Having been a independent and in-house grant writer, manager, and evaluator, I am often asked by prospective clients building their proposal development function: where do I start?
Each organization’s grant writing needs are unique to its capacity and resources.
To get started, enclosed are guiding questions an organization might wish to consider when hiring a grant writer.
As you assess your existing internal capacity to determine your needs, consider the following:
1. Technical expertise.
A grant writer may or may not have experience in your organization/project technical/issue area, but they have interest (and demonstrated experience) in working outside their expertise.
If you are seeking to outsource technical expertise, consulting a technical advisor to weight in on the program might be useful.
A firm might continue working with said advisors during the awarded project implementation period.
2. Budgeting and MEL expertise. These are two highly specialized areas.
Assess if you require such expertise in a grant writer or if you need to utilize multiple contributors (in-house or outsourced).
Grant writers should be skilled in collaborating with other contributors throughout the entire grant proposal development process.
Are you seeking a writer who will assume proposal management responsibilities, including deadline management & assigning tasks to other contributors?
Depending on the proposal volume & other live proposals, it might be beneficial that the writing and management functions are separated.
4. Interfacing with the client/ funder.
This function is typically conducted by an internal New Business Development lead.
If a firm outsources this function, it is commonly seen in longer-term consulting arrangements, though exceptions do exist.
Disclaimer: The above is intended for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as advisory services rendered.
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