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Here are frequently asked questions about grantwriting. Select any of the questions to read the complete answer.
Many local schools that offer grantwriting classes also offer classes on writing in general.
Here are some excellent books on style:
This website will forever cure you of using jargon (and give you a few chuckles, too):
Attached are two sample contracts for freelance grantwriting. These are not offered as legal advice and are not in any way guaranteed to be valid. They are samples that you and your client can use to clarify the agreement between you.
You should also consider whether you can be happy and successful in the freelance environment. Ask yourself:
If your answers to these questions convince you that freelancing is right for you, give it a try! Many grantwriters have made the leap to independent consulting and are thriving. There’s plenty of work for qualified, experienced grantwriters in the Puget Sound area and beyond.
How do I find clients?
Yes. Websites are the modern equivalent of a brochure. You can introduce yourself, describe your services, experience, policies and rates. Most consultants say they don’t usually find new clients through their websites, but when someone is interested the website provides invaluable information.
As a new staff grantwriter, the first step is to learn as much as you can about your new organization, its mission, and its environment. Sell yourself on the organization before you sell it to others. Review everything you can find: current and past program materials, newsletters, annual reports, previous grant proposals (funded and not funded), articles about the organization, and reports to funders.
Get to know the people who provide programs. Interview them to learn more about specific programs and how you can best support their work. Begin to establish a relationship that will expedite the flow of information you need for your grantwriting. Critical issues for the grantwriter include:
Talk to direct service staff and observe or take part in the actual service your organization provides (sit in on a class, volunteer at a food bank, attend a concert, etc.). You will be able to write much better proposals if you have had some interaction with the people you are serving.
After you have familiarized yourself with the organization from the inside, begin to look at it from the outside.
Call each funder to introduce yourself. Ask if the organization is current on all reports and if not, assure them you will send them what is missing. Then do it. If they have not come to visit the organization, invite them to do so and make the arrangements.
What factors influence the organization? These might be socio-economic, geographic, demographic, etc. Identify sources of data to help describe the needs the organization addresses.
Corporate foundations must file 990-PFs where they record their grants. But if a corporation makes its charitable contributions directly from the company itself, a listing of its grants may not be so easy to find.
Some corporations have reports about their corporate contributions or community relations activities on their websites. Some of the larger corporate giving programs are listed in grants databases. (Note that the Foundation Center's Corporate Giving Online is a subset of the same funders contained in the Foundation Directory Online.)
But the easiest way to find corporate donations is to go to NOZA. With a subscription, you can simply enter the name of the company, and you will get a list of its grants and contributions listed on the web in nonprofits' annual reports, press releases, and other publications. NOZA is available for free at the Redmond Public Library.
You can also try Googling the corporation, linking the company name with "gift," "grant," "donation," etc. Try Google News Archives for past donations.
Here are some sources for researching international grants: