A grant consultant is a technical writer who is an expert in writing proposals or requests for money, services, or in-kind items from corporations, nonprofit entities, and government bodies. The grant writer is a technical writer because the field of grant writing is replete with specialized jargon and often requires the use of particular writing styles.
A grant writing consultant is an expert in the areas of grant seeking (finding funding opportunities) and grant writing (writing what the funding source wants to see and writing it better than anyone else trying to tap into the same pot of money).
Besides financial support, a grant consultant may also obtain in-kind goods or services support for clients. A professional grant writer is one who has obtained expert training in the field of writing grant proposals and often belongs to professional organizations such as The American Association of Grant Professionals or the American Grant Writer’s Association.
Research and Writing
The job of the grant consultant is varied and, by definition, a grant consultant wears many hats. First and foremost, however, a grant consultant is a grant researcher and technical writer. The research is a large component of the job. If the proper research has led the applicant organization to the proper funder, the grant proposal should follow rather naturally.
So what type of research is involved in grant writing? First, the grant consultant must match a funder’s desires to the needs of their client, the applicant. The applicant’s organization’s mission and goals should match those of the funder’s organization. Writing a grant proposal is a huge undertaking and a great responsibility. The grant consultant takes on the role of “explainer” as he or she attempts to introduce the applicant organization to the funder while requesting resources.
It is important to remember that a grant proposal, like any form of writing, tells a story and, as such, should always draw the interest of the reader. Therefore, the grant consultant also shares the task of writing appealing prose.
Another task involved in grant consulting is managing grants. Once a grant is distributed to a needy organization, that organization takes on the responsibility of allocating those funds or other resources in a manner consistent with the original grant proposal.
As simple as this may seem, it can often be a daunting task since there are reporting requirements with which the grantee must conform. Grantors often require that myriad forms and reports be completed to convey this information. This is another assignment which a grant consultant often completes.
Finally, grant consultants frequently teach in seminars or workshops. These instructional sessions are offered to potential grantee organizations and their representatives. This can involve teaching others to research potential grantors, write grant proposals, or manage grant funds or resources once acquired. Once again, good written and verbal communication skills are the order of the day. One must really be learned in their own profession in order to teach it to others.
The professional grant consultant must be well prepared for the many roles he or she will fulfill in their position. The activities a grant consultant engages in can be paid by the hour or, more typically, by the assignment. Fees vary widely but can be expected to range upwards of $50 per hour. Most grant consultants are employed in the nonprofit sector, since the majority of grant writing takes place there.