A proficient grant writer knows how to research and how to write individual and effective grant proposals. Research skills are of uttermost importance for this job. As a grant writer you must prove clarity in writing, analytical thinking, and have a keen eye for details. In addition, you need to be highly familiar with the project that you propose for grant funding including terms, individual traits, and future perspectives for each of its major components. From this point of view, grant writing is a balanced exercise in fact, analysis, and imagination.
As a grant writer, it is your responsibility to research the most appropriate funders for the project, because the grant proposal you write will be directly aimed at convincing them to invest. You will need to thoroughly understand what kinds of projects the targeted funding organization would support and what particular traits of the project you present in writing make it particularly eligible with this.
Major project funders have reported that the most appealing grant proposals are not always impeccably written, but written in a clear and convincing manner by someone from the inside of the organization that requests the grant. But to you as a professional grant writer this only means that your grant proposal might have been anything less than impeccable if it was convincing. Clear writing is very important.
The development and submission of a grant proposal is a process, so you will have to keep up with each proposal that you write, after submitting it. All the additional steps the submission process requires, all new data concerning possible changes in priorities of donor organization that emerge and all new information related to other possible funding sources are your full responsibility.
It is best to take your first steps towards this career while still in high school or in college. You can activate in a charity and write a first grant proposal for them, once you get to know the organization. There is a lot of free bibliography available online especially for smaller charitable organizations that cannot afford professional grant writers and need to train their own staff for their funding proposals. Your experience with grant proposal writing and your starter portfolio of successfully carried out projects will first develop with charities.
Established grant proposal writers, who work with large organizations, are well paid individual contractors, but it is hard to say how much income such a career will bring you, as fees can vary very much. The most common two ways of charging for such work is per hour, and per project. Additionally, there are grant writers who charge a percentage of the project value after the grant request is approved, but this is a questionable practice.
Large non-profit organizations don’t employ only full time grant writers. There are also part time positions or one time projects where you can participate to enlarge your experience. Once you are not a beginner any more, you can also offer your services as a consultant. Also, you don’t need to perform the entire process of obtaining grant approval, if you wish to specialize. You can offer your services as a funding researcher or a grant researcher, if research is your strongest side. And you can work as a grant proposal evaluator or reviewer, to check and complete other grant writers’ work. All these activities are appropriate for hourly agreements.