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This post presents what Grant Writers do. Others in the series will present where and when they work, the tools that they use, the basic skills they need, and common career paths.


What Grant Writers Do

What Grant Writers do each day on the job depends upon where they work, with whom they work, what resources they have at hand for doing their work, what other roles they have in an organization, and what their contracts and position descriptions specify.


Despite the job title, there is far more than only writing to what Grant Writers do. The typical tasks that Grant Writers perform daily reflect the three processes entailed in competitive grant seeking: social, financial, and narrative. Put differently, they require a combination of collaboration, calculation, and communication.


Collaboration (Social Process)

Among the Grant Writer’s typical tasks in the social process are:

  • Confer and consult with executive leadership
  • Coordinate with subject area experts and other key individuals
  • Coordinate with partnering organizations and other stakeholders
  • Manage appointment and deadline calendars
  • Lead multidisciplinary planning sessions
  • Speak publicly before small and large groups
  • Explain proposal elements and their rationales
  • Explain grant program requirements
  • Prepare proposal status reports
  • Organize and lead pre-submission proposal reviews


Calculation (Financial Process)

Among the Grant Writer’s typical tasks in the financial process are:

  • Track best practices in grant seeking, cultivation, and stewardship
  • Monitor and research grant options
  • Track trends and innovations in grant making
  • Recommend grant and other funding alternatives
  • Research proposal-related budget items
  • Develop and justify detailed budgets
  • Negotiate budget components and grant awards


Communication (Narrative Process)

Among the Grant Writer’s typical tasks in the narrative process are:

  • Use business office technologies and applications
  • Analyze and interpret proposal solicitations
  • Analyze and interpret regulations and statutes
  • Navigate grant makers’ websites
  • Collect and analyze data
  • Manage information and data
  • Write and edit narratives and related materials
  • Review proposals for completeness and accuracy
  • Fill out online and printed application forms
  • Submit proposals or prepare them for submissions


In sum, the job title of Grant Writer is a misnomer. It is not merely writing. What the occupation in fact requires are specific complementary skills – in communication, collaboration, and calculation.



One Comment

  1. Thanks for this. It’s a challenge to explain what good “grant writers” really do!


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