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Identifying grant opportunities, managing submission deadlines, grant writing and editing, program oversight, budgeting, and evaluation and reporting are some of the typical duties assigned to a grant specialist. Most specialists have experience and expertise that relates to the hiring organization. All grant specialists are required to have excellent organizational and writing skills, as well as analytical skills.
Superior Organizational Skills
Grant specialists are typically in charge of the entire grant procurement process. This means carefully reviewing and selecting opportunities, keeping a close eye on application deadlines, meeting all reporting deadlines, and more. Superior organizational skills are a must to ensure everything runs smoothly and no opportunities are missed.
Proven Writing Skills
Applying for grants is writing-intensive work. Most grant specialists evaluate, write and manage grants for their employer. Even in large organizations where the specialist takes on a supervisory role, working with other grant writers, strong editing skills and well-written progress reports are required.
A Clear and Inclusive Communicator
The grant specialist is almost always working in a close team environment. Being able to clearly communicate needs and goals is a must. Specialists may be asked to present on a regular basis, both to review proposed grants and to report on those already secured. Grant specialists also must clearly communicate with the granting organizations to increase the likelihood of successful applications.
Because almost all grant applications require the applicant to demonstrate quantitative, measurable, positive results, analytical skills are a must. Many grant specialists also create, manage and report on budgets related to their grant work, so strong financial skills are a plus.
Most grant specialist positions require a bachelor's degree. Some require a master's degree or better. The hiring organization may prefer a communications degree with strong writing skills or may look for a degree related to its larger organizational mission--for example, someone trained in accounting for a financial firm or someone with a social work background for a charitable non-profit. In very rare cases, an individual may be able to demonstrate enough on-the-job experience to overcome degree requirements, but this is the exception to the rule. Having a record of successfully awarded grants helps.
Since 1990, Laura Barten has been writing about health care, marketing, finance, work life, travel and the arts for industry-leading companies, nonprofits, newspapers and websites, including USAToday.com and Chron.com. As president of a marketing consulting firm, she's developed business/marketing plans, books, magazines, press kits and more. Barten holds a BA in journalism and an MBA in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.