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Grant writers help individuals, groups, communities and organizations secure funding from donors. Their job involves conducting research, writing grant proposals and responding to questions from the funding organizations. Prospective grant writers should be college graduates with strong research and communication skills, and writing experience.
Although grant writers come from diverse academic backgrounds, those with a bachelor’s degree in English, marketing, communication or journalism are attractive to potential employers. Apart from the knowledge acquired from pursuing an academic degree, future grant writers also need a detailed understanding of federal, state and local grant regulations and policies. Because many employers prefer grant writers with at least a year’s work experience, it is desirable to volunteer in a grant-making organization immediately after graduating.
Nurturing the Skills
To perform the job successfully, grant writers must possess superior skills in writing, research and organizing. When writing a grant for an animal welfare charity, for example, you must research the organizations that offer support to animal welfare charities and determine their conditions for funding. Use this information to craft a well-prepared and thoughtfully planned grant proposal. You must be organized to work with the many documents required to complete the process. Strong interpersonal skills are essential, too.
Obtaining a professional credential is not a mandatory requirement for employment, but it can enhance your credibility and employment prospects. The American Grant Writers Association offers the Certified Grant Writer Certification for professionals who wish to demonstrate proficiency in grant writing. Aspiring credential holders must be at least 21 and a member of the group. They must also pass a five-section exam. Although recommended, a bachelor's degree is not a certification requirement.
Finding a Job
Qualified grant writers can find jobs in a variety of settings, including charities, healthcare facilities, schools and research institutions, conservation organizations and housing associations. Some professionals also practice on a freelance basis. After gaining vast work experience, some grant writers move into self-employment by starting their own grant-writing businesses.
Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.