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Does anyone know about grant writers?

Does anyone know about grant writers?

Old 12-03-2016, 06:32 AM
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Default Does anyone know about grant writers?

I am going to need to hire a grant writer. First thing I need to know, is do they specialize? Are there Grant Writers for different categories, or is one grant subject the same as the next to them?
Second question..best way to go about finding one? Pitfalls? Things to ask and things to look out for? Thanks, Donna
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:43 AM
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I don't know for sure but suspect there are areas of expertise for various grant writers. Have you googled at all? If I'm not mistaken, many municipalities use grant writers particularly for capital improvement projects. Perhaps check with someone in your local municipal office? Even local police and fire companies will use grant writers so they might be a source for info/recommendations as well. Good luck.
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Old 12-03-2016, 04:56 PM
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yes, I did google...seems like there are a ton for hire, but I have no idea if any of them know what they're doing. Going local is a good idea..I will check in town Monday and see if they can give me any names. Thank you.
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Old 12-03-2016, 05:18 PM
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Most Universities have people on staff that write for grants. It is possible they could refer you to someone that specializes in what you need. My DH had a step-sister that was a grant writer for Universities. She has not been in contact with us after my FIL passed away in 1999. We were contacted a couple years after that by someone trying to locate her mother and she would not return our phone calls until we told her it was about money for her mother and we did not have any idea where her mother was (we just knew she was in a nursing home for Alzheimers somewhere) and did not want to give out information about her or her brothers without her permission.
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Old 12-04-2016, 03:22 AM
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Yes, they do specialize. At least most do. The organization you are writing the grant to may be able to refer you to someone in that field who writes them. Or some organization that has already received a similar grant may be able to refer you. Or there may indeed be someone local who can work with you. I have read/approved grants, written them myself, and taught grant writing to librarians. It is a fairly straightforward process and there are online resources to help. The Foundation Center in NY has good, reliable, clear online training and help. The larger the grant the more likely it is that you'll need to hire someone.
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Old 12-04-2016, 04:11 AM
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Large charities usually have a grant writer on staff as they constantly write grants to submit to large foundations in fund raising efforts. Perhaps you can contact some of your large local non profit organizations and talk to one about your needs. It would be great if one of them could moonlight on the side to write grants for others, or in exchange for a donation to the charity they work for.
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Old 12-04-2016, 05:27 AM
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In another life, long ago, I did grant writing. As suggested, ask around universities and other nonprofits to see if they have recommendations. When talking with someone, ask about their experience, grants they have successfuy written for, and some references. If you are applying for a government grant from state or federal resources, you want someone experienced with that, vs. private foundations. Get a very clear contract of payment...set fee for the entire proposal, or by the hour. If hourly, agree to a cap on the hours needed. You should not expect to pay someone only if you win the grant...not professional...and many grants will not allow you to pay from the proceeds. Also, if you are on a very tight deadline and expect the grant writer to drop everything to focus on your project, you may have to pay a bit more for that privelege. If you are expecting the grant writer to do the research to find grants your organization might be eliglble to apply for, that's a whole other task that takes much more time that you'll have to pay for.

Someone from your organization will need to be assigned to work closely with the grant writer. You can't just hand a writer the proposal guidelines and expect them to do it all, especially if your organization does not have a track record with grants. There is a lot of basic boilerplate information about your organization, mission, etc., that must be gathered, as well the details of the specific project you are working on, the measurable outcome goals you expect to reach, other organizations you are collaborating with, budget details...etc., etc. Your organization will need to help get all of that information solidly in place. The grant writer can put it into the correct language and in the correct format within the proposal, but your application will only be strong if the project your organization wants to fund is strong and your organization is credible and and poised to achieve good outcomes if you get the funding. That comes from you, not the grant writer.

Remember that sometimes, however good the grant proposal is, there are other things that can affect a funder's decision. Everyone does not get funded, and it is not always the fault of the grant writer or the strength of the agency's proposal. I sat on a grant review panel for a state health agency once, and spreading the funding around geographically was important, so even though we had several strong proposals from one part of the state, we had to ensure that some funding went to applicants in other parts of the state, even though the proposals and projects were not as compelling.

Good luck! I have always compared grant writing to digging in and doing a major term paper...intensive and time consuming, lots of research, analyzing data, developing your thesis statement and supporting arguements, etc., then pulling it together cohesively in the required format.
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Old 12-04-2016, 05:40 AM
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Teacup - you nailed it. I used to manage several federal formula grant programs and had to write those every year but that part became easier as it was just updating. We had to design a process for the subgrantees which included guiding them on all the items you mentioned above. And sometimes the approval amounts have a political component. Also will reiterate - follow the rules of the application process of the organizations you are applying to to a "T". Good luck
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Old 12-04-2016, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by donna13350 View Post
yes, I did google...seems like there are a ton for hire, but I have no idea if any of them know what they're doing. Going local is a good idea..I will check in town Monday and see if they can give me any names. Thank you.
Also, contact your local "Head Start" office to ask who they use. That person would be familiar with writing grants that are approved. Just my thought. When my DD was in "Head Start", I helped the grant writer prepare a grant request, so I know they do use them.
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Old 12-05-2016, 06:40 AM
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You have received some great advice here! I wrote and received several LSTA grants when I was a school librarian and also wrote some grants for the school's special needs programs. My best advice is to be prepared to explain your vision clearly to the grant writer. Many teachers came to me to write a grant for "money for their classrooms". Just to get money is not a reason to write a grant. The reason has to be that you see a very distinct need and cannot fulfill that need without grant money for equipment, etc. I know that sounds like the same thing, but it isn't. You need to be able to get the grant writer to see your need and your vision for the solution in a way that will cause him/her to be excited about your vision also. Then he/she will be able to translate your need and vision into a solid grant proposal. The people who award the grants can tell if there is a legitimate need or if someone just "wants some extra money". Does that make any sense?
If a person couldn't explain their need/vision adequately, I didn't write the grant for them because I knew I couldn't write a solid enough proposal.
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