5 Sanity-Saving Reasons For Hiring A Grant Writer
It’s an unfortunate truth that businesses either don’t bother applying for grants when they could or should, or they abandon grants they’ve started because they don’t have enough resources or realise far too late that they don’t meet the eligibility criteria.
It’s disappointing when you know your business can really benefit from winning grant funding, but you just don’t have the time to accommodate all the ins and outs of drafting a grant proposal.
If this scenario sounds familiar, I’m giving you five good reasons to hire a grant writer to help you get the funding boost you need.
YOU LACK TIME
Probably one of the most significant issues you’re facing is time. All your regular work still needs tending to, so when is it possible to free up enough time to submit a worthy grant proposal?
With my own background in clinical laboratories, I understand how busy things can get. How sometimes the decision to apply for a grant rests on a knife’s edge, and sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re truly ready or not.
After all, there are plenty of things that need to happen before the grant opportunity opens. A lack of time is often equal to a lack of preparedness. If you’re not sure what I mean by that, you can read my blog about preparing for grants by using a grant-seeking strategy here.
A grant writer can ease the burden that lack of time creates for you. They are familiar with the grant writing landscape and are used to managing grant projects and deadlines. Hiring a grant writer means you can do your regular job with minimal interruption to workflow. The grant writer can do the grunt work in managing the project while keeping you informed, and, most importantly, making sure the submission is ready before the deadline.
YOU DON'T WANT
This usually relates back to point 1. A lack of time to devote to getting a decent grant application written is one sure-fire way to have procrastination set in. Whether you feel it’s a pointless exercise because grants are so competitive, or you know exactly what’s involved and you’re actively avoiding it – here are some quick questions to ask yourself to get to the truth of the matter:
– Do you really need it, or is it business as usual anyway? It’s easier to put off doing something like this if you don’t believe it will make a huge difference anyway.
– Do you find the entire process overwhelming and stressful? You’ve got enough on your plate, and you know most of the chasing will fall to you.
– Are your project’s scope or outcomes clear or do they need work? Laying the groundwork before the grant opens up just draws out the process further.
So, if you really do need it, why are you avoiding it?
Here’s the second reason hiring a grant writer is a great idea.
Since this is what a grant writer does for a living, this scenario is one that they are comfortable with. A grant writer can tell you if they think you have a good chance of being a match for a funder and they’ll help you craft a strong application with clear strategy and goals. They’re ready to jump in with both feet and try to win you that sought-after grant money!
So don’t shy away from an opportunity that could launch the next big thing. Take action. Hire a grant writer and reap the rewards and benefits it can bring.
YOU AREN'T CONFIDENT WITH THE GRANT PROCESS
If you’re new to grant writing or haven’t had any grants that you were successful for, your armour can take a bit of a beating. It is disheartening for sure, but the more you do it, the better you’ll be at submitting grant proposals that grab the funder’s attention.
If you had submissions that failed to attract funding, did you:
• Evaluate the application answers?
• Did you seek advice or feedback from the funder?
• If so, did you understand the feedback and what was required?
This is reason number three for hiring a grant writer. Even if the submission fails to win funding, your grant writer can help you sift through the reasons it failed, make sense of them, and give advice or guidance for future submissions.
On that note, sometimes there is no ‘failure’ – the submission was fantastic, but the grant was awarded to a stronger applicant on that occasion. Keep in mind that the selection process is highly subjective, and no one can predict the outcome.
The lesson here is to be very selective with which grants you’ll apply for, so you’re not needlessly throwing away time and money applying for anything and everything, with little to show for it.
One more thing about grant success rates in general:
National competitive grants program (NCGP) success rates data has an interactive graphic showing the likelihood of success is often under 25% across all categories. Those are tough odds to begin with!
So don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help which will both lighten the load and provide another source of information and knowledge.
COST - DOLLARS
Ah, cost… the cringe at the thought of how much that might be. Whether your organisation is one that applies for many grants or only a few here and there, outsourcing to a grant writer can be a cost-effective way of keeping on top of the grants process in terms of both dollars and ‘sense’.
How so? Well – reason number four of why hiring a grant writer is a good idea.
In terms of dollars, a freelance grant writer is contracted on a single project basis and therefore has no employee on-costs associated with it. You’re only billed for the time taken for the grant writer to work on that single project.
This can be especially helpful if you intend to apply for multiple grants with similar deadlines. You might choose to work on one project yourself while outsourcing the other, therefore opening yourself up to more opportunities.
And the ‘sense’? Well, having a helping hand during a stressful, deadline-driven event can ease the burden of burnout instead of trying to cover all the bases on your own.
Applying for many grants can make the process easier, faster and more cost-effective, (Especially when you start winning those grants!) because once you’ve got all the information together about your business for one proposal, it can be used across all future proposals, with only the project details changing to suit.
So, educate yourself. Prepare as best you can. Get help. And take a chance!
COLLABORATION MEANS LESS STRESS
Let’s face it. Whether the collaboration is internal or external to the organisation, you’ll need help from others to get a grant application finished. Depending on which information is required by the grantor, you’ll need to involve people from, say, finance, marketing, possible external stakeholders, and volunteers.
The collaborative process is reason number five for hiring a grant writer.
For peace of mind, you know can rely on the grant writer either to know, or to find out any information that might be required for each particular grant. Having another experienced set of eyes to look over grant guidelines, for example, can be an enormous help.
If you’re worried about losing control of the project, a good grant writer will be in regular contact and give regular feedback on how the proposal is progressing. They never fully take over the project; it’s still ‘your baby’. The grant writer will collaborate, coordinate, and contribute to the information needed for the application, but the final drafts, and indeed hitting the all-important submission button, rests with you.
Remember, a grant writer is hired to help you achieve the best possible outcome. It’s in the best interests of both parties to be open to collaboration and stick to any previously agreed timelines, so there’s no rush for information near the deadline.
Over To You
While it’s true that no grant writer can guarantee a win for any grant submission, they can bring all their knowledge and expertise to the table, save you time, save some headspace, and give you the best chance of success. A good grant writer will build rapport with you, work beside you, guide you and will generally be a blessing to have around!
Have you worked with grant writers before? Did you find it helpful? You can add your comments below.