Author Topic: What is grant writing - and how profitable can it be?  (Read 2306 times)

pstu24

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What is grant writing - and how profitable can it be?
« on: May 27, 2016, 11:06:09 AM »
Long story short - I have a small freelance writing business on the side (as I am sure many of you do as well). I don't pretend to be an expert in anything, and while I am trying to specialize in a certain niche of a few topics ... I keep coming across grant writing opportunities.

Not that I want to tell anyone how to think, BUT it seems like a great opportunity. From what I gather, you need to be professional enough and crisp enough of a writer to get the grants a given organization is looking for.

That being said, I don't know much else about it - how to get into it - or even if it is as profitable as people say? Throw in the fact that you can actually (potentially) help organizations and causes that you care about to receive funding... and it seems like a very flexible deal as well ... I worry I am missing something.

Any advice / tips / warnings with this? I get the feeling it is a very specific but profitable venture and I just wanted to see what others think.

mozar

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Re: What is grant writing - and how profitable can it be?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 12:06:21 PM »
My mom has written some grant applications. It seems like it's in high demand because it's tough to find someone with that strong a command of English who is willing to do relatively low paid work. You could do one for free for a small non profit to get started.

Axecleaver

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Re: What is grant writing - and how profitable can it be?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2016, 12:39:32 PM »
Contract grant writing can be profitable because strong results can mean millions of dollars for the organization you're working to support. My Elks lodge has a guy write grants for us that brings in about 100-150k a year in support for our efforts, just in his spare time. He evaluates grants for the State of NY as his day job, so writing the grants for us is pretty easy for him.

Mrs Axe has a full time grants writer at her non-profit job. This person gets a full time salary, does next to no work, and has never (in three years) won a single grant. That is the level of talent you're competing with. The bar is low. It seems like marketing the service to a non profit that was dependent on results (pay me $250 to apply for a 250k grant, and $10k if we win) would represent a win-win to the client.


libertarian4321

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Re: What is grant writing - and how profitable can it be?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2016, 12:48:37 PM »
I did this a few times back when I was "early retired" a few years ago.

I got the jobs from friends, so I don't know anything about going out and finding this kind of work.

I was doing the work for non-profit "charity" type organizations looking for government grant money, and either did the work for free (well, sometimes I got a nice bottle of wine/liquor at the end, so maybe I was working for 25 cents an hour?) or for a (maybe $10/hour).

I'm sure others have found far more lucrative grant writing work.

And yeah, I know, it's a little weird that a libertarian guy was writing grants for organizations seeking government money.  I guess I basically sold out for a bottle of Jack Daniels.  :)

libertarian4321

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Re: What is grant writing - and how profitable can it be?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2016, 12:55:27 PM »
Contract grant writing can be profitable because strong results can mean millions of dollars for the organization you're working to support. My Elks lodge has a guy write grants for us that brings in about 100-150k a year in support for our efforts, just in his spare time. He evaluates grants for the State of NY as his day job, so writing the grants for us is pretty easy for him.

Mrs Axe has a full time grants writer at her non-profit job. This person gets a full time salary, does next to no work, and has never (in three years) won a single grant. That is the level of talent you're competing with. The bar is low. It seems like marketing the service to a non profit that was dependent on results (pay me $250 to apply for a 250k grant, and $10k if we win) would represent a win-win to the client.

The work I got originally was from a non-profit that had fired their "grants writer" because they didn't have the money to fund her position.

I wrote about ten of these things, and won on 3 of them.  Most of them were very small, in the $60-200k range.  I didn't think that was a particularly good return rate, but after reading your post, I think I can see why my friends were a bit upset when I went back to "a real job."

I had zero experience at this, I learned to do it through Google U.

The previous "professional" grants writer was awful.  Her writing was so bad I couldn't even "cut and paste" it without a massive re-write.

So you may have a point about the skill level of people who do this "professionally"- at least at small non-profits.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2016, 12:57:32 PM by libertarian4321 »

Axecleaver

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Re: What is grant writing - and how profitable can it be?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2016, 01:01:39 PM »
Quote
I didn't think that was a particularly good return rate,
If you're not losing 80% of the grants you apply for, you're not applying for enough grants :).

Same 80/20 rule can be applied to just about everything in life. If you're winning 80% of the jobs you bid, you're not bidding enough jobs. If you're not falling down 80% of the runs when you ski, you're not skiing hard enough. If 80% of the girls you ask out don't reject you, you're not hitting on enough women. I could do this all day.