionally, a grants manager tends to manage a team of individuals that are responsible for over-seeing the successful implementation of a grant. The grant writer is moreso simply responsible for researching and writing the grant. As such, you may want to consider which dynamic appeals to you more.

Here are some links that may provide you with some additional insight into the specific responsibilities for each role:

Grants Manager
www.idealist.org/view/job/62xmg23nSdFP

Grants Writer
www.idealist.org/view/volop/NCHmZTK8KCcp

I hope that this helps. -Eduardo

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mjo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

36 months ago

I saw a legal brief once and thought, "that's similar to what I do as a grant writer." I argue for my agencies -- I am the best agency to receive this grant because this is the work that needs to be done; this is the work the agency will do; these are the changes my agency will bring about. I also think of a grant proposal as a business plan.

I read all kinds of studies -- economic, social sciences. Last year I wrote several proposals based on a quote from an economist who wrote: Invest in the young. Invest in education. (I'm paraphrasing)

I think you need to be near the agency you work for. You need to visit and get the feel of the place. My agency hired an online grantwriter once. The grantwriter needed so much informaton from the development department, and the staff spent so many hours supplying the grantwriter with info, that they decided to continue writing the grants in-house.

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Holli in Watervliet, New York

6 months ago

I like the idea of getting a focus. I started grant writing for an agency that serves blind and visually impaired people and could expand to work with organizations that serve other disabled people.
It's also encouraging to know that there are plenty of organizations that don't apply for federal grants and need help with foundation grants.

That being said, I have received several requests who have wanted me to volunteer my time and I have been frank with them about the work involved in writing a good grant. I have also stressed that while I'm charging to write foundation grant proposals, I am looking to do pro-bono on a federal grant proposal project.

I have to find a focus though. Having worked in an academic
research center, I'm becoming interested in helping with finding/writing grant proposals that support technology development.

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