By Katie Krueger (Guest blogger)
Most people learn grant writing accidentally; their employer needs funding and there is no one else to tackle the grant applications. This learning involves a lot of trial and error – mostly error in the beginning. Get a head start and teach yourself grant writing. By taking the steps below, I went from knowing nothing about grant writing to becoming a full-time grant writer.
Improve Your Writing Skills
Grant writing will be easier if you already enjoy writing, but that doesn’t guarantee you will good at this form of writing. You must be able to write persuasively and in a detailed, yet concise, manner. If you are not confident in your writing skills, take a writing course at your local community college or online.
Research the Craft of Grant Writing
Read as many “How To” grant writing books as your brain can hold. The two books that I found to be the most helpful are Grant Writing for Dummies by Bev Browning and Writing for a Good Cause by Joseph Barbato and Danielle Furlich.
You can find all the books, grant listings and information you need at your nearest Grant Information Center, which is a free funding information center provided by the Foundation Center. Find the closest Cooperative Collection in your State at visit the Foundation Center’s website.
If, after reading several books, they all start to sound the same - this is good! It means the grant writing process is getting etched in your mind.
Get ahold of some grants from friends, colleagues or a quick Google search. There are successful sample proposals available online at School Grants.
Read these and take notes on the similarities: what kind of writing is effective in presenting a clear project? What makes the Objectives section work? What elements of an Evaluation section have you believing in the project’s success, which cause doubt? Which budgets would you give your money to?
Have you noticed a feeling that you are reading the same thing repeatedly? That is because most grant applications ask the same fundamental questions, just in a different order or with a focus specific to their group’s mission. Become familiar with this application and understand the best way to address each section. Check out a common application forms available here.
Volunteer To Write Grants
There is no shortage of under funded non-profits strapped for cash and time that would love you to write and research grants for them, despite your utter lack of experience. Ask everyone in your social, professional, and family networks if they know of an organization fitting that description.
Bring to this position the knowledge you have amassed from your reading and a strong desire to learn and help. If you start to feel like an indentured servant, remind yourself that the experience you are gaining is the reward. Meanwhile, do your best work and keep track of what grants you research, identify, and write. These are all the first seeds to plant in your grant-writing portfolio.
Find a Good Editor
Find a strong writer (preferably someone with experience writing grants) to look over your work and offer honest feedback. The Executive Director, Director of Programs or even a friend will do. You do not have to always follow their advice, but begin to look for patterns. Do your objectives always score high marks while your evaluation plans confuse people? Focus on improving the areas that constantly come up as needing improvement.
Apply for Grant Writing Jobs
When you have succeeded in researching and writing grants that have been funded - you have arrived! Now go out and apply for full-time grant writing jobs. List your volunteer experience under relevant work experience and highlight not only the grants you wrote, but also the research and planning that you did.
Be sure to quantify your success – this is a skill needed in writing grants. Plus, if you can quantify your own success, any employer will be confident that you can quantify theirs.
You are well on your way to becoming a full-time grant writer, leaving only one thing left to do. Start at your printer and time exactly how long it takes you to get to Fed Ex. This information will be very handy in future deadline planning!
You can find grant writer job listings on www.FindFunding.net
Katie Krueger is the editor of Find Funding, a FREE Grant Writing Newsletter. Subscribe online at www.FindFunding.net. Article Source.