Are You Ready to Hire a Grant Writer?
First, your 501c3 nonprofit organization needs to be ready for grants. (I covered how to be grant ready in Is Your Nonprofit Ready for Grant Money? Part 1 and Part 2). If you decide a grant writer is for you, here are some things to think about before you hire one:
- What should you look for in a grant writer?
- What Compensation do I need to plan for?
- What do I ask a Grant Writer when I interview them?
If you still can’t answer these questions, you are in the right place. I’m diving into What You Need to Know Before You Hire a Grant Writer.
How Do I Know I’m Hiring a Good Grant Writer?
This is probably the biggest fear of any organization. If you are a small nonprofit with very limited resources, you don’t want to feel you wasted your scarce resources on grants that never come in. Hiring a good grant writer will not guarantee a grant but it does increase your odds. Because every nonprofit or charity requires a grant writer with different experience and traits, an ideal applicant will vary from one nonprofit to the next. To hire a grant writer best suited to work with you and your team, be specific about what experience, tone, the area of expertise, pay rate, etc. you want. Here are some general characteristics to consider:
- Experience writing grants
- Can provide you with examples and references
- Communicates clearly
- Responds within a reasonable amount of time
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Compensation is something you will want to know about. A professional grant writer sees commission based or compensation contingent on the grant award to be unethical. There are two reasons for this:
- Most grants do not allow for funding for general operating expenses (of which grant writing would be one) and using funds for that purpose is unethical and erodes trust between the funder and your organization.
- GAAP accounting standards dictate that payment for fundraising services should be made at the time services are provided; in some cases, proposals must be submitted a year or more in advance of the award.
How are Grant Writers compensated? They are compensated one of three ways: 1) Hourly, 2) A flat fee (normally per grant submitted), or 3) By retainer based on a predetermined amount of time. Rates will vary depending on experience and location. Nationally an experienced grant writer will charge a median of approximately $25/ hr. Grant Writers with a year or less typically charge a median of approximately $20/hr. I have seen highly experienced Grant Writers who charge up to $150/hr! For salary information in your area, go to https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Grant_Writer/Salary.
Interview your candidates and select the best one you can afford. For more information, download the free Cheat Sheet– How to Prep for the Interview. It also has a list of interview questions you can use.
Download the Cheat Sheet- How to Prep for the Interview