HOW TO BECOME A GRANT WRITER: Certificate Programs, Salary & Associations

how to Become a grant writer

Billions of dollars go unclaimed every year from unused grants, due to badly written grant proposals. To get your hands on the very best grant, you need to understand the free and easy steps on how to become a certified grant writer.

Furthermore, you must know how to clearly express your case logically and succinctly to the grant board. In other words, you as a grant writer would need to understand the grant language, formatting and presentation. On the other hand, choosing to write a grant application to a funding organization requires you to research and assess whether your project matches the funding organization’s criteria and focus areas to be eligible.

As you read on, this post will educate you on the skills and free steps you’d need to become a certified grant writer. Basically, you’ll get to know what it takes to write great funding applications, funding opportunities and a lot more.

Who Is a Grant Writer?

A grant writer is someone who composes proposals on behalf of others seeking monetary funding from governmental and non-governmental agencies. Grant writing involves writing proposals to request funding. According to surveys, it’s a very creative business that requires a lot of intelligence, articulateness, brainstorming and research in general. For the most part, a grant proposal writer doesn’t only write grant proposals but also provide support to his clients to increase their chances of getting their grants approved.

How to Become a Certified Grant Writer Free

You may be wondering if one could actually become a certified grant writer for free and then charge money for their services. The answer is yes. If you’ve been thinking of writing grant proposals for organizations whether as a freelancer or a full-time employee, now is the time to go right into it! Below are the free and easy steps that you need to know and follow to become a certified grant writer.

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#1. Educational Requirement:

Grant writing is one career where a more advanced degree may not be required, but will certainly be seen as preferable to candidates who only hold a Bachelor’s degree. Although, the field study isn’t relevant, however, a degree in a major that involves a rigorous amount of writing will help. For instance, a degree in any English related courses as Journalism, Public relations, Government contract management is an advantage.

#2. Learn How to Write Grant Proposals:

There are several routes to becoming a grant writer. The most important skill of any grant writer is excellent writing skill. You can acquire this skill by enrolling in an online program that will help you in grant writing, Basically, these programs enlighten you more on effective grant writing concepts, as well as areas of research, presentations, and networking. Additionally, it focuses on how to locate potential funding sources that match your organization well. 

#3. Become a Member of the Grant Writers Association

Membership in a professional group can jump-start your career. It gives you valuable credentials that would strengthen your resume which will help you stand out from your competition, and raise the bar for your charges.

Furthermore, it affords you the luxury of attending conferences as well as widening your network with other grant-writing professionals and potential clients.

For example, some professional associations like American Grant Writing Association (AGWA) allow you to use their trademark on your profile or resume.

#4. Acquire Industry Experience

Organizations prefer grant writers who have worked with nonprofits in other capacities. In fact, familiarity with a specific industry makes it easier for writers to produce a solid grant proposal. On that note, many employers lookout for writers who have personal experience with the industry which they seek grants.

Therefore, in the course of your research, find out these industries and gain at least two years of experience with them. For example, If you specialize in the Automotive industry, you need to understand the industry through professional or volunteer work.

#5. Create a Portfolio

To become a certified grant writer, you must be able to sell yourself as an excellent choice for grant proposal writing. A portfolio can set you apart from other writers. More importantly, it provides tangible proof of your skills and accomplishments while demonstrating to your clients that you are the best for the job.

Four Major Skills You Need to Become a Certified Grant Writer:

In our previous article on the right approach to grant writing, we took the time to enlighten you on how best to write and win whatever grant you are set to win. Nevertheless, here are the required skills if you desire to be a certified grant writer.

Be Research-oriented:

To become a certified grant writer, you have to be willing to seek information. It’s when you’re well equipped with the right information that you can write a solid grant proposal.

Be an excellent writer:

More than having the right information, a grant writer must know how to take data and transform it into a story that compels funders to take action. Your ability to express your client’s intentions clearly within the proposals is very important.

Be Learning inclined:

How to become a certified grant writer requires that you must be willing to learn. That is to say, you should be open to new ideas and suggestions.


Having the right information and clear expression within the proposal could mean less if you’re found wanting in this regard. Punctuality is the soul of every business. Therefore, a grant writer should be disciplined and always respect deadlines.

Grant Writers Association

The grant writers association promotes responsible, effective grant-seeking and fosters connections among grantseekers, non-profits, and funders. If you’re in America for example, the American Grant Writers Association is the national association of professional grant writers, grant researchers, and grant managers.

In summary, the overall objectives of the Grant Writers’ Association are to enhance the professional standards and ethical practices of grantseekers and grant managers through education (including online education) certification, networking, and professional growth.

Grant Writing Certificate Program

This program opens you up to the opportunity to learn and practice skills that would enhance your chances of getting your hands on any grant you apply for. In other words, it reviews the basic steps in drafting a grant proposal for funding, including planning, researching, and writing a grant as well as the best ideas to follow up with prospective funders.

Below is the list of some grant certification programs:

  1. The University of Colorado at Colorado Sorings-A to Z Granting
  2. WVDO Certificate in Grant Writing
  3. Udemy – Grant Writing for Nonprofits and Freelance Writers
  4. One Week Grant Writing Certification – Technical Writer HQ
  5. Thompson Rivers University – Professional and Academic Prop

Grant Writing Salary

Grant writers may be full-time or part-time employees and they may freelance and take on projects based on their schedule. A grant writer’s salary will vary based on their level of expertise and their job status. The common salary in the U.S, is $42.791 per year while some salaries range from $39,500 to $59,500 per year.

Things a Grant Writer Should Keep In Mind When Writing a Proposal (Characteristics of Successful Grant Proposal)

For a grant proposal to successfully achieve its purpose, the writer is expected to keep these characteristics in mind:

  • A grant writer after passing the above free steps should know the strong points of the organization he’s representing. That is to say that he should be well informed of their program, their best arguments, and examples. These ideas in return will give him a clear direction on where to start writing.
  • The grant writer should be able to Conduct activities with grantors in order to understand their goals and focus.
  • The preliminary proposal research should be thorough and pretty much covers every detail of the project. Furthermore, the proposal should describe each step of his plan and organize his thinking.
  • The proposal should clearly explain the entire project, especially sections which describe the need for the project, the resources, goals, and the budget sections.
  • The writer should ensure to follow all the funding agency’s writing guidelines and submit the application by the deadline.
  • The narrative section of the proposals should answer every possible question about the project. For example, if the grant is intended to promote education, you’ll want to make sure to highlight your organization’s educational activities, donations, etc.
  • Every funder has a mission statement that declares the scope of research they are interested in and has statements about their current priorities, with this in mind, the writer is expected to read those statements carefully and incorporate them into his proposals
  • The writer must not assume that just because there is a significant amount of money available, the funding organization will fund just anything.
  • Focus on the parts of your project you think they will be interested in. In other words, highlight your organization’s partnerships and success with other groups where necessary. This helps to build credibility and legitimacy.

Is grant writing a stressful job?

Writing grants can be challenging. Grant writing can cause tension in even the most composed employees in the office because of the impending deadlines, the obsessive details some donors require, and the ongoing worry that you won’t have enough money to pay your workers.

How hard is it to write a grant?

Due to its complexity and an extensive list of required skills, grant writing is frequently challenging. If you approach grant writing with excellent writing abilities, a general comprehension of the grant writing process, and a basic knowledge of grant funding, you’ll probably be able to pick up grant writing quickly.

Is there a demand for grant writers?

Yes, is the quick response. At the moment, grant writers are in high demand. The explanation is rather simple: Organizations desire free money and are willing to spend a lot of time writing grants in an effort to obtain it.

How much should I charge to write a grant?

Costs for grant writing typically range from $20 per hour for beginning grant writers to $150 per hour for seasoned writers who have won numerous grants. A typical intermediate price is between $30 and $75 per hour. If you are paying freelance grant writing costs, you should budget between this sum.

How many hours does it take to write a grant proposal?

A foundation application may take 30 to 50 hours to write, a state grant could take 60 to 80 hours, and more complicated federal grants could take at least 120 hours to complete. The TOTAL amount of time you will need to complete the work must be accurately estimated throughout the planning stage.


Grant writing can be a very lucrative business choice. You’re not writing just for the financial aspect of it. Moreover, as you’re writing to benefit from the job; also, you’re writing to help many organizations earn funding that will potentially benefit the community.

When writing a grant, be sure to refer appropriately to any past accomplishments that confirm your ability to succeed and your commitment to the project. Describe the partnerships you have established with complementary organizations and individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a grant writer do?

A grant writer is someone who composes proposals on behalf of others seeking monetary funding from governmental and non-governmental agencies.

How much does a grant writer make?

Grant writers may be full-time or part-time employees and they may freelance and take projects based on their schedule. A grant writer’s salary will vary based on their level of expertise and their job status. Common salary in the U.S, is $42.791 per year while
Some salaries range from $39,500 to $59,500 per year.

Is grant writing in demand?

According to surveys, non-profit organizations rely heavily on private grant dollars to support their programs and services. Grants from foundations, corporations, and organizations are crucial to keeping programs running, and grant writers are needed for their expertise in securing these funds

What degree is needed for grant writing?

If you are a prospective grant writer, you’re going to at least obtain a BSc. Although, the field study isn’t relevant, however, a degree in a major that involves a rigorous amount of writing will help. For instance, a degree in any English related courses as Journalism, Public relations, Government contract management is an advantage.

Is being a grant writer hard?

Grant writing is a challenging career. It can be frustrating and exhausting, however, with the right information and skills, it can be as easy as fixing a cup of coffee.

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