Most nonprofits don’t like to spend money where they don’t have to, so hiring a contract employee can make the most sense. Grant writing is one way an organization can diversify revenue streams without spending a lot. Here are some simple questions to consider whether a contracted grant writer is the right fit for you:
1. Are you just starting your grants initiative?
2. Are you raising less than $500,000 through grant funding?
3. Are you looking for ways you can do more with less?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then a contracted grant writer may be a good fit for your organization. Why? Here are four good reasons:
1. Access to more resources: A proven contract grant writer often has more opportunities to build a good rapport with funders because they have worked with the funder on multiple projects. Where a full-time employee may only come into contact with a funder once or twice throughout the year, a good contract grant writer may be building that bridge several times throughout the year.
2. Fewer logistical challenges: Hiring a new employee means finding space for that employee to work and providing that person with a desk, computer, and office supplies needed to get the job done. Organizations that most need grant writers are often faced with the logistical challenges of finding more room for programming. Contracted grant writers most typically come with their own computers, office space, and office supplies.
3. Better use of time and resources: Consider your Monday morning routine catching up with coworkers after the weekend and that slow trip to the coffee maker before a leisurely walk back to your desk…multiple times a day. Sure, you’re adding to that friendly office culture, but are you meeting your daily goals? While some employers prefer to have a grant writer on site to answer questions, most salaried employees spend some % of their work hours focused on…not work. One of the benefits of a contracted grant writer is that they can often be paid by the hour and work to help you get the most out of that time in or outside of the office.
4. More room in your budget to serve those in need: According to PayScale, the average grant writer salary is $47,902. For a smaller organization that may not want to worry about the extra burden of a salary and benefits, a contracted grant writer may be ideal. Many organizations find they can contract with a grant writer at less than half the cost of a full-time employee. An experienced grant writing professional may charge anywhere from $40 to $100 per hour, which can be exercised to fit most annual budgets with the benefit of an experienced professional on your side.
While there is not just one ‘right answer’ for helping your organization build capacity, many organizations are faced with the reality that they must do more with less resources. The 2018 report from the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership found that while the nonprofit sector in Kansas City is on par with most similar-sized metropolitan areas, the total income and assets available in the region is ranked lowest. Across the country, individual giving is facing similar trends with a 3.4% decrease in 2018. On the flip side, foundation and corporate giving went up! So organizations that cultivate both individuals AND foundations might find their annual fund grew or remained the same while organizations that did not solicit grants might have struggled to keep up. As a whole, nonprofits must plan to diversify their fundraising strategies in a changing market, and hiring a contracted grant writer is one smart way to ensure you’re organization is prepared for the future.