If you love to write, are highly organized, and enjoy working for a good cause, grant writing may be the perfect career for you. With more than 1.5 million nonprofits and thousands more organizations depending on grants in the United States alone, grant writers are in high demand.
Grant writers are an integral part of the development or fundraising field. The term “grant writer” is a bit of a misnomer since grant writers actually write
to get grants. Writing is just one part of the their job. They also help develop programs, research potential funders, and draft reports and letters to donors. Grant professionals come from a variety of backgrounds, including social workers, English majors and scientists. The most successful share the following skills and traits:
Where Do Grant Writers Work?
A typical day on the job varies dramatically depending on the size of the organization and the scope of the position. Grant writers who work at larger organizations are usually “specialists” while those working at smaller organizations are “generalists.” The majority of grant writing jobs fall into the latter category, where you will not only be responsible for drafting proposals but will also be charged with researching donors and managing grants that have been awarded. The typical duties of a generalist are:
How Much Money Do They Make?
There is no specific college degree in grant writing. The vast majority of professional grant writers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a college or university with a major in English, the social sciences, liberal arts, science, or social work. Majors with coursework that emphasizes writing and research provide a good foundation for the career. While books and Internet resources on grant writing are available, if you are serious about the field, classes and workshops conducted by experienced grant professionals will provide a more comprehensive overview of writing grants. Many include hands-on exercises including working on actual grant proposals. This training is crucial to landing internships and jobs in the field.
The job outlook is very good, especially in today’s difficult economy. Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations rely heavily on private grant dollars to support their programs and services. Grants from foundations, corporations, and organizations are crucial to keep programs running, and grant writers are needed for their expertise in securing these funds.
Grant writing is a field of professional writing where you can make a steady and lucrative living as a writer. Job opportunities are available with nonprofit organizations, schools, colleges and universities, government agencies, or as a freelance contractor.