While grant funds should not be the only revenue stream for a non-profit, they continue to be an effective way to raise dollars and should be a significant portion of a non-profit’s budget. If your agency is actively seeking grant dollars, you may choose to hire an in-house grant writer or you may choose to hire an outside consultant. While there are pros and cons to both options, below are some of the advantages to outsourcing that you may want to consider.
- Industry Knowledge. A good grant writing consultant will have their finger on the pulse of local giving. They work with a variety of agencies, which gives them insight into which local funders are funding other agencies. This also gives them the ability to identify whether or not your agency is a good fit with certain funders.
- Objectivity. An outside consultant will have a more objective view of your agencyyou’re your program strengths and weaknesses. They will have the freedom to tell your agency’s leadership how they can improve in order to be more competitive without fear of problems on the job.
- Federal Grant Experience. If you are seeking federal grants, many consultants will have considerable experience in this area and will have served as grant reviewers for the federal government. Applying for federal grants will generally be much more complex than private grants, and consultants can bring valuable insight into this process providing a higher chance at success.
- Networking Opportunities. Grant consultants are often intimately involved with numerous non-profits and can help your agency to see potential collaborations and partnerships. They may even be able to help bring your agency together with another agency through an introductory process.
- Cost Savings. While consultants typically charge $60-$75/hour, you will not be paying them for a 40 hour week. You will also not need to pay them benefits or incur payroll taxes, which can be a considerable savings for your agency.
- Fresh Approach. Consultants write for many different types of agencies, rather than writing about the same topic on an ongoing basis. This variety allows them to bring a fresh approach and enthusiasm to each new proposal, as writing about the same thing day after day can sometimes be a tedious undertaking for a staff member.
- Management Experience. Grant writing consultants typically have a strong background in several key areas of non-profit management. They are knowledgeable about programs and best practices, have insight into creating well developed budgets, and have experience designing meaningful and measureable outcomes. They often have worked closely with non-profit boards, and many will have served as leaders of non-profit organizations. All of these are key areas of knowledge needed for successful grant writing.
Before you consider hiring an in-house grant writer, take some time and interview grant writing consultants in your area. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised at the wealth of knowledge they can bring to your agency at a very cost-effective price.