Many jobs in the human services, nonprofit and academic sectors require applicants to have at least some experience in grant writing.
Even when the economy is good, organizations count on grants to fund important projects and to allow them to continue moving toward their mission.
However, few people realize the importance of this skill, even forgoing opportunities to study it as an elective during their human services degree program.
Understanding how to write a grant, though, and why you need to, gives you an advantage over others when you’re looking for a job and can make you an integral part of any team.
After reading this article, you may want to consider a grant writing career.
What Is Grant Writing?
Service organizations of all sizes and in all sectors, whether a nonprofit that works with children or a government agency that serves the elderly, seek grants to help fund their work.
Essentially, a grant is free money; it’s not a loan that has to be paid pack, but rather a source of funding that comes with strict stipulations in terms of how it can be used and the expected results.
Grant rules vary by the granting organization, but in every case, those who wish to access the funds must present a valid case as to why they should receive the money over other worthy organizations.
Grant writing comes into play, then, as organizations attempt to convince the grantors to give them the money.
When you apply for a grant, you often have to complete an application, as well as written statements that explain what your organization will do with the money, the expected results — with valid evidence show why those results are valid — and other information, such as a background on your organization and its leadership, and a background on the problem you are trying to solve and the efforts undertaken to solve it so far.
Grants generally aren’t simple, two-page essays, but rather large scale, professionally-presented proposals.
How to Learn Grant Writing
The good news is that grant writing can be learned.
In a grant writing course, you’ll learn how to effectively present a case for your organization, using language that is effective but clear and handle all of the parts of a grant proposal, from the research to presenting financial figures.
Some grant writing courses also teach students how to identify appropriate grants and find additional sources of funding.
Most human services or philanthropic leadership programs include a grant writing course as part of the course of study.
In some cases, the course might be an elective; if that’s the case, consider taking the course to build your skills in this area.
If you can’t take a course, sign up for a workshop or training course to learn how to prepare a grant proposal, and look for opportunities where you can assist a grant writer to learn more about this type of writing.
Knowing how to get the money to fund important products is an important part of the effective practice of human services.
After all, what is human services without a means of reaching people and fulfilling their needs?
Understanding how the grant process works and how to access money for your organization makes you a valuable member of the team and opens up a wide variety of employment prospects.
About The Author
Molly Devine has a Master’s in Human Services and works with a child-focused nonprofit in the northeast. A passionate writer, her grant writing skills have garnered nearly one million dollars for her agency.