How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer with No Experience

how to become a freelance grant writer

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Katie

Working as a professional grant writer is a clever choice if you have a knack for persuasive writing and a passion for nonprofit work. If this interests you, this article is going to discuss how to become a freelance grant writer with no experience and give you the exact steps to start a successful career.

To begin your journey, it’s essential to develop a strong foundation in the core aspects of grant writing.

This includes understanding the mechanics of the grant application process, the expectations of funding entities, and the needs of the organizations you’ll be assisting. 

Mastery of these elements will allow you to articulate a clear vision and create proposals that stand out among the competition.

Establishing yourself as a freelance grant writer requires diligence and ongoing learning.

Enhancing your research abilities, networking with industry professionals, and staying informed about the latest trends in philanthropy will all contribute to your success.

As you gain experience, your expertise will not only help organizations achieve their goals but also refine your craft, making you a sought-after writer in the grant-writing community.

 

Table of Contents show

Overview of How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer

  1. What is freelance grant writing?
  2. What does a grant writer do?
  3. The steps to become a freelance grant writer
  4. Who hires freelance grant writers?
  5. Average pay for grant writers
  6. What skills do freelance grant writers need for success?
  7. The main qualifications required to get work
  8. Best places to find freelance grant writing jobs

 

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What is Freelance Grant Writing?

how to become a freelance grant writer

Freelance grant writing is the professional process you engage in when you create formal proposals to secure funding from various sources, such as governmental agencies, foundations, and corporations. 

As a freelance grant writer, your primary objective is to articulate the needs and objectives of local nonprofits in a way that persuasively communicates the value and necessity of their projects.

You will need to conduct thorough research to identify potential grant opportunities that align with your client’s goals.

This involves understanding the funding entity’s requirements and aligning your proposal with their interests and guidelines.

 

What Does a Freelance Grant Writer Do?

how to become a freelance grant writer

As a successful grant writer, your primary role is to help the nonprofit sector secure grant funding by identifying grant opportunities, building relationships, and crafting persuasive proposals. 

While grant writing experience is not always required, you will need strong writing skills, effective communication skills and the ability to research and understand the needs of both your clients and the grant funding sources.

 

Research Available Grants

To ensure the success of your clients, you must meticulously search for different types of grants that align with their programs and missions.

This involves:

  • Sifting through databases: You’ll navigate through grant databases to find suitable funding opportunities.
  • Staying updated on industry trends: Keeping abreast with trends can help you discover new grant sources.
  • Evaluating grant eligibility: Before proceeding, ascertain that your client meets all eligibility requirements.
  • Understanding grant guidelines: Carefully review guidelines to ensure the proposal meets all criteria.

 

Write a Grant Proposal

The creation of effective grant proposals demands attention to detail and persuasive writing.

Your responsibilities include:

  • Understanding the funder’s interests: Tailor your proposal to demonstrate how your client’s project aligns with the potential funder’s objectives.
  • Presenting clear objectives: Outline the goals and objectives clearly, showing their feasibility and relevance.
  • Crafting a compelling narrative: Use persuasive writing to create a strong case for why your client deserves the grant.
  • Budgeting: Prepare a clear and accurate budget that describes funding strategies and sources and justifies each expense.

Check these article writing tips for beginners to help you write a great grant proposal.

 

Keeping Track of Submitted Applications

Post-grant submissions, your role involves:

  • Monitoring progress: Keep track of each submitted application’s status.
  • Organizing records: Maintain detailed records of submissions, correspondences, and responses.
  • Following up: Communicate with grant-making organizations as necessary to check on your applications.
  • Reporting to clients: Provide timely updates to your clients on the status of their grant applications.

 

How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer with No Experience

how to become a freelance grant writer

Learning how to become a freelance grant writer with no experience can be challenging, yet it’s possible by establishing a strong foundation in grant writing principles and progressively building your credentials and network.

 

Study Freelance Grant Writing

Initially, a newbie grant writer should start by reading books on grant writing, following relevant blogs, and studying successful grant proposals.

Understanding the differences between types of grants, such as federal and foundation grants, is crucial. 

Comprehending the typical structure of a grant proposal and the nuances of nonprofit language will distinguish your services.

 

Consider Taking a Grant Writing Certification

Certifications can lend credibility to your services. Look for reputable institutions offering grant writing certification programs.

These courses usually cover essential skills, including proposal development and funding research.

Upon completion, they provide credentials that can enhance your profile for potential clients.

 

Build a Professional Writing Portfolio

Start by composing mock grant proposals or volunteer your services to gain real-world samples.

A professional freelance writing portfolio showcasing diverse proposal samples is imperative.

Ensure it demonstrates your writing skills, ability to research, and understanding of different grant requirements.

This portfolio will serve as a tangible display of your capabilities to prospective clients.

 

Decide What Type of Grant Writer You Want to Be

Consider the industries and causes you are passionate about or have knowledge of, as specialization can make you more attractive to specific clients.

The different types of grant writing include:

  • Non-profit grant writing
  • Writing medical grants
  • Community development
  • Human and civil rights topics
  • Arts and culture
  • Homelessness
  • Child welfare and safety
  • Education and schools
  • The environment
  • Business grant writing

 

Join the American Grant Writers Association (AGWA)

American grant writers association homepage

Membership in AGWA can provide you with industry insights, networking opportunities, and professional development resources.

Being part of a professional association can also signal to potential clients that you are committed to the field and adhere to the code of ethics and standards of practice in grant writing.

The benefits of joining AGWA include:

  • Online certified grant writer courses
  • Grant writing courses for project grants
  • Online courses for grant consulting
  • Online courses for grant management
  • Listing in the membership directory that can help you find work
  • Get access to career mentors and grant writing coaches
  • Become eligible to join special interest groups

 

Search Career Sites for Grant Writing Jobs

Regularly check job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, and specialized nonprofit career websites for grant writing opportunities.

These platforms often list freelance opportunities which can serve as a valuable stepping stone to building your reputation and gaining more consistent freelance work.

Check out these best job sites for remote work opportunities.

 

Create a professional profile on LinkedIn highlighting your grant writing skills, education, and any relevant experience.

Join grant writing and nonprofit industry groups, engage in discussions, and post articles related to grant writing.

This helps you to market yourself as a writer and can help you connect with potential clients and industry peers.

 

Who Hires Freelance Grant Writers?

you are hired

When starting a promising career as a grant writer, you will discover a diverse clientele seeking your expertise.

Nonprofit organizations, which often operate on limited budgets, rely heavily on grants and may not have the staff to pursue these opportunities, making your skills highly valuable to them.

Educational institutions, including schools and universities, also seek grant writers to secure funding for academic programs and research initiatives.

Government agencies, though they typically have dedicated staff for grant writing, may occasionally contract freelancers to handle a surplus of grant proposals or special projects.

Similarly, healthcare facilities—ranging from small clinics to large hospitals—require skilled grant writers to obtain funding for medical research, equipment, and community health programs.

Private businesses, particularly those focusing on research and development, may hire grant writers to access governmental and private grants.

 

Foundations that provide grants can also employ freelance writers to help draft their grant announcements and guidelines.

Here is a list of potential clients:

  • Nonprofit Organizations: These include charities, advocacy groups, and community programs.
  • Educational Institutions: Schools, colleges, universities, and educational consortia.
  • Government Agencies: Local, state, and federal entities with project-specific needs.
  • Healthcare Facilities: Hospitals, clinics, and research institutes.
  • Private Businesses: Especially those in R&D or those initiating projects with social impact.
  • Foundations: Both those offering grants and those needing assistance in creating grant materials.

 

How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer: What is the Average Pay?

When learning how to become a successful freelance grant writer, it’s important to research how much to charge as a freelance writer in this niche.

For beginners in this field, the average pay can vary, often influenced by your experience and the demand for your skills in the market.

While starting out, you might find that the rates for grant writing services fluctuate significantly; however, a beginner grant writer can expect to charge between $20 to $40 per hour in the US.

how t become a freelance grant writer

Intrinsically tied to the earning potential is your proficiency in research skills, as they directly impact the quality and efficacy of your grant proposals.

Your potential income can also be impacted by the complexity and length of the grants you work on. It can take approximately six to eight weeks to complete a single grant, during which you’ll engage in writing, document collection, and extensive research.

As you gain experience and refine your research skills, your rate can increase, aligning with the added value you provide to your clients.

 

What Skills Do Freelance Grant Writers Need to Succeed?

woman at laptop

To thrive as an accomplished grant writer, you need the right skills that will allow you to navigate the complexities of grant applications competently.

These abilities ensure that you can identify potential funding opportunities, cater to the unique requirements of each funder, and submit proposals that stand out.

 

Good Research Skills

Your grant writing career success begins with the ability to meticulously research funding opportunities.

This involves exploring databases and resources to find grants that align with your client’s mission and objectives. Understanding the funder’s goals is crucial.

You’ll need to assess eligibility criteria thoroughly and analyze previously funded projects to determine a potential fit.

Effective research ensures that you only pursue grants with the highest chance of succeeding, saving you and your clients valuable time.

 

Strategic Thinking and an Attention to Detail

This skill is non-negotiable. When preparing grant proposals, an eye for detail ensures that all parts of the application meet the funder’s specifications.

You’ll need to carefully read and follow all the guidelines provided.

This includes formatting requirementssubmission deadlines, and documentation necessities. Small errors or omissions can lead to a proposal’s rejection, so precision is essential.

 

Persuasive Writing Ability

Your ability to write persuasively is what turns a proposal into a successful grant.

This skill entails crafting a compelling narrative that highlights the importance and impact of your client’s project.

Key to this is clearly articulating the problem, the proposed solution, and the expected outcomes.

Your language should be clear and concise, while also being emotionally engaging to resonate with the grant reviewers.

 

Excellent Time Management

As a grant writer, you’ll often work on multiple projects with varying deadlines.

Your time management skills are vital in planning your workload to ensure that you meet every deadline without compromising the quality of your work.

Efficiency in planning, prioritizing tasks, and setting milestones will keep you on track and productive.

 

Strong Proofreading Skills

Finally, strong proofreading skills are essential for producing error-free submissions.

This involves checking for grammarpunctuation, and spelling mistakes, as well as ensuring that your proposal flows logically.

Flawless documents reflect professionalism and attention to detail, which in turn builds credibility with professional organizations that supply grant money.

Check out these free tools to improve your writing skills.

 

What Qualifications Do Grant Writers Need?

qualifications

To embark on a grant writing career path, you typically need to start with a bachelor’s degree.

While the field of your degree can vary, majors that emphasize strong writing and analytical skills, such as English, communications, or journalism, are particularly beneficial. 

It’s not just about having a degree, though—your education forms the foundation upon which you build the specialized skills required to write grants effectively.

In addition to your degree, taking an online grant writing course significantly bolsters your credibility and expertise.

A certification can be a testament to your commitment to the profession and a way to demonstrate to potential clients or employers your grasp of the principles and practices of grant writing.

Your education and certification then work in tandem: your degree provides a broad base of skills necessary for communication, while your certification gives you targeted knowledge about the complexities of the grant writing process.

This combination makes you a competitive candidate in the field and assures clients of your ability to navigate the often intricate grant landscape.

In summary, this is what you need to focus on for qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree (preferably in a writing-intensive field)
  • Grant Writing Certification (showcases specific expertise)

 

How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer: Where to Find Jobs?

Becoming a freelance grant writer involves networking and meticulous research to uncover job opportunities.

Diverse platforms offer job listings, and you must leverage these to your advantage.

job search

 

Non Profit Websites

Non-profit organizations are prime sources for grant writing opportunities.

They often list openings for freelance grant writers who can articulate their mission and secure funding.

Visit individual non-profit websites and check their careers or volunteer sections; these are where they frequently post job listings. Establishing relationships with non-profits can lead to ongoing work, as grant needs are usually continuous.

 

Online Job Boards

Job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster cater to a wide variety of industries, including freelance grant writing.

To optimize your search, use specific filters for freelance, remote, or part-time work, if applicable.

You can set up alerts to be notified of new postings relevant to grant writing. Consider niche job boards like Idealist, which are tailored to the non-profit sector, to streamline your search process.

 

Social Media

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have become instrumental in job hunting.

On LinkedIn, keep your profile updated and use the job search feature to find grant writing positions.

Engage with others in your field and join relevant groups to increase visibility. Twitter and Facebook can be useful for networking with industry professionals and discovering job leads through various groups and hashtags.

 

Grant Writer Communities

Joining communities and groups specializing in grant writing can provide job leads and a supportive network.

These communities can be found on professional sites like the Grant Professionals Association or through forums and LinkedIn groups.

Participate in discussions, share your experiences, and build relationships with fellow grant writers who may know of job openings or need to outsource work.

 

How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer: Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you’ll find concise answers to common questions about starting and managing a career in freelance grant writing.

any questions

 

Can someone with no prior experience start a career in freelance grant writing?

Yes, you can start a career in freelance grant writing with no prior experience by first learning the grant writing process and essentials. Initially, you may need to seek education through courses or self-study, and gain experience through internships or volunteering.

 

What are the benefits of a career as a freelance grant writer?

The benefits of a career as a freelance grant writer include flexible work hours, the ability to work from home, and a varied workload that can provide a diverse and rewarding professional experience. You also have the potential for a lucrative income based on your expertise and reputation.

 

Is it possible to have a career in grant writing as a side job?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a career in grant writing part-time or as a side job.

Many freelancers start grant writing while maintaining other professional obligations, allowing for a gradual transition as you build your client base and expertise.

 

What are the pros and cons of freelance grant writing work?

Pros of freelance grant writing work include autonomy in choosing projects, the potential for high earnings, and the satisfaction of supporting causes you care about.

Cons may involve facing irregular income, the need for self-discipline to meet deadlines, and the necessity to continuously market your services to secure new contracts.

 

Final Thoughts on How to Become a Freelance Grant Writer

I hope you’ve gained value from this guide on how to become a freelance grant writer!

Starting this career can tap into your passion for both writing and contributing to meaningful causes. 

This work is well-suited for those with a talent for persuasive writing, a keen eye for detail, and the ability to synthesize complex information succinctly. 

Your journey begins with acquiring the necessary skills, often through a degree in English, communications, or a related field.

And, don’t forget to gain hands-on experience which can be done through volunteer work.

You can build your resume through internships or by providing pro bono services to nonprofit organizations.

 

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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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How to become a freelance grant writer
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