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In late 2018, many blogs offer insights about how to seek, find, get, and keep a grant award, how to write a grant proposal, and related topics. The blogs vary widely in longevity, source, style, scope, depth, and quality; each one is worth a visit, perhaps even a tour.

 

This second post samples some of the diverse blogs about grant seeking and grant proposal writing. Its topics are: logic models; planning tools; prospect research; success factors; sustainability; and technical reviews.

 

The first post samples the same blogs. Its topics are: assessments of need; career paths; choice of voice; collaboration and networks; development process; goals and objectives; and grant writing myths. The context for both posts is the United States of America. Comments are always welcome.

 

Logic Models

 

Logic models are versatile tools for program design and project management. A particularly inspiring and reassuring post on the Grants4Good Blog, by Margit Brazda Poirier, presents some of the roles of logic modelsin developing grant proposals. An elegant post about the power of logic models, by Barbara Floersh, appears on the Grantsmanship Center Blog. Another related post on the Grant Training Center Blog, by Mathilda Harris, also argues for the utility of logic modelsin project planning. GrantResultshas an eight-part series (2016) about using logic modelsin writing proposals and in implementing funded projects.

 

Planning Toolkits

 

Grant proposals require extensive planning and coordination. In a helpful post on the Grant Training Center Blog, Mathilda Harris examines the potential role of seven-component grant design chartsin planning a proposal and getting it funded. In the Foundation Center’s Grant Craft Blog, a thought-provoking post by Aimee Hendrigan describes the RACI matrixas a tool for fostering collaboration among grant recipients. GrantResultspresents a six-part series (2017) about Gantt charts, PESTLE analysis, SWOT analysis, Red teams, and several other tools for developing grant proposals.

 

Prospect Research

 

Knowing where to find grants is essential for grant seekers. Affiliated with the Foundation Center, famous for its comprehensive foundation directories, the GrantSpace Blogprovides a helpful overview about finding fundersin an applicant’s geographic area. GrantResultshas an eight-part series (2013, revised 2017) about state directories of grant makers, organized by geographic regions (e.g., New England, Midwest, Southwest).

 

Success Factors

 

Applicants may or may not get a grant for many reasons. The Grant Writing Basics Blog Seriesprovides a wealth of insights about winning and keeping federal grants, not the least of which is its post about verifying eligibility. On the Grant Training Center Blog, Mathilda Harris identifies 20 waysa proposal may fail to win a grant. Similarly, on the Let’s Talk Nonprofit Blog, Laura Rhodes offers tips about how some foundation grant makers make funding decisions. GrantResultsprovides a six-part series (2017) about some reasons why grant proposals may failto get funded (e.g., readiness, choice of opportunities, applicant attributes, proposal content).

 

Sustainability

 

The question of sustainability is pivotal for many grant makers. On the Grant Helpers Blog, in an instructive post, Michelle Hansen presents five key elementsof a sustainability plan. A penetrating post about the elements of sustainabilityalso appears on Barbara Floersch’s Grantsmanship Center Blog. GrantResultshas posted (2017) several tips for developing sustainability plansfor grant proposals, and has also posted (2013) seven strategiesfor developing sustainability plans.

 

Technical Reviews

 

Expert panel reviews make or break many grant proposals. On the Grant Writer Team Blog, a particularly informative and insightful post by Elaine Rose Penn explains what grant reviewers look forin proposals (e.g., partnerships and sustainability). The Grant Writing Basics Blog Seriesexplains peer review panelsand the application review process. On the Seliger+Associates Grant Writing Blog, Jake Seliger encourages grant seekers to write foremost to satisfy the needs and expectations of grant proposal reviewers, not other audiences. GrantResultspresents a two-part series (2012) about analyzing federal requests for proposals(RFPs) and becoming a reviewerof grant proposals.

 

 

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In late 2018, many blogs offer insights about how to seek, find, get, and keep a grant award, how to write a grant proposal, and related topics. The blogs vary widely in longevity, source, style, scope, depth, and quality; each one is worth a visit, perhaps even a tour.

 

This first post samples some of the diverse blogs about grant seeking and grant proposal writing. Its illustrative topics are: assessments of need; career paths; choice of voice; collaboration and networks; development process; goals and objectives; and grant writing myths. The second post will sample the same blogs. Its topics will be: logic models; planning tools; prospect research; success factors; sustainability; and technical reviews. The context for both posts is the United States of America. Comments are always welcome.

 

Assessments of Need

 

Among grant seekers and grant makers alike, evidence of need is a springboard for action. On the Professional Grant Writer Blog, a post offers four ways to improve statements of needin grant proposals. The Grant Training Center Blogalso presents a post by Mathilda Harris about how to craft a compelling statementof need. GrantResultsoffers 16 tips for presenting an assessment of need(2012, revised 2017), as well as tips for addressing other common elements of grant proposal narratives.

 

Career Paths

 

Grant writing is a peculiar occupation. On the Grantsmanship Center Blog, Barbara Floersh explains how and why “grant writer” needs burialas a job title, since it is the grant maker that writes the check for a grant award, not the grant seeker; the position is more aptly called a “proposal writer”. In an engaging post on the Seliger+Associates Grant Writing Blog, Isaac Seliger explores work styles and writing habitsas occupational facets of developing grant proposals. GrantResultsdescribes what grant writers doand common career pathsas two posts in a five-part series (2017) about grant writing as a career.

 

Choice of Voice

 

As acts of writing, grant proposals must persuade as well as describe. On the Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops Blogare several useful reminders about the importance of voiceand word choice in persuading makers of scientific research grants. In an eloquent post on the Grant Training Center Blog, Mathilda Harris presents five aspects of writing stylethat improve the odds of winning a grant award. An incisive post by Holly Thompson about the power of consistencyin proposals, on the Grantsmanship Center Blog, is also apropos. GrantResultshas a post (2013) about choice of voice(formal/informal, technical/non-technical) in writing grant proposals.

 

Collaboration and Networks

 

Collaboration often helps position grant seekers to win grants; networking among grant seekers fosters collaboration. On the Grant Plant Blog, a compelling post describes the challenges and benefitsof collaboration among nonprofits. In a persuasive post on theGrant Helpers Blog, Roland Garton presents how inter-agency collaborationsmay stimulate partnerships and lead to more grant awards. Isaac Seliger, on theSeliger+Associates Grant Writing Blogoffers an entirely different take on the merits of collaborationin grant seeking. On a related topic, GrantResultshas a three-part series (2013, revised 2018) about creating and sustaining networks of grant seekers.

 

Development Process

 

Creating a grant proposal entails far more than writing. On the Grant Helpers Blog, Roland Garton explains how developing a proposal entails planning and researchas well as writing. An illuminating post in the Let’s Talk Nonprofit Blogdepicts writing grant proposals as having three legs(research, writing, and review). Similarly, GrantResultsoffers a post (2012) about the four dimensionsof developing grant proposals (research, communication, budget, and writing).

 

Goals and Objectives

 

In writing a program design for a grant proposal, a goal is the completed marathon, and objectives measure what it takes to complete it. On the Grant Professionals Association Blog, Lisa Sihvonen-Binder distinguishes between goals and objectivesand explains why they are not the same thing. GrantResultsdefines goals and objectives in a five-part dictionary of proposal developmentterms (2016, revised 2018). GrantResultsalso offers a seven-part dictionary of budget developmentterms (2016, revised 2018).

 

Grant Writing Myths

 

Myths about grant making and grant seeking abound. As an example, the Grant Geek Blogprovides a cautionary tale about several myths surrounding the ease of getting grantsfor businesses and individuals. A brief post on the Professional Grant Writer Blogdelineates five frequently encountered grant writing myths. In a discerning post on the Grant Training Center Blog, Mathilda Harris describes eight grant writing mythsthat confront grant seekers from the outset. GrantResultsprovides a (revised) 12-part series (2016) about the myth of omnipotenceand 11 other myths in the arena of grant funding.

 

 

This post offers an overview of the 400+ pages posted to this blog in the past five years. It may serve visitors as an aid in searching Grant Results for posts about diverse practical aspects of grant writing as a career, state and national resources for grant seekers, and sundry tools and tips for writing competitive grant proposals. With the few exceptions noted, its context is the United States of America.

 

Grant Writing as a Career

  • Common Career Paths
  • What Grant Writers Do
  • Essential Tools/Skills
  • Where Grant Writers Work
  • When Grant Writers Work

 

Grant Consulting: Rates and Fees

  • Hourly Rates and Flat Rates
  • Prospect Research Fees
  • Retainer Fees
  • Proposal Revision and Review Fees
  • Proposal Planning and Other Fees

 

Grant Writer Salaries

  • Median Annual Salaries
  • Median Salaries in All 50 US States
  • Median Salaries in 51 US Cities
  • Median Salaries in Australia
  • Median Salaries in Canada
  • Median Salaries in the United Kingdom
  • Median Salaries in Mexico
  • Median Salaries in the Caribbean Region

 

Professional Associations for Grant Writers

 

Grant Writers’ Networks

  • Purposes and Benefits
  • Questions for Start-Ups
  • Online Presence

 

Grant Writing Dictionaries:

  • Budget Development Dictionary A-Z
  • Proposal Development Dictionary A-Z

 

Finding Funding: Sources of Federal Grants

 

Finding State Education Grants

  • Southwest
  • Northwest
  • Great Plains
  • Midwest
  • Southeast
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • New England

 

State Grant Maker Directories

  • Southwest
  • Northwest
  • Great Plains
  • Midwest
  • Southeast
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • New England
  • Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

 

Writing Competitive Grant Proposals

  • SMART Goals
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Red Team Reviews
  • RASCI Charts
  • Gantt Charts
  • Using Strategic Plans

 

Grant Writing Basics

  • Abstracts
  • Needs Assessments
  • Research-based Rationales
  • Project Objectives
  • Project Goals
  • Timelines
  • Personnel Plans
  • Management Plans
  • Dissemination Plans
  • Sustainability Plans
  • Evaluation Plans
  • Itemized Budgets
  • Budget Justifications
  • Proposal Attachments
  • Tables of Contents
  • Cover Letters

 

Common Proposal Application Forms

  • Proposal Elements
  • Contacting Funders
  • Roles of Evaluation
  • Lengths and Formats
  • Revenue Sources
  • Expense Categories

 

Why Proposals Don’t Win Grants

  • Choices of Opportunities
  • Applicant Attributes
  • Context and Competition
  • Grant Readiness
  • Proposal Content
  • Development and Delivery

 

Logic Models

  • Performance Indicators and Logic Models
  • Elements of a Logic Model
  • Defining a Logic Model
  • Basics of Logic Models
  • Types of Logic Models
  • Benefits of Logic Models
  • Alternative Logic Models
  • Use of Logic Models in Evaluation

 

Myths in Grant-Seeking

  • Myth of Instantaneity
  • Myth of Uniformity
  • Myth of Needless Complexity
  • Myth of Automaticity
  • Myth of Universal Eligibility
  • Myth of Substitutability
  • Myth of Omnipotence
  • Myth of Relationships

 

Proposal Boilerplate and Proposal Templates

  • Uses of Boilerplate in Grant Proposals
  • Hazards of Cloned Proposals
  • Using Proposal Templates

 

Funding Success Rates

 

Learning from Technical Review Forms

 

Return on Investment as a Metric for Grant Writers

 

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, Salary.com 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 Salary.com 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
  Salary.com 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 https://www.afpnet.org/.

 

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 http://www.agwa.us/.

 

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 http://grantprofessionals.org/.

 

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.

 

Observations

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
AFP AGWA GPA
Founded 1960 2002 1998
Membership Fee $250 $119 $209
Members 30,000 1,000 2,800
Conference 3-day 2-day 4-day
Credentials CFRE/ACFRE CGW GPC

 

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.

 

Note

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.

 

There may be many more networks of Grant Writers than those having websites, but it’s hard to verify their existence remotely without one. This post, revised for 2018, is the last in a series; it surveys the online presence of networks of Grant Writers across the United States of America. Earlier posts examined the purposes and benefits of such networks and outlined some considerations for starting up a local network of Grant Writers.

 

Overview of Grant Writers’ Networks

 

In the summary table below, Y (Yes) means that evidence of an attribute is found on a network’s website; N (No) means that it is not found there. Note: At the end of the post, a list aligns Columns 1-10 with the networks’ names and their embedded websites.

 

Out of 10 networks, 10 (or 100%) have websites of varying coverage; seven (or 70%) state the year or date when the network was first established; seven (or 70%) give a mission statement; five (or 50%) give a purpose (or goals) statement; seven (or 70%) state which types of professionals are invited to participate in the network; and six (or 60%) state or imply that membership is open to anyone who is interested and pays a membership fee (if required).

 

Grant Writers’ Networks in the US
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Website Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Date Established Y Y Y N N Y Y Y N Y
Mission Statement Y Y Y N N N Y Y Y Y
Purpose Statement N N Y Y N N Y Y N Y
Membership Types  Y Y Y N N N Y Y Y Y
Open Membership N N Y Y Y Y Y N Y N

 

Dates of Founding

 

Of the seven ongoing networks of Grant Writers about which one can learn when they were founded, two (or 28%) were founded in 2010 or later; two (or 28%) were founded in 2000 through 2009; and three (or 44%) were founded in 1990 through 1999. The oldest network appears to be the Puget Sound Grant Writers Association, founded in 1990.

 

Geographic Distribution

 

In 2018, networks of Grant Writers have an online presence in six states: Florida (3), Wisconsin (2), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Oklahoma (1), and Washington (1).

 

Network Activities

 

Among the activities in which many of the 10 networks regularly engage are to:

  • Promote professional networking
  • Offer professional development
  • Provide access to education and training
  • Promote partnerships and collaboration
  • Promote interdisciplinary intra-university collaboration
  • Promote collaboration and support among peers
  • Promote collaboration among nonprofits
  • Foster connections among grant seekers, nonprofits, and funders,
  • Provide tools for problem solving among grant seekers
  • Share resources among network participants
  • Connect grant seekers to resources
  • Enhance participants’ writing skills
  • Assist participants in identifying resources

 

The Grant Writers Roundtable (Grand Rapids, MI) holds its meetings at a different location each month — mostly at nonprofit organizations — so that its members can learn more about them.

 

The Puget Sound Grant Writers Association (Seattle, WA) holds an annual fall conference attended by as many as 400 persons. It also holds an annual funders forum and conducts informal grants cafés to foster networking.

 

The University of Missouri Office of Research Grant Writer Network (Columbia, MO) has published a reference book for faculty in institutions of higher education titled, Grant Seeking in Higher Education: Strategies and Tools for College Faculty (2012).

 

Table Reference List with Dates of Inception

 

The names of networks of grant writers are listed in alphabetical order. The numbers correspond to the table summarizing selected attributes. The parenthetic dates are the apparent years of inception of each network; ND indicates ‘No Date Available’.

 

  1. Florida Inter-Agency Grants Consortium – 2010
  2. Grand Rapids (MI) Grant Writers Roundtable – 2008
  3. Grants Collaborative of Tampa Bay (FL) – 1993
  4. Grow Wisconsin – ND
  5. Marion County (FL) Grant Writers’ Network – ND
  6. Planners and Grant Writers Roundtable (Milwaukee WI) – 2011
  7. Puget Sound Grant Writers Association (WA) – 1990
  8. University of Missouri Grant Writer Network – 1998
  9. Lake-Sumter Grantsmanship Network (FL) – ND
  10. Council on Grantsmanship and Research (OK) – 2004

 

If any reader knows of another network of grant writers — operating in the United States of America and missing from this list — please send a comment!

At times, grant seekers find strength in numbers. Networks can be powerful tools for organizations seeking competitively awarded grants.

 

This post, revised for 2018, is the second in a series; it focuses on ways to establish a new network of Grant Writers in terms of why, who, what, where, when, and how. An earlier post focused on the purposes and benefits of networks. A later post will survey existing networks of grant-seeking organizations.

 

Background

 

The Tulsa Area Grant Writers Network (TAG-Net) was an informal initiative that lasted about 10 years. Its purpose was to build local capacity to win more grants, particularly in programs that required partnerships. Its membership was open to professionals who wrote competitive grant proposals and/or who managed grant-funded projects. Members met monthly. Meetings had agendas and lasted an hour or so. Different organizations hosted the meetings at their facilities – in order both to broaden ownership and to increase visibility.

 

Why

 

Why start a network? One possible reason, pursued in TAG-Net, was to win more grants for the communities and constituencies represented by the network’s member organizations:

  • Circulate a declaration of purpose, rationale, and goals
  • Focus on partnership building and collaboration in seeking competitive grants

 

Who

 

Who is the network’s intended membership? One possible point of departure, adopted in TAG-Net, was professionals who write competitive grant proposals:

  • Invite counterparts who are engaged in grant seeking in area organizations
  • Rotate leadership of meetings among network members
  • Exchange contact information
  • Compile and share a membership directory
  • Collect and report meeting attendance data to members

 

What

 

What are the network’s tasks? One fundamental task, pursued in TAG-Net, is to provide information and insights that lead to more effective partnerships and more grant awards:

  • Request members’ inputs for agenda topics and themes
  • Incorporate members’ inputs in establishing agendas
  • Publish and follow an agenda for each meeting

 

Where

 

Where does the network meet? One aspect, acted upon in TAG-Net, was to ensure that it not be seen as belonging to or benefitting only one grant-seeking organization:

  • Meet at varied locations – to maximize ownership among organizations
  • Meet at varied locations – to expose members to organizations’ facilities and staff

 

When

 

How can a network use time to make itself useful for its members? One aspect, addressed in TAG-Net, was to calibrate time allocations to members’ priorities and availability.

  • Hold regular meetings at predictable times – biweekly to monthly
  • Dedicate an hour or more to holding the actual meetings
  • Hold additional ad hoc meetings as grants opportunities arise

 

How

 

What are the basic assumptions about forming and operating new collaborative networks of grant writers? In TAG-Net, such assumptions reflected a singular intention to use the Network as a means for building capacity for seeking and winning competitive grants to benefit a specific geographical area.

 

Formalizing a Network

 

Particularly at the start, for TAG-Net, it seemed prudent to avoid over-formalizing the network. In practice, this meant:

  • No website
  • No 501(c)(3)
  • No dues
  • No budget
  • No elected officers
  • No single-site organizational affiliation

Other networks may adopt more formal practices far more extensively than in the example of TAG-Net – and, in fact, several have done so.

 

With time, it is likely that active members may desire to formalize their network in some way. It’s then up to the members to determine how they wish to proceed. A later post will explore what other networks have done with particular attention to their apparent formality of approach.

 

A final post will survey existing networks of grant-seeking organizations, such as may be found in early 2018.

 

At times, grant seekers find strength in numbers. Networks of Grant Writers can be powerful tools for large and small organizations seeking competitively awarded grants.

 

This post, revised for 2018, is the first in an updated three-part series; it focuses on the purposes and benefits of Grant Writer networks. Other posts in the series survey networks of grant-seeking organizations – as they exist in 2018 – and explore possible ways to set up and operate a new network.

 

Background

 

As a full-time Grant Writer for a large urban school district, I launched the Tulsa Area Grant Writers Network (TAG-Net) by using collections of email addresses and business cards as my sources of initial contacts. From the start, TAG-Net was designed to be a collaborative initiative. Its primary rationale was to respond to an escalating need for potential applicants to be able to have robust partnerships already in place when competing for new grants.

 

During TAG-Net’s first five years, I was its nominal chairperson. During this period, it expanded to involve 80 participants from 65 different grant-seeking organizations in the metropolitan area. In varying formats, TAG-Net continued to operate for another five years after I had accepted a role in a different organization and could no longer participate in it.

 

Purposes

 

Creating and sustaining a multi-agency network of Grant Writers serves a number of capacity-building purposes for its participants – all of which can contribute to positioning them to win grants. Among such purposes are to:

  • Maximize eligibility as applicants
  • Catalyze the building of partnerships
  • Facilitate planning of partnership proposals
  • Share data (with protections of privacy and confidentiality intact)
  • Exchange and share effective practices
  • Exchange and share knowledge and expertise
  • Exchange information about coming grant opportunities and deadlines
  • Leverage existing community resources and assets
  • Provide collegial professional development for participants

 

Benefits

 

Actively engaging in a multi-agency network of Grant Writers can generate a number of definable and measurable benefits for its participants, among which are that they:

  • Become more familiar with modes of operation of diverse participant organizations
  • Become more familiar with varying executive sign-off protocols of other organizations
  • Become more familiar with who does what in other participant organizations
  • Expedite obtaining memoranda of agreement and letters of commitment or support
  • Make it easier to identify potential project staff and potential external consultants
  • Create the competitive asset of pre-existing collaboration and partnerships

 

In addition, through actively engaging in a multi-agency network, Grant Writers can:

  • Learn what types of data other organizations collect and maintain (but may not report)
  • Engage in more extensive sharing of data for developing assessments of need
  • Acquire more ready access to resources for specialized reviews of research literature
  • Mitigate the potentially adverse effects of turf and silo mentalities
  • Win more grants to support worthwhile local projects and initiatives

 

The next post in this series will explore possible ways to set up and operate a new network.

 

 

This post discusses others’ estimates of the time it takes to develop a competitive grant proposal.

 

In my experience, developing a grant proposal involves three primary processes: (1) social (i.e., planning and coordinating); (2) financial (i.e., developing a budget); and (3) narrative (i.e., writing). Of the estimates found online, most of those for how long it takes to develop a competitive grant proposal focus only on the narrative process and neglect the others.

 

Some Simple Estimates

 

One of the more commonly cited estimates for how long it takes to develop a grant proposal is 120 hours (only for the writing) for ‘a typical proposal’ submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) or to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This estimate does not define ‘typical.’

 

Another source found online offers a simple formula – two hours per page for a ‘typical state/federal proposal.’ The source does not define ‘page.’ It also does not define ‘typical.’

 

A third source estimates that it takes anywhere from two hours for two-page proposals to three months for proposals of more than 100 pages. The source does not define ‘months’ in terms of total hours or even in terms of hours per month. It also does not define ‘page.’

 

More Complicated Estimates

 

One of the more illuminating analyses of the time it takes to develop a grant proposal is found here. It does not break out a proposal into its various components or processes; however, it does reflect that projects with larger budgets and longer project periods tend to take more time to develop. The table below recapitulates its analysis.

 

Time Commitment Budget Period Type Funder
120-150 hrs $50k/yr 3 yrs Modest scale research, development, or implementation Federal agency
1,000-2,000 hrs $1m/yr 5 yrs Large scale implementation Federal agency
2,000 hrs + $1m-$3m/yr 5 yrs Very large scale implementation Federal agency
30-50 hrs $10k/yr 3 yrs Modest scale implementation Private foundation
500 hrs + $1m-$5m/yr 1-5 yrs Large scale implementation Private foundation
3-5 hrs < $10k/yr 1-5 yrs Small preliminary proposal Private foundation
10-20 hrs > $100k/yr 1-5 yrs Large preliminary proposal Private foundation

 

An Alternate Estimate

 

An entirely different analysis examines time commitments in terms of the components of a proposal. It estimates three hours per page of proposal narrative. Then it adds: 1.5 hours to outline the RFP, five hours to develop the budget, five hours for the attachments, and six hours for publishing and submitting a grant proposal. For a state or federal proposal that allows or anticipates a 40-page narrative, this will work out to 120 hours (narrative) plus 22.5 hours (all the rest) or a total of 142.5 hours for a typical state or federal grant proposal. At a moderate consultant’s fee of only $60 per hour, this estimate of time commitment amounts to a cost of $8,550.

 

A later post will provide an alternative analysis in terms of proposal processes and proposal components.

 

 

This new post explores grant writing consultants’ fees in late 2017 for such services as creating funding development plans or devising project evaluation plans. It is part of an ongoing series. Other new posts for late 2017 explore: hourly rates and flat rates, retainer fees, prospect research fees, and other topics related to how grant writing consultants earn an income. The context for the series is the United States of America.

 

Fixed Fee Assignments

 

In late 2017, beyond stating hourly rates, per proposal rates, retainer fees, and proposal review fees, some grant writing consultants also publish cost information about other services. One of the most frequently encountered rates for ancillary services is that for fixed-fee assignments for private sector prospect research and/or private sector proposal development.

 

The costs range from $3,350 to $8,000 – for finding three to five private sector grant leads and/or for writing three to five proposals – to from $5,000 to $9,000 – for finding 10 grant leads and/or for writing 10 proposals. Some consultants offer to find as many as 50 grant leads for $24,000 (equivalent to $480 per lead); grant proposals to submit to those leads cost more.

 

  Minimum Funder Leads Maximum Funder Leads
Consultant/Firm 1 $5,000 10 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 2 $7,500 3 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 3 $3,350 5 leads $24,000 50 leads
Consultant/Firm 4 $5,500 3 leads $7,000 10 leads
Consultant/Firm 5 $8,000 5 leads $9,000 10 leads

 

Strategic Planning Support and Technical Assistance

 

Some grant writing consultants offer to help grant seekers with strategic planning, organizational development, or other technical assistance. Sampled rates vary from $45/hour to $125/hour. Required minimum time commitments are typically 5-10 hours.

 

 Strategic Planning/Technical Assistance Minimum Rates Maximum Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $2,500 Not stated
Consultant/Firm 2 $2,550 Not stated
Consultant/Firm 3 $45/hour Not stated
Consultant/Firm 4 $65/hour Not stated
Consultant/Firm 5 $85/hour Not stated
Consultant/Firm 6 $100/hour Not stated
Consultant/Firm 7 $110/hour Not stated
Consultant/Firm 8 $125/hour Not stated

 

Grant Writing Workshops

 

Few consultants offer workshops for grant-related staff development. Perhaps one reason for the infrequency of such ancillary services is that they compete directly with associations of non-profits, universities, the Grantsmanship Center, the Foundation Center, and other providers of similar workshops and courses. The current consultants’ workshops may last one to three days. Consultants may charge for them by the half-day (e.g., 3-4 hours at $1,500) or by the day (e.g., 6-8 hours at $3,000) plus itemized expenses. The most frequently cited consultants’ expenses to be billed are those for travel, lodging, and office support (e.g., printing, copying, mailing, or shipping).

 

  Rates Workshop Duration Plus Expenses
Consultant/Firm 1 $100 Half-day Unstated
Consultant/Firm 2 $300 Day Unstated
Consultant/Firm 3 $500 Day Unstated
Consultant/Firm 4 $1,500 Half-day Yes
Consultant/Firm 5 $3,000 Day Yes

 

This is the last post in this series for late 2017.

 

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