How to get more freelance grant writing jobs

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July 15, 2021
5 minute read

Do you want to write words that have purpose? If you’re looking for a way to help others with your writing, consider becoming a freelance grant writer.

With so many organizations relying on grant funding, this field is growing. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a grant writer, here’s a quick overview, plus plenty of tips to help you get more freelance grant writing jobs.

What is grant writing?

A grant is a financial award given to an organization to help them with a special project. The money usually comes from the government, and is typically awarded to nonprofit organizations, schools, or universities.

Grant writing is the process of preparing applications on behalf of the organization requesting the funds. Grant writers need to follow the directions carefully. Otherwise, their grant proposal might be thrown out of the running for the award.

This career path is a great option for anyone who wants the freedom to work from home as a freelance writer, with the added bonus of knowing that your work is positively impacting your community.

How much can you earn as a freelance grant writer?

Freelance grant writing can be a profitable career. The amount of money you can earn varies based on how much experience you have and your track record for writing successful grant proposals.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, some grant writers charge hourly at a rate of between $20-$100 per hour. Others charge a set fee per project as high as thousands of dollars for each grant.

As a beginner, you can expect to earn in the lower range. But once you have some experience, you can quickly increase your rates.

Best ways to get better at grant writing

Grant writing is slightly more complex than other writing styles. You need to be a skilled writer, of course, but you’ll also need to be excellent at research, organization, and following application instructions to the letter.

Here are some tips to help you quickly learn grant writing so you can break into this field.

  • Take a course: Udemy is a popular and affordable place to take online classes on your own schedule, and they offer a variety of grant writing courses. You can also check out NonprofitReady and Skillshare.
  • Write pro bono to build your portfolio: It’s hard to break into grant writing with nothing on your resume, so consider writing your first grant free of charge for a small local organization. The long-term benefits of getting some experience are worth the effort.
  • Take an internship position: If your schedule is flexible enough for an internship, this is a great way to build your resume and learn the skills needed to be a great grant writer. The American Grant Writers Association sometimes hires interns. You also can check job boards to see listings from other companies.
  • Collaborate with other freelance grant writers: Shadowing and assisting another writer as they tackle a grant is a great way to learn the ropes.

Best sites to find work as a grant writer

If you’re looking for freelance grant writing jobs, you’ll want to check out online job boards. Here are seven job boards for you to explore. Some are general freelance writing job sites, while others are specifically designed for fundraisers such as grant writers.

Make sure you use the best search terms to find jobs that are a good fit. For instance, if you want to work from home, your search should include the word “remote.” You can also narrow down your search by types of grants.

How to send a cold pitch for a grant writing job

A cold pitch is an unsolicited message you send to a company to offer your services as a grant writer.

An effective cold pitch should contain:

  • An introduction: Keep it brief and professional.
  • A quick summary of what you offer: Explain that you write grants, and give a short overview of your experience.
  • Why you’re the best. Why should they hire you over all the other grant writers out there?
  • How it would benefit the company: This is the most important part of a cold pitch. The company won’t care how great of a writer you are unless you paint a clear picture of what they stand to gain by working with you.
  • A mention of some open grants that they might be eligible for: This will take some legwork on your behalf, but it can help you rise to the top of any other cold pitches they receive. It shows that you understand their goals and know how to help them achieve them through grants.

The best organizations to send cold pitches are small, local organizations whose work you can get behind. Larger nonprofits are less likely to respond to cold pitches, since they’re more likely to have grant writers on staff.

How to brand yourself as a grant writer

To help land more grant writing jobs, brand yourself as a grant writer. You want to make it obvious that grant writing is your specialty. Here are three quick tips to help you do that:

  1. Update your bios: Your social media profiles, writer’s bio, and email signature should all share that you’re a grant writer.
  2. Create a niched-down writer’s website: When people visit your website, make it obvious that you’re a grant writer. For best results, make it SEO-optimized.
  3. Share results: People want to know that you’re good at what you do. Ask previous clients for testimonials you can put on your site, and if possible, include stats about how much money you’ve helped get awarded for organizations.

Final Thoughts

Breaking into freelance grant writing isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. If you learn the ropes and market your services effectively, the sky's the limit for your grant writing career.