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Monthly Archives: August 2018

This post explores what Grants/Proposal Writers are paid as compensation in terms of median salaries in major cities in all 50 states and in the nation’s capital. It presents data for mid-2018. Other posts later in 2018 will explore hourly rates and flat fees, retainer fees, review and revision fees, and other aspects of the compensation of writers of grant proposals. All data will be for the United States of America.


Median Salaries for Grants/Proposal Writers


What Grants/Proposal Writers earn reflects many factors. Among them are years of experience, level of educational attainment, geographic location, and the nature of the employer.


As of mid-2018, has reported that the median annual salary for “Grants/Proposal Writers” in 51 cities was $67,439. The middle 20 cities selected for exploration here earned medians from $64,180 to $68,828; the bottom 10 selected cities earned medians of $64,030 or less; and the top 10 selected cities earned medians of $72,517 or more. These base salaries represented about 70% of total compensation; the other 30% of total compensation were fringe benefits and bonuses.


% Benchmark Median Salary 2018


Calculated on a full 52-week year, the same median annual salary worked out to $1,276.90 per week, and the range for the cities’ medians was $1,086.32 to $1,583.69 per week. Calculated over a 2,080-hour work-year, the same national median annual salary worked out to $32.42 per hour, and the range for the cities became from $27.16 per hour to $39.59 per hour. The highest median salary was 145.7% of the lowest median salary.


The middle 20 cities selected for exploration here earned medians from $64,180 to $68,828; the bottom 10 selected cities earned medians of $64,030 or less; and the top 10 selected cities earned medians of $72,517.


Median Salaries By Selected Cities


As of mid 2018, the “median annual salaries” in 51 selected cities searched on ranged from $56,489 in Pierre, SD to $82,352 in New York City, NY. In mid-2018, most of the medians for these cities fell in the range of $64,000 to $69,000.


Median Annual Salaries — 2018 Data Comparisons Data As % of 2018 Median for 51 Cities
USA $67,439 100.0%
New England States
Hartford CT $73,609 109.1%
Portland, ME $67,991 100.8%
Boston, MA $77,418 114.8%
Manchester, NH $71,871 106.6%
Providence, RI $72,075 106.9%
Burlington, VT $67,175 99.6%
Mid-Atlantic States
Dover, DE $72,517 107.5%
Washington, DC $75,702 112.3%
Baltimore, MD $69,965 103.7%
Newark, NJ $77,724 115.3%
New York, NY $82,352 122.1%
Philadelphia, PA $73,232 108.6%
Charleston, WV $61,995 91.9%
Midwestern States
Chicago, IL $72,498 107.5%
Indianapolis, IN $66,174 98.1%
Louisville, KY $64,180 95.2%
Detroit, MI $69,734 103.4%
Columbus, OH $67,141 99.6%
Great Plains States
Des Moines, IA $65,405 97.0%
Kansas City, KS $66,898 99.2%
Minneapolis, MN $72,483 107.5%
St. Louis, MO $67,011 99.4%
Lincoln, NE $63,915 94.8%
Bismarck, ND $63,438 94.1%
Pierre, SD $56,489 83.8%
Milwaukee, WI $67,474 100.1%
Northwestern States
Anchorage, AK $76,595 113.6%
Boise, ID $64,575 95.8%
Great Falls, MT $59,008 87.5%
Portland, OR $71,136 105.5%
Seattle, WA $74,685 110.7%
Casper, WY $63,404 94.0%
Southeastern States
Birmingham, AL $64,030 94.9%
Little Rock, AR $63,256 93.8%
Jacksonville, FL $65,306 96.8%
Atlanta, GA $67,031 99.4%
New Orleans, LA $67,565 100.2%
Jackson, MS $60,566 89.8%
Charlotte, NC $66,670 98.9%
Charleston, SC $64,237 95.3%
Nashville, TN $63,071 93.5%
Richmond, VA $68,230 101.2%
Southwestern States
Phoenix, AZ $67,439 100.0%
Los Angeles, CA $76,974 114.1%
Denver, CO $68,828 102.1%
Honolulu, HI $70,959 105.2%
Las Vegas, NV $70,782 105.0%
Albuquerque, NM $63,567 94.3%
Okla. City, OK $64,541 95.7%
Houston, TX $69,761 103.4%
Salt Lake City, UT $64,552 95.7%


It may be worth noting that median annual salaries in mid-2018 were no more uniform within most states than they were across the country. Out of the 51 selected cities presented in the table, 10 cities were within $1,000 (plus or minus) of the national median for the selected cities.




Throughout the 2010s, American grant writers have continued their efforts to distinguish, elevate, standardize, and formalize the training and professional status of their peers. Among the organizations at the forefront of such efforts are the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the American Grant Writers’ Association, and the Grant Professionals Association. This post is revised to reflect mid-2018. Reported information comes from the respective organizations’ websites.


Association of Fundraising Professionals

The 30,000-member Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) was founded in 1960. Regular individual professional membership is $250 per year, plus separate chapter dues of $25 to $120 per year. AFP offers several other types of membership as well. AFP holds three-day annual conferences; its 2019 conference will be in San Antonio, TX. Grant writers count among AFP members, but AFP is by no means only for grant writers. The website is


AFP offers a code of ethics and nine other research and practice tools, as well as 24 professional development benefits and opportunities, and an extensive bookstore. It offers discussion groups, a membership directory, a consultant directory, a career center, and other networking resources. AFP offers a three-day annual conference (plus a two-day preconference) and many members-only publications and other resources. It also offers continuous education-related services such as 26 webinars, an online knowledge center, and the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) programs, which are its credentialing exams.


American Grant Writers’ Association

The 1,000-member American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) was founded in 2002. AGWA individual membership is $119 for one year, $200 for two years, or $275 for three years. Business memberships are available for $179 for one year, $340 for two years, or $475 for three years. AGWA holds two-day annual conferences; its 2019 conference will be in Austin, TX. The website is


AGWA advances professionalization through professional standards and a code of ethics and access to professional liability insurance (E&O). It offers 11 membership benefits. Among its networking resources are its two-day annual grant conference, a listing in a networking membership roster for certified grant writer consultants, and a members-only portal. In addition, AGWA offers continuous education-related services such as six online courses, a four-day grant researching and proposal writing workshop, a members-only newsletter, and the Certified Grant Writer® (CGW) Exam, which is its credentialing exam. It features employment-related services such as information about how to hire a grant writer and making members’ résumés available to prospective employers.


Grant Professionals Association

The 2,800-member Grant Professionals Association (GPA), formerly American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP), was founded in 1998. GPA regular individual professional membership is $209/year, plus chapter dues of $10 to $25 per year; other types of membership are available. GPA holds four-day annual conferences; its 2018 conference will be in Chicago, IL. Its website is


GPA offers a Consultant Mentoring Program and publishes both an online newsletter and a peer-reviewed journal with limited public access to its contents. Its networking resources include a three-day annual conference, an extensive bookstore, and access to more than 70 webinars. The GPA advances professionalization through a Grant Professional Certification (GPC) program conducted through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute™ (GPCI). Its employment-related services include a Job Center with a searchable job postings database and a consultants listing for firms seeking to retain a grant-writing consultant.



The professionalization of grant writing reflects an effort to establish it as an enterprise distinct from fundraising. All three leading professional associations that encompass grant writing have their own conferences, exams, credentials, codes of ethics, and literature about effective practices.


Overview of Professional Associations for Grant Writers
Founded 1960 2002 1998
Membership Fee $250 $119 $209
Members 30,000 1,000 2,800
Conference 3-day 2-day 4-day


The costs of individual professional memberships vary by 150%. The scope and quality of resources available to members vary widely as well. The fee structures and the extent of resources appear to reflect the size and longevity of the three associations and the narrowness or breadth of their missions.



Discussion of the existence of the AFP, the AGWA, and the GPA is intended for informational purposes only. Endorsement or sanction of any of the associations is neither intended nor implied.


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