Including funds from private or government based grant foundations is a sign of clear distinction for a nonprofit. It signifies that grant foundations trust your organization to do the work it wants to do. This in turn helps nonprofits attract lucrative funding in the future.
However, writing and getting a grant proposal approved is not an easy task. Writing and getting your grant approved is a painstaking process. It is time-consuming and research-intensive.
It may be the case that your nonprofit organization is lucky enough to have an individual who is well versed in writing grant proposals, but that may not be the case for a lot of nonprofits. In fact, only the most well established of nonprofits have the luxury of having an experienced grant writer in their midst. For many organizations, it might be sensible to hire a freelance grant writer instead.
Why should you hire a freelance grant proposal writer?
While there may be a myriad of reasons, the simplest one is that you simply might not have the experience or the expertise to create grant proposals that will get approved. There is also the matter of your organization simply not being able to dispense the time required to write grants. Hiring a freelance grant proposal writer makes sense as a result of these points, however, you should be cautious. Whether you or an expert draft the grant proposal, the chances of your proposal getting accepted remain quite slim. In the sections below, we shall dissect some of the pros and cons, the kind of people you can hire, and how you can make the job easier.
The pros and cons of hiring a freelance writer
- They will meticulously write it: Unlike a job done by a group of people, a single freelance writer will simply sit down, conduct his research and get to writing. They will not waste time in meetings and will instead solely focus on drafting the perfect proposal.
- The job will be done on time: Being on time is a critical factor for nonprofits when it comes to applying for grants and a freelance writer or a consultant would not be in the profession if they were not punctual.
- You get autonomous control: The easiest part of hiring a freelance writer is that you are not obligated to accept their work or wait out for a time period for the results to reflect. If you do not like the results, you can let them go.
- The experience is beneficial for your nonprofit: You hire freelance writers and consultants to get their opinion and expertise on a subject matter. This is crucial when drafting grant proposals as their prior experience can be a boon.
- The lack of institutional memory can be hurtful: Often the reason nonprofits look for a freelance grant writer is because they have had a staff overhaul or they are going through some downsizing. This means that they simply may not have relevant information for the writer. This information could be the history of previous grant proposals or the relevant research for the current proposal being drafted.
- The writer might not be the right fit: When hiring writers you might not get a professional that fits well with your company or one who listens to you. This happens more often than not, and it is advisable to conduct a trial run before you hire.
- Costly affair: Freelance writers are quite costly and they charge by the hour. This could lead to a fee that might be more than what you would pay as the salary for a conventional staff writer.
The types of people you can hire for the job
Now that we have looked through the pros and the cons, let us look at the types of professionals that will be available to you.
Writers for hire
These writers are generally very good at writing, however, they may lack the necessary experience in drafting grants. While you will benefit greatly from their skills, you will need to work closely to ensure that no details are missing.
Subject matter experts
While these people have the expertise required in gathering the data and reviewing it prior to drafting a proposal, they may not be able to create the best version of the proposal. It is advisable to be as involved as possible when hiring a subject matter expert.
People with prior work experience
This category will consist of people who have worked as staff members or program officers for big nonprofits. While these individuals come with a considerable knowledge of drafting proposals and the workings of a nonprofit or a grant foundation, it is best to employ them for reviewing the material rather than to draft it.
How can you make it easy for the writer
The aforementioned sections might have made it clear that it may be highly beneficial to employ a freelance writer. You should try and make their task easier. You can do this by having an understanding of the proposal’s requirements, assembling research material, and by keeping a framework for the proposal ready. You can also grant them access to your online workspace for a more streamlined flow of work.
If your organization can afford it, this is a no brainer. You will certainly benefit from the good writing experience. However, this will be beneficial if the grant proposal requires a degree of specificity that you cannot handle. If you need a writer for a more general grant, perhaps employing a writer might be a better idea.