Careers in Grant Writing

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Looking for an entry level job or internship in grant writing? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

One of the nonprofits I’ve volunteered for that’s pretty prevalent across most college campuses is Habitat for Humanity. They’re focused on providing a decent place for everyone in the world to live. I’m lucky to have had the chance to help them construct a house for a family in need, but none of that could have happened without funding. In order to secure funding, Habitat had to work with a grant writer who helped them through the application process.

Grant Writing Careers

Photo Credit: Flickr user FirstBaptistNashville

Grant Writing Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Grant Writer Does
  2. A Typical Day for a Grant Writer
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Grant Writer
  4. Best Locations for Grant Writers
  5. Pros and Cons of Being a Grant Writer
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career in Grant Writing
  7. Grant Writing Resources
  8. Careers Related to Grant Writing
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Grant Writing

What a Grant Writer Does

A grant writer researches and writes grant proposals to obtain funding for a corporation, non-profit organization, or government agency. (A grant proposal is an application process for receiving funding.) A grant writer must have a broad knowledge of what the business or organization provides, so they must understand the program, its financial details, and where to find appropriate funding. Due to the knowledge base required, grant writers may choose to specialize in a particular field, such as educational grant writing or medical grant writing, which is typical of those who work at larger organizations. Those working at smaller organizations, where the majority of grant writing jobs fall, are “generalists”. In this case you are not only responsible for drafting proposals but are also charged with researching donors and managing grants that have been awarded.

A Typical Day for a Grant Writer

During a typical day, a grant writer might:

  • Write and develop grant proposals–detailed written plans of action
  • Edit the proposal
  • Submit it to the funding source and follow up
  • Consult with clients
  • Brainstorm workable solutions
  • Establish goals and objectives
  • Conduct research on potential donors
  • Work with staff to develop fundable programs
  • Ensure the program is being conducted as promised

Salary and Career Progression for a Grant Writer

A grant writer makes between $25,000 and $65,000 per year, with the median salary in 2009 being $51,967. If you freelance, you’d be looking at about $40 to $100 an hour depending on your level of experience. From there you can go on to become a Senior Grant Writer ($35,000-$102,000), a Director of Development ($31,000-$87,000), or a Director of Grants ($40,000-$98,000).

Best Locations for Grant Writers

Here are some hot spots for grant writers:

  • San Francisco, California
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • New York, New York
  • Austin, Texas
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Washington DC

Pros and Cons of Being a Grant Writer

Pros
  • Opportunity to freelance
  • You’ll be working for a good cause
Cons
  • Smaller salary
  • Requires very specific knowledge set in many cases
  • Lengthy projects, so not as much variety

What You Need to Know for a Career in Grant Writing

To be a grant writer you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, typically in English or Communications, or experience working with similar organizations in a similar capacity. Courses that are beneficial to grant writers include technical writing and editing classes. Some additional skills you’ll need are excellent writing skills, strong research skills, discipline and organization, and great communication skills.

Grant Writing Resources

If grant writing still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

Required Reading

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Job Search Resources

Careers Related to Grant Writing

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RFP Writer / Project Manager
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Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
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Service Information Development Administrator
Security Inspection Rochester, MI
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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Grant Writing

Small Business Majority Logo

Small Business Majority - Small Business Majority is a San Francisco, CA based “national small business organization" that focuses "on solving the biggest problems facing small businesses today.”

See the complete Small Business Majority profile


The Music Center Logo

The Music Center - The Music Center is “one of the largest and most highly regarded performing arts centers in the country."

See the complete The Music Center profile


American Conservatory Theater Logo

American Conservatory Theater - American Conservatory Theater is a San Francisco based non-profit that aims to "renew, and reinvent the rich theatrical traditions that are our collective legacy."

See the complete American Conservatory Theater profile


The Telling Room Logo

The Telling Room - The Telling Room is a Portland, ME based non-profit that aims “to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for students.”

See the complete The Telling Room profile


International Council on Clean Transportation Logo

International Council on Clean Transportation - International Council on Clean Transportation is a Washington, DC based org that aims “to improve the energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation."

See the complete International Council on Clean Transportation profile


City Parks Foundation Logo

City Parks Foundation - City Parks Foundation is a New York, NY based non-profit that creates “programs in parks throughout all five boroughs of New York City.”

See the complete City Parks Foundation profile


Museum of the City of New York Logo

Museum of the City of New York - The Museum of the City of New York is a private, not-for-profit, educational institution founded in 1923 for the purpose of presenting the history of New York City.

See the complete Museum of the City of New York profile


Association of Public Health Laboratories Logo

Association of Public Health Laboratories - The Association of Public Health Laboratories in Silver Spring, MD promotes public health labs and has some great job opportunities for new grads.

See the complete Association of Public Health Laboratories profile


Fractured Atlas Logo

Fractured Atlas - Fractured Atlas is a New York, NY based non-profit organization that helps artists on the business side, and they have some cool job openings.

See the complete Fractured Atlas profile


Seeds of Peace Logo

Seeds of Peace - Seeds of Peace is a New York, NY based non-profit that brings together youth from embattled nations "to advance reconciliation and coexistence."

See the complete Seeds of Peace profile


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Logo

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - Lincoln Center is "the world’s leading performing arts center," and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is the organization that runs it. They're hiring.

See the complete Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts profile


Share Our Strength Logo

Share Our Strength - If you like what Share Our Strength is doing to end childhood hunger, check out their job opportunities.

See the complete Share Our Strength profile


Museum of Food and Drink Logo

Museum of Food and Drink - If you love the culture of food, a job with the Museum of Food and Drink would be a dream come true.

See the complete Museum of Food and Drink profile


Freedom House Logo

Freedom House - If you're up for "opposing tyranny around the world," then a job with Freedom House, based in Washington, D.C., would be a great fit for you!

See the complete Freedom House profile


Disaster Accountability Project Logo

Disaster Accountability Project - If you’re passionate about how our government deals with disasters, then you should get involved with the Disaster Accountability Project.

See the complete Disaster Accountability Project profile


Environment America Logo

Environment America - As you can see, Environment America spreads their work across a lot of issues, which means that they have a ton of different job opportunities.

See the complete Environment America profile


Genetic Alliance Logo

Genetic Alliance - If you’re passionate about genetics and health, then you might want to consider a job at Genetic Alliance.

See the complete Genetic Alliance profile


Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Logo

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation - Although the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation doesn’t have any permanent positions posted right now, they do have an annual fellowship that they offer.

See the complete Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation profile


Oceana Logo

Oceana - If you love the oceans as much as I do, you might want to consider jobs at Oceana—they have a couple of opportunities that seem suitable for recent grads.

See the complete Oceana profile


Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Logo

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research - Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is working tirelessly to cure Parkinson's, and right now they're hiring new grads to help.

See the complete Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research profile


Right To Play Logo

Right To Play - Right now, Right to Play’s Jobs page has a number of openings posted. None are explicitly entry level, but there are still a couple worth checking out.

See the complete Right To Play profile


US Soccer Foundation Logo

U.S. Soccer Foundation - Right now, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has one job opening that we think might be a good fit for a new college grad. It’s a position as a Grant Assistant.

See the complete U.S. Soccer Foundation profile


Harlem RBI Logo

Harlem RBI - Located in NYC, Harlem RBI is a non-profit that is cultivating the love of baseball in the city's youth.

See the complete Harlem RBI profile



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