Grant Writing — Picking the right Grant Writer?
This is a challenging task indeed. Many organisations are faced with the prospect of hiring a grant writer as part of their staffing complement or in engaging a professional grant writer on a contract basis. The first thing an organisation needs to consider is just that — on what basis do they want to engage the grant writer.
There are obviously fors and againsts both engagement strategies however I probably think it is far easier to get rid of a non performing grant writer who is on contract than an underperforming salaried employee. But that obviously is a consideration only the organisation can make. Many organisations believe that they have total control if the grant writer is a salaried employee however if you contract a grant writer and if you pick the right grant writer you can still retain full control of the process.
Certainly we are hired as contract grant writers to hundreds of organisations and businesses and our clients at all times retain full control of the process. We obviously give our clients our professional advice and hope our clients follow that advice, but at all times the client retains full control of what funding program we do and don’t apply for and what project will be offered.
There are many other considerations that need to be evaluated once the engagement strategy is decided upon. Whether it is a dedicated grant writing position or hiring a consultant you need to engage someone who will not only have the skills and abilities to be a successful grant writer for your organisation but also that the outcome proves to be great value for money and cost effective. Proven experience obviously is a major consideration but high quality grant writers with extensive experience don’t come cheap.
If you have the budget available obviously a proven commodity is the way to go. However don’t just accept the claims of grant writers on face value. Make sure you do your due diligence and validate that the claims they make are in fact correct and not over inflated. Make sure you contact some past clients and discuss the grant writer with them. Also don’t just accept the names of organisations or businesses offered up as referees but try and find some organisations or businesses that they have not offered as a referee.
Maybe there are names of organisations on their website or maybe you can google some additional past clients and check with them about the skills and quality of the grant writer. Certainly we extensively assess potential grant writers to come into our business but we wont necessarily hire the most experienced person.
As I have stated many many times grant writing is not rocket science and you don’t need a degree to write a grant. But you do need passion as well as great wordsmithing skills. In assessing potential grant writers to join our business as Consultants I normally give them a small test — a “real life” question from a grant application and ask them to respond. I obviously set the scene and give them the basics about the “organisation and project” but I am looking for a grant writer who can be creative and build a case and present a compelling argument. In the non profit world especially as grant writers you might be given scant information from the client to write your submission so creativity and research are essential skills that I assess.
In the end though the grant writer has to fit your organisation or business and no matter what employment engagement strategy you implement they have to be welcomed as part of your team and of course they have to deliver results!
Contact us at Red Tape Busters — should you require more information about this article or if you require specialist grant or tender writing experience to help your organisation or business win grant funding or achieve successes with tenders.
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