How To Become a Grant Writer With No Experience in 6 Steps
Grant writing can be a lucrative and rewarding career for technical writers. While the profession does require certain skills and knowledge, many professionals can earn grant writing jobs with little or no experience. If you enjoy writing and are interested in working for nonprofit organizations, grant writing may be a great career for you.
In this article, we discuss what grant writing is, the benefits of choosing it as your career, tips for beginning your work and six steps to teach you how to become a grant writer with no experience.
A grant writer helps government organizations, corporations and nonprofits receive financial assistance by completing grant applications.
If you currently have no experience, you can become a grant writer by taking writing classes, pursuing certification and building a portfolio.
Grant writers often have skills like effective written communication, attention to detail, proofreading and research.
What is grant writing?
Grant writing is the act of completing an application on behalf of an individual or organization in order to receive funding. Government organizations and some corporations award grant funding for both for-profit and nonprofit purposes, but charities are the most common recipients of this financial assistance.
Grant writers are professionals who complete the application to receive financial assistance. The process of grant writing often includes:
Gathering research on the organization and company
Identifying the audience of the proposal
Researching the subject of the proposal
Writing the grant proposal
Formatting the application and proposal
Editing and proofreading
Submitting the grant application
Related: 15 Popular Writing Careers
What are the benefits of becoming a grant writer?
Some of the benefits of becoming a grant writer include:
Grant writers make an average salary of $52,002 per year in the United States. A professional's salary can depend on their experience and education level, location and employer. Some grant writers work independently on freelance or contract work, which can allow them to set their own rates. Grant writers who work full time for a company or organization also typically receive a benefits package, including health insurance and retirement savings.
Because most grant writers work under deadlines instead of traditional work hours, some grant writing professionals can set their own schedules and work at their own pace. This allows professionals to work during the time of day that best suits them. Having a flexible schedule often allows professionals to be more productive and helps them maintain a better work-life balance.
While some grant writers work in office spaces, many are able to work from home. Remote grant writers communicate with their teams and supervisors via email and video calls and complete their work independently. Remote work is an excellent option for professionals who do not want to commute, like to travel or live in an area with fewer employment opportunities.
Grant writers primarily write grant proposals for underrepresented groups, charity causes and small businesses. The grant writers help these causes receive funding, which in turn creates a positive impact in the community. For example, a grant writer may write a grant proposal for a charity that delivers and installs clean water pumps for communities that don't have access to these necessities otherwise.
How to become a grant writer with no experience
Many professionals can start a grant writing career with little or no experience. As you continue to complete projects, you can build your resume and advance to higher-paying jobs. Consider following these steps if you would like to become a grant writer:
1. Take writing classes
Taking writing courses can help you improve your grammar and writing style. Search online to check if there are any writing courses offered online or in your area. Professionals often offer courses on specific subjects, such as proposal writing and research skills.
If you are interested in pursuing post-secondary education, it may be beneficial to consider an associate or bachelor's degree in technical writing. Pursuing post-secondary education can help you advance your skill set and add impressive features to your resume, but many grant writing employers don't require it.
2. Consider a certification
If you want to add an educational experience to your resume without pursuing post-secondary education, consider obtaining a certification for grant writing. Often, professionals earn certifications by completing coursework associated with the subject. You may also need to earn a passing grade on an exam that tests grant writing knowledge or skills.
While not obligatory, earning a certification in place of or in addition to a post-secondary degree can improve your skills and give you an advantage in the job-seeking process.
3. Build a portfolio
A professional portfolio is a website or collection of files that showcases your previous work. If you don't have any professional experience to display, consider sharing some of your schoolwork or creating pieces specifically for your portfolio. This allows hiring managers to see your writing style and recognize your abilities. Consider sharing your portfolio when you send your resume, either by attaching the file to your application or adding the link into your resume.
4. Decide which type of employment you want
Grant writers can work on a freelance, contract, part-time or full-time basis. Consider when type of employment best fits into your lifestyle before applying for jobs. If you're only looking for full-time work, that may change the types of employers you contact and the media you use to find job postings. If you decide to work on a freelance or contract basis, you may want to calculate how much you charge for your services.
5. Apply for jobs
Once you decide how much to charge for your services and which type of employment you are hoping for, try to apply for jobs. Check career sites for job postings and ensure that you read the job advertisement thoroughly before applying. This allows you to fully understand the position you are searching for and gives you an opportunity to use keywords from the job posting in your resume.
6. Advertise your services
While applying for jobs, you may also want to find ways to advertise your services. One way to do this is by creating a professional website and social media profiles. Once you create your social media profiles, try to connect with professionals who work in small businesses or the nonprofit field, as both of these industries are likely to need grant writers. You may also want to consider contacting professionals who you think may need your services through email.
What skills do grant writers need?
Grant writers need strong writing skills and an understanding of technical writing. A grant writer's skills can depend on the types of proposals they write and their type of employment. Successful grant writers often need these skills:
Written and verbal communication: Grant writers use written and verbal communication skills to better understand their client's needs and create compelling grant proposals.
Attention to detail: Because grants often have stipulations and rules for their applications, these professionals benefit from having strong attention to detail.
Research skills: When preparing to write a proposal, grant writers research the audience for the grant, the grant's stipulations and the subject of their proposal to ensure accuracy and efficacy.
Organization: Grant writers benefit from having strong organizational skills when researching proposals and managing client requests.
Proofreading: Because grant proposals are official documents that can determine whether a cause gets funding or not, grant writers need strong proofreading skills to ensure they submit excellent work.
Time management: Some grant writers work on multiple projects at once, so it's helpful for them to have time-management skills. This also helps them meet deadlines.
What is a grant writer's work environment like?
A grant writer's work environment often depends on the type of employment they obtain. Some grant writers work remotely from home, so their work environment depends on their location and personal choices. Grant workers who follow a traditional schedule and commute to work usually work in an office setting with other colleagues.
Tips for starting a career as a grant writer
In addition to the steps explained earlier, these tips can help you get started as a grant writer:
Volunteer: Consider joining a nonprofit group that supports a cause you're passionate about. This helps you better understand the nonprofit sector and gives you an opportunity to work with like-minded people.
Network: Try to build a strong professional network by going to nonprofit events, creating a professional website and reaching out to other professionals in the field. This can help you find job opportunities.
Study: In order to build a portfolio, you may want to find a mentor or an internship to help you better understand the career of grant writing. This can also provide you with job and networking opportunities.
Register: Consider registering with the Grant Professionals Association. This can help you establish your career and find other professionals in your field.
Please note that none of the organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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