To Hire or Not to Hire a Professional Grant Writer?
Jim Collins, renowned business author, lecturer and researcher once said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” This could not be truer when it comes to how a Grant Writer plays such an important role in the development and sustainability of nonprofits. Whether the organization is a public entity or a community-based 501c3 organization, grants play a major part in pursuing and achieving the mission of your organization.
But to many, grants are almost considered a dirty word. They take time (most often, a lot of time) and they can be hard to understand. Sometimes, due to the specificity of the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA/RFP), it seems the funders have already decided who they want to fund before the competition is even conducted. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Professional Grant Writers are well-versed in grant language and the history of programming. They are familiar with the nuisances of the submission and they are experienced in developing sound programs and budgets that will help your organization succeed. Here are additional reasons why hiring a professional Grant Writer is a positive move for your organization.
Focus on Your Daily Activities– Hiring a professional Grant Writer allows you to focus on your daily activities, so you can keep your organization running as usual. Nothing will get pushed to the side. Other than reviewing drafts, providing some attachments, and contributing to the budget, the burden of putting together an application package and its contents are the responsibility of the Grant Writer. Keep doing what you do best daily to pursue your organization’s mission. If you already write grants for your organization and have been successful, then hiring a grant writer will allow you to focus on your strengths. If there are grants you are good at writing, write those and then hire a Grant Writer to write the grants you may not have pursued otherwise. Grant writing requires a lot of attention to detail. An applicant must make sure that all forms, Memoranda of Understanding, Letters of Support, etc. are all executed, signed and collected for submission within the grant. This task is on top of developing and dictating all the required narrative elements. When you hire a Grant Writer, you don’t have to focus as much on the nuances of technicalities and you can focus on the things that matter, including: How is this going to help your community? Are you targeting everyone the program can sustain? Can you execute these tasks effectively? This allows you to provide the Grant Writer with the important information that is going to make your proposal the most competitive and you don’t have to worry about the small technical details.
Out of the Box- If you have some experience writing grants, or your organization has been getting the same grant every year for many years, it may be time for you to think outside-of-the-box and go for grants that are larger, or maybe from a different funder. Hiring a Grant Writer with experience in other areas will allow your organization to grow into new initiatives that will benefit your community. It’s common that multiple funding opportunities are released at the same time, making it impossible for a person to write and submit them all. Hiring a Grant Writer addresses this problem by not just having one, but multiple writers working on multiple projects at the same time. You don’t ever have to worry about any one person being stretched too thin because they are only working on the projects to which they have been assigned. Every person has different levels of comfort when it comes to working on multiple projects. Depending on a person’s responsibilities, they may only be able to pursue one at a time, while another may be able to go for two or more at a time. A professional Grant Writer knows their limits and will only commit to the number of grants they can complete at a competitive level. You don’t ever want to pass up a suitable grant opportunity, because there is no guarantee it will exist in the next funding year.
Reviewer Notes– Another benefit to hiring a grant writer is that they have reviewer notes from the previous year’s submission that will help you develop a more competitive program. The Grant Writer will be able to tell you about previous experiences they have had with the specific funder, and they will be able to give you feedback related to what the funder is looking for. Pursuing grants is a marathon, not a sprint. Most often it takes more than one attempt to get awarded. Feedback received from a grant denial is extremely valuable and imperative to your success of getting a grant awarded next time. There is often information provided in reviewer notes that is not included in the request for proposal – information that a person wouldn’t be privy to unless they had been denied the grant. Grant Writing consultants have already gone through this process and are one step ahead of the competition. They have done the learning for you!