(Originally published December 2019. Updated October 2020.)
Fundraising for nonprofits is a unique combination of marketing skills and relationship building. In most cases, that requires face-to-face interaction with individuals who could support your organization with a donation or attend your event. But, grant writing can be different. While some relationships with grant-makers can be enhanced with a personal relationship, most can be managed successfully via phone, email, and snail mail.
Because of this difference, grant writing can be managed and implemented just as effectively by a full-time staff person sitting in your office as it can be by someone hundreds of miles away on a laptop with internet access. But why could it be one of the best decisions you ever made on behalf of your nonprofit? Let's take a look at 4 reasons...
1. Hiring a grant writing consultant will save you money.
A grant writer with moderate experience makes $71,611 a year according to Salary.com in October 2020. Increase that number by 50% if you intend to offer benefits. Add even more if you have to purchase a computer, phone, printer, office furniture, business cards... you catch my drift. To plan accordingly, your organization should budget about $100,000 a year for this new position. A grant writing consultant could save you tens of thousands of dollars a year in overhead expenses, benefits, and salary. Typically consultants charge by the hour or project. (Click here to learn about the unique way TurnKey Writing Solutions offers our grant writing services to clients.) Instead of committing to a salary, your organization has more control over the cost of a consultant and scale back or add more when necessary and financially convenient.
2. A grant writing consultant can help you be the nonprofit executive you were hired to be and not a part-time grant writer.
Grants are much like the lottery: You can't win if you don't play/submit. Private and corporate foundations awarded $96.786 billion in 2019 according to Giving USA's Annual Report on Philanthropy. If you don't have time to research and cultivate foundations, draft high quality grant proposals, and submit required reports in a timely manner, you're missing out on the opportunity to secure some of these funds. The awards are being made whether you submit a request or not. Funders are not standing by waiting for a gap in your schedule. A grant consultant can help you increase revenue without having to decide what other element of your fundraising strategy has to be cut in order to make time.
3. A grant consultant can add value to your fundraising strategy beyond grant awards.
No grant writer can guarantee successful requests. If they do, ask for references. There are lots of elements about grant writing that are out of the control of the grant writer and can influence whether or not your request is funded. That's reality. However, a grant writer with experience, particularly one with experience working at nonprofits, can provide value beyond the award. He or she can consult your organization and guide your grants approach to benefit your overall fundraising goals. A grant consultant can help steward your existing grant donors and the ones secured during his or her tenure with your organization. While it may be tempting to draft a quick proposal and submit requests on your own, do you have the time or bandwidth to provide post-grant reports to that funder at the end of the year? A grant consultant can include that element in his or her engagement with your organization, ensuring that your donors are properly stewarded, happy with the results of their investment, and will consider future support for years to come.
4. A grant writing consultant can get started submitting requests much faster than a full-time new hire.
Most experienced grant writing consultants are comfortable with and accustomed to getting themselves 'up to speed' with an organization quickly. Without all the red tape of being a new hire, a consultant can learn the details and facts necessary to draft grant proposals typically in the same amount of time it would take you to review resumes from your grant writer job posting. Hiring can take months of resume review, reference calling, interviews, salary negotiations, and onboarding. A consultant instantly adds expertise to your team.
Looking for help drafting grant proposals? At TurnKey Writing Solutions, our grant writing experts have
decades of experience crafting captivating content that inspires foundations and wins awards. Contact us to learn more about our grant writing subscriptions and how we can help your nonprofit raise more, spend less, and change the world.