What is grant writing?
Grant writing is the practice (or art, some might argue) of applying for funding provided by an institution. The institution can be a corporation, a government agency, or a foundation. It’s one of many fundraising strategies that non-profit organizations can employ to diversify revenue. A grant writing consultant (us!) will research grants for your organization and develop and submit grant applications on your behalf. Typically, a grant writing consultant does not maintain relationships with previous funders.
A successful grant application is one that is detailed, but concise. Although the quality of grant application is largely dependent on the writer, a well-defined project can make the difference between a good application and a great application.
What is grant writing not?
Grant writing does not involve:
Maintaining relationships with previous funders, although some grant writing consultants do offer that as an additional service
Asking individual donors for gifts or asking for corporate sponsorships, which require very different skill sets, strategies, and processes
Project or program creation -- an organization should already have a well-defined project with clear timelines, goals and objectives, monitoring and evaluation tools, pricing estimates/quotes (if applicable), and a budget.
Grant writing is also not the best strategy for emergency funding, unless you are a disaster aid organization or there are extenuating circumstances like Covid-19. Although the timeline can vary, it can take up to 12 months for approval and funding disbursement – particularly with governmental agencies.
There’s more to grant writing than just completing an application process. Grant writing doesn’t just end with submitting one grant. It’s a long-term process – one that can sometimes take years to be fruitful. If your grant application is rejected, maybe you try again the following year. Or maybe you follow up with the funder before re-applying to build a relationship. There is a fine line between being persistent and being pushy. Funders are people, too.