How to Work From Home as a Grant Writer
Every good mom wants to be home with her children. One way to bring meaning and purpose into your regular at-home work-life is to become a Grant Writer. Grant writing is a profession for anyone who wants to promote high-quality social programming or to provide support to potential college students. Since most at-home mothers are people who care about our humanity and our world, this is a vocation that can be very rewarding.
The first skill needed for any competent grant writer is very high-quality writing skills. If you are a person who is good or who enjoys writing, this is easy to cultivate. The first way is by taking an English class, and using grant proposals as your works-in-progress in order to learn specific skills while you are getting started.
Another way to hone these skills is to get paid to write for editors who are demanding and who will cause your writing to improve while you provide online content. This is done by joining sites such as Suite101.com, textbroker.com or constant-content.com.
These forums offer writing assignments at a pay scale that matches your writing skill. If you are a beginner this is not high pay, but you are provided editing feedback and this causes learning to occur quickly. Your prose, grammar, spelling and content value will steadily increase in quality. By doing this, it will be easier to know when you are ready to begin marketing yourself online as a grant-writing specialist.
Another powerful training task is to go online to any giving foundation. Go to their “Grant Application” process page and download the application. This is marvelous practice. You can even take these same print-outs to your English class or you can craft them into articles to try to present through an online editor at a supportive writing site such as Suite 101. The editor there will give you feedback about how well it worked and when properly crafted, it can then become available for viewing and sales.
Everyone knows it is not quantity, but quality that counts. This is even more-true for writing content. The secret to becoming an exceptional grant writer is to know how to interpret your cause and how to speak to the foundation you are applying to with your proposal. Once you have perfected the art of writing thought provoking, clean and dynamic text, you can then begin honing the content and its assembly. The best way to do this is to choose a giving foundation where your proposal is invited. Go to this site and read through the language the foundation writers are using. Every non profit organization has its own “internal language culture” where they consistently use “buzz words” developed within their particular field. When reading the text they provide, make a list of these specific buzz words they use. Begin to integrate them into your proposal text. This signals to the proposal reviewer that you understand their language. This can increase the sense you are “one of them” which gives your proposal an advantage.
It is also necessary to deeply understand your program or your project. It isn’t difficult once you become familiar with this field. Every giving foundation that invites grant proposals for projects will ask very specific questions to be answered by the applicant. These questions invariably are designed to flush out any problems or difficulties the program developer may have missed. They pull from the author any information, statistics or facts that prove the value of the project. The question series cause this information to become well organized. It is valuable to any program development process, and can be used to train program developers in how to improve their program service designs.
As a grant writing specialist, it is your job to understand what makes a program worthy of granted funds. The passion needs to ooze into the text just a little, so the readers understand that this passion is high, transmittable, and can be converted into powerful arguments for program funding. It is also your job as a Grant Writer to know where to go for funding. This can also be completed with a simple online search. One good place to start is www.grants.gov. Another good search-word combination is: giving foundations with open proposal requests.
When looking for funding you can word-search for foundations that focus on your field of expertise or client proposal content. If you know “Tides Foundation” often funds projects for indigenous community enhancement, then you can word-search for “funding for indigenous community projects.” You can also talk to other grant writers. Ask them what their methods are. Join a Guild for Grant Writing professionals. You also can call giving foundations. It is important to inquire about what they look for when reviewing proposals. Since paid staff is required to respond, there is no reason not to call. Always call your foundation before submitting your proposal. Ask them about your project and what they are looking for in solution approaches. Comply with any suggestions they might have for you.
Finding your market is a bit trickier today. Most giving foundations do not want to see a budget that is giving part of their funding to a professional writer. They usually like to see that a paid staff member has done this. It is considered “outsourcing” and can be frowned on. This doesn’t mean you can’t get paid, though. It only means you need to troll for clients carefully, screen the project well for its viability and work for people who can pay you by the hour, by the word or by the project. It is important not to work contingent on the grant award. Good writers need to be paid. If your program or project lacks the stuff that passes muster with foundations, it is not your problem. It is a lesson for the program designers. This is why using giving foundation applications as a learning tool is so important for the grants writer. It trains you in how to recognize high quality proposals, and shows you when to decline a job.
To break into the grant writing market, begin by doing word-searches for grant writers. Observe how they are marketing themselves. I recommend creating a “bio” at the text-providing site you are training on that highlights your skill as a grant writer. The best marketing is to know you are advertising where your clients are. Grant Writers are usually very high-quality content providers and will often work in many online freelance settings. They also set up web pages “showing their stuff” in a professional manner.
Viewing these sites and biographies of other people and their work can help in planning your marketing strategies, and support you in developing the highest quality income producing online writing business. And it will secure your ability to change that diaper, or do a puzzle with your six year old before pouring more coffee, and getting back online.