Nonprofit Grant Writer: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nonprofit grant writer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Nonprofit grant writers work to secure funding for organizations by writing grant proposals and providing support materials. If you are thinking about working as a grant writer, you should hold a bachelor's degree, and it is also possible to get voluntary certification in this field.

Essential Information

Nonprofit organizations have distinct purposes and operate independently from the government. They support numerous and diverse causes, from the environment to human rights. Grant writers use their skills to secure funding for these causes. These professionals typically have a bachelor's degree in communications or a similar field and may wish to obtain certification to enhance their career prospects.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in communications, English, writing or similar field
Other Requirements Excellent grammar and strong research skills needed; knowledge of the nonprofit's particular field may be preferred by employers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% for all writers and authors
Mean Salary (2015)* $69,130 for all writers and authors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nonprofit Grant Writer Job Description

Grant writing can be a fast-paced profession. Grant writers may work on several projects at once under tight deadlines. Government policies and online submission processes change frequently. The availability of funding also fluctuates, so grant writers must develop a diversified network of funding organizations. Though challenging, grant writing can also be personally and professionally rewarding. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected mean salary for writers and authors was $69,130 in May 2015.

Nonprofit Grant Writer Job Duties

Nonprofit grant writers prepare grant proposals, beginning by performing research. To develop their proposals, grant writers familiarize themselves with an organization's programs, goals and financial needs. They also look into potential funding sources. After compiling all the information they need, grant writers compose and send their proposals.

Grant writers must also keep careful records to track their proposals. If a grant-making organization requests additional information, nonprofit grant writers supply the missing items. In some nonprofits, grant writers have additional duties, which may include managing volunteers, working with an executive board, planning fund-raising campaigns and promoting the organization through public relations work.

Nonprofit Grant Writer Requirements

Educational Requirements

Nonprofit grant writers may have a bachelor's degree in communications, English, professional writing or a similar major. Outstanding grammar and research skills are essential for grant writers. Grant writers who want to work for a specific type of nonprofit organization, such as health care advocacy, might also have an educational background relevant to that field. Some colleges and universities offer certificates in grant writing that complement a bachelor's degree or graduate programs in nonprofit management.

Voluntary Certification

Certification for grant writers is voluntary but can demonstrate professionalism and competence to potential employers. Professional organizations for grant writers that offer certification include the American Grant Writers' Association (AGWA) and the Grant Professionals Association (GPA). Professional certification is granted by these organizations for passing an exam and, in the case of the GPA, meeting certain prerequisites for education, experience, community involvement and professional development.

Nonprofit grant writers need skills to meet tight deadlines, and they have to be able to do extensive research. They also need to have excellent grammar skills, and the ability to familiarize themselves with an organization's goals and needs. Demand for all writers and authors, including grant writers, is low as job opportunities are predicted to increase by only 2% through the year 2024.


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