Are you a writer who would like to add a new profit center to your business? Or maybe you’ve worked in the nonprofit sector and would like to start your own grant writing consultant business.
I don’t think any young girl or boy tells their teacher they want to be a grant writer when they grow up! Yet, there are many of us who stumbled upon this work that brings us great satisfaction and a good living.
I’ve served in a leadership position with the American Association of Grant Professionals for several years and have found, in my discussion with grant consultants, that we have similar stories to tell about how we found ourselves in this profession.
Here are some common themes among most grant writers:
We have a natural talent for writing and love to do it. We can follow directions carefully. We are curious about many topics. We enjoy doing research. We want to make a difference in the world.
For those of us who are full time consultants, here are some additional traits:
We are self directed and motivated. We are able to organize our work and juggle several projects. We have excellent interpersonal skills. We have a tolerance for the ups and downs of cash flow. We enjoy marketing our services (because we’ve learned methods that fit our personalities.)
I believe grant writing is a noble profession. Yes, there are a few scam artists out there (as in any profession)! But most of us have the talent and time that nonprofit staff often don’t have, to craft a strong proposal that is well written, meets all the funder’s criteria, and has a good chance of being awarded. Now there are no guarantees for funding, but utilizing the services of a professional increases your chances greatly.
If you are considering adding grant writing to your portfolio of services or are considering becoming self employed as a grant consultant, stay tuned for a special teleconference call I’ll be gifting to our community in January 2010…details to come soon!
I spoke at a conference in L.A. last week on the “Business of Grant Writing.” I had the wonderful opportunity to hear the President of The Weingart Foundation, Fred J. Ali, speak about how nonprofits can be sustainable in a time when grant funding and donations are reduced.
Be well led. Have a fully engaged board with agreement on your mission and vision.
Your leadership must communicate your mission and vision to get donors to contribute.
Look at what’s core to your mission and competence and get rid of the rest.
Determine a realistic and sustainable budget level…have a contingency plan.
Have timely, reliable, and accurate financial data.
Focus INITIALLY on a long-term, reliable source of funding rather than finding diversified funding sources.
Have unrestricted, general operating costs in place… the Weingart foundation gives these types of grants and Mr. Ali is working on impressing this need on other donors as well.
Suspend your egos and work with other organizations.
Maintain your essential infrastructure even though it means cutting programs.
DON’T cut the development department.
I’d love to read your comments on what your nonprofit is doing to be sustainable through the next few years!
Welcome to GrantRight.com a place to keep up-to-date on the world of grants and grantwriting.
My experience, and passion, is in writing federal grant proposals for hospitals, higher education and social service agencies. I am also following closely the social enterprise arena.
Enjoy the posts…would love to hear your comments!