What is a grant writer?
A grant writer is a professional writer who helps secure funding from the government and other philanthropic sources.
What does a grant writer do?
Grant writers normally gather documentation and fulfil the necessary requirements of various funding bodies depending on organisational needs.
They usually work with non-profit organisations and businesses on behalf of their agency with the aim of securing funding for projects, services, or goods that the organisation needs.
Grant writers can also work as consultants to various businesses, foundations, corporations, and government agencies to find contract and work opportunities.
What skills should a grant writer have?
Here are some key skills required by a grant writer:
- Excellent written communication and research skills
- Top-shelf interpersonal skills
- Ability to ask the right questions
- Ability to learn quickly about new projects and industries
- Ability to understand the needs and expectations of both granting organisations and clients
- Great organisational skills and details focus
- Ability to write in a persuasive fashion to appeal to the grantor
- Able to find funding organisations with grant opportunities that are well-suited to the client.
Do you need a degree to be a grant writer?
For most jobs, applicants will need a bachelor’s degree as a minimum. They also need to possess strong communication skills to generate effective and compelling grant proposals that result in funding for a project.
Grant writing is one career where a more advanced degree may not be required but will certainly be preferable to candidates who only hold a bachelor’s degree.
Any undergraduate program that involves heavy use of writing and persuasive tactics will also give grant writers the ability to practice this skill. The majority of Grant Writers have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, marketing, or communications. Besides, English, technical writing and professional writing programs or majors can also provide other useful qualifications to apply grant writer positions.
How do you become a grant writer? What does it take to become a grant writer?
- Bachelor’s degree – Grant writing involves top-notch communications skills so that the writer can create grant applications which convey a compelling case to the grant manager. As such, the most important talent a grant writer can have is the ability to research & write effectively and adapt their writing style to the grant-writing context. Most grant writers have tertiary qualifications, particularly in programs that involve writing and persuasion tactics such as English, Journalism, Communications or Marketing.
- Take courses in grant writing – some universities and education providers offer programs in grant specifically, and are a valuable training opportunity both for BA-qualified writers aspiring to write grants, and for professionals from other fields hoping to move into grant writing. Various courses cover grant writing from the basics to advanced level, as well as how to find grant opportunities for your clients, and how to assess both their eligibility and competitiveness for grant opportunities. Professional development that is focused on grant writing specifically helps grant writers develop a strong set of skills that they can put into practice to improve the quality of their work.
- Gain experience in writing grants – Some employers may expect degrees in a certain field of study, while others only require that candidates have a bachelor’s degree. Most employers would expect a minimum of two years of grant writing experience in job descriptions, even for part-time and temporary positions. That experience might be more important than your specific university qualifications. If you want to gain employment as a grant writer, you can volunteer to prepare grant applications for organisations like non-profits, or complete internships in this field. The more experience you can demonstrate, the more opportunities for employment.
- Gain industry experience – Especially if you’re looking for a grant-writing role in a specific industry, rather than with a grant-writing agency, you may find that employers are looking for grant writers who are familiar with that industry. For example, healthcare organisations will tend to look for grant writers who understand the mechanisms of healthcare, while universities prefer grant writers who are knowledgeable about and experienced in the university sector. Many grants fund projects for non-profit organisations, and those organisations tend to seek grant writers who have experience working in the non-profit sector – not necessarily as a grant writer, but also in other capacities such as communications and marketing. High familiarity with specific industries makes it easier to understand the proposed project and write a winning grant proposal.
- Join a professional association – Becoming a member of a group for grant writers offers opportunities to gain access to more training and job opportunities, as well as to attend conferences and network and learn from others in the field of grant-writing professionals.
How much money can you make as a grant writer?
Compensation for grant writers may vary based upon location, experience level, and assignment length.
The hourly rate for a grant writer can be in the region of $25 to $50 if they are employed internally in an organisation.
More specifically, an entry level grant writer (one to three years of experience) earns an average salary of AU$66,193.
At the other end of the spectrum, a senior level grant writer (eight+ years of experience) earns an average salary of AU$113,890.
The average grant writer salary in Australia is AU$92,143, or an equivalen