More and more nonprofit organizations are looking to grantwriters to be the salvation of a struggling bottom line. While there are many benefits to having someone working specifically on researching funders and writing proposals, there are realities and limitations to what a grantwriter can actually do. Additionally, the support and resources the individual receives from the organization are key.
First of all, a grantwriter should be compensated just like any other employee. There is a flawed idea that hiring a grantwriter won’t cost the organization anything as the person can be paid a percentage of the money that comes in from grants. Not only is this unprofessional and unethical, it just is not fair. The most brilliant grantwriter does not actually have control over which foundations and funders will decide to fund a program or organization. The work to research, write, compile, nag other workers for information, and all the other details that go into creating a good grant proposal will still be done regardless of whether the money comes in or not and the grantwriter should be compensated. An organization needs to have the funding to pay for another position in order to hire a qualified and experienced professional. Professional grantwriters should expect to be paid for ALL the work.
A grantwriter will do the following: research possible funders, make contact with and build relationships with foundations and grant funders, prepare proposals and get them in by deadlines, file any reports that need to be done after the money has been received. A solid, experienced grantwriter will be an organized person who is capable of keeping track of multiple details and deadlines. Grant proposals require an attention to details and a willingness to meet deadlines so hiring a scattered, disorganized person in hopes of turning them into a great grantwriter might not be the best idea.
In the long run, a successful grantwriter WILL improve the overall fiscal health of a nonprofit organization. Getting funding from a variety of sources boosts the organization’s coffers, but it also helps attract even more money. Many individuals and foundations look at who else is donating to the organization as part of their evaluation process around their own giving.