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Grant Writer Definition

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A grant writer is responsible for preparing the necessary documents needed in order to secure grant money from governments or foundations that provide grant funds to nonprofits, businesses or other eligible organizations. A grant writer’s job consists of developing proposals, writing project descriptions, compiling other information required by grant makers and submitting grant applications. The grant writer is also to provide post-project reports required by the grant maker, tracking the progress of grants that have been received.


A grant writer’s job is to provide all the necessary documents and other components required by a funding agency in order to secure funding for the organization on behalf of which the grant writer is working. This funding is called a grant and is differentiated from a loan by the fact that grant money does not have to be paid back. All funding agencies have slightly different standards when it comes to grants, so a grant writer may be asked to write and compile completely different documents for each grant he or she applies for.


For some grant writers, their entire job description consists of writing grants, compiling grant related information, and keeping track of new grants for which the grant writer’s organization may be eligible. For other grant writers, grant writing is only a portion of their job. A third type of grant writers do not work on staff for any organization but instead write grants on a freelance basis for one or more organizations.


While most nonprofits qualify for grants, only a small number of for-profit businesses do, and if that is the case, they probably only qualify for a limited number of government grants. Individuals may qualify for some grants, too, the most common of those being grants from foundations or education grants for students. Because of the limited number of grants available in other fields, grant writers typically find most of their work, either on staff or on a freelance basis, with nonprofits.


Freelance grant writers must guard against unethical behavior on the part of the organizations on behalf of which they write grants. Unscrupulous organizations may try to pay a grant writer only after the grant has been awarded or pay the grant writer with a percentage of the grant money. According to the American Association of Grant Professionals, both of these practices are ethics violations.


The term “grant writer” is misleading. A grant is actually money provided by the government or a foundation or organization. The document that the grant writer actually writes is a proposal in order to secure the grant money on behalf of the organization for which he or she is writing. For this reason, grant writing is sometimes called “proposal writing.”


Justice West is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who has been writing professionally since 2004 and freelance writing full-time since 2007. She has been published in "Flashquake," "Talon" and "Kaleiowhirl" magazines. West has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Kennesaw State University.

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