The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Rural on January 16, 2015, 05:17:00 PM

Title: Any grant writers? What's your rate?
Post by: Rural on January 16, 2015, 05:17:00 PM
So, I've been writing grants as a volunteer for nonprofits and for my job for years, with a good deal of success. Today I was asked to consider doing it freelance for a client for pay, and I don't have any ideas on going rates. Anyone out there have any perspective, either from the point of view of a grantwriter or someone who has hired them?


I have not quite ten years' experience, a good though not perfect track record, and a relevant PhD. I've gotten a number of national foundation grants funded, but I've lost out on a couple, too, and the ones funded are small for national grants (five figures). The field I'd be writing in is similar to the one I'm most familiar with, but not an exact match. For government grants, I've written a couple of state-level and one federal grant, but no funding. I do know how the system works, though; I've served as a reviewer for state-level government grants.

This client doesn't seem to know much at all about seeking grant funding and doesn't yet have a reputation with funders as a grant recipient, but they are a major figure in the industry in question. There won't be any concern that they can carry out projects, but there aren't any pre-established relationships with funders, either.

So, what's a reasonable rate? Any thoughts on how to convince them it's reasonable? I'm not fully clear on what they want and have agreed to send a list of three or four potential funding sources so we can hopefully have something concrete to talk about. I'm doing this for free in part because I have a relationship with a foundation that has an interest in this client and asked me to consider working on this, that and it really won't take a lot of time.
Title: Re: Any grant writers? What's your rate?
Post by: llorona on January 16, 2015, 08:55:40 PM
It depends on your location, experience, and the nature of the project.

In the SF Bay Area, I've seen independent grant writing consultants charge anywhere from $50/hour to $150/hour. An established consulting firm may charge up to $200/hour. There are also other billing arrangements, like working on a retainer or flat fee-per-project basis. You should only enter into these arrangements when it works out in your favor.

No grant writer has a 100% track record of success. If someone tells you that, they're either inexperienced or flat out lying.

Once you decide on your rate, it's not your job to convince the client that it's reasonable. Either they pay it, or they find someone else. You really don't want to work with client who will nickel and dime you.

Before you commit, you should figure out why the client doesn't have any grant funding or knowledge of the process. If they've been around for any length of time, it's a potential red flag. They may need assistance preparing to become grants-ready and learning to develop funder relationships before any applications are submitted, and that's a whole other process.

Finally, in the future you should not agree to identify prospective funders for free. Prospect research is a paid service. In fact, I would recommend that you refrain from doing any free work before the contract is signed, with the exception of the initial consultation.

Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Any grant writers? What's your rate?
Post by: Rural on January 17, 2015, 07:08:23 PM
Thanks, Llorona. I have other established relationships with (another branch of) the client to maintain and someone there put us in touch, actually, so that's why the free research. I'm putting in about half an hour, and I'm okay with it as pure relationship maintenance with the other branch even if[size=78%] nothing else happens.[/size]

I'm well aware anyone with a 100% track record is a liar at best. :-)

I appreciate the figures; the wide range jibes with what I'm seeing. I think I will have some teaching to do about reasonable rates, though, because there's not much context here. I'll go in, if I decide to propose working with them on this, with some references about typical rates that I can pull out if need be.

There's definitely a need for some assistance in developing relationships with funders, but fortunately I think the branch I have the pre-established relationship with can handle that, so it won't fall to me. I don't have the time to work with them that extensively, not and research and write, too.
Title: Re: Any grant writers? What's your rate?
Post by: llorona on January 17, 2015, 07:46:46 PM
Are there other freelance grant writers in your area? You may want to check out their websites to see if they post their rates, although may won't.

I hope this gig works out for you and ends up being fun!!
Title: Re: Any grant writers? What's your rate?
Post by: swick on January 17, 2015, 08:52:25 PM
Hey Rural,

I usually will offer a quote on the project after an initial consult and feeling out the client, sometimes an hourly rate-sometimes per application depending on how long it will take - whatever works out best in my favour but makes the client feel good.

As part of the initial consult, I ALWAYS make sure they have their shit together financially - and have the basics in place: mission statements, strategic plans, historical and user data etc. Most times  I have  had a problem or not received funding has been because they are missing some key information. If they don't have it, there is the opportunity for you to help them gather/create it. I look at it more as grant writing/consulting- allows you to charge more too.