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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do you hire a good grant writer?

Grants are available to nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses that qualify for government grants, and individuals who qualify for foundation or government grants. Hiring a good grant writer can help you gain funding in your chosen field. According to the American Grant Writers’ Association, grant writers can help you research potential grant opportunities; write grant proposals, create budgets, and build budget narratives; review written materials before you submit; prepare a business plan; analyze your organization for grant competitive qualities; prepare research grants; help with 501(c)(3) applications for nonprofits; and more. Investing in the right grant writer could result in a financial win for your organization. Generally no licenses or certificates are required to be a good grant writer, but you may want to find a grant writer who has been certified (not just received a certificate of completion) by a reputable organization such as the Grant Professionals Certification Institute. Qualities to look for in a good grant writer include:

  • Proven success writing winning grants, especially in your target area.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Strong math skills and demonstrated proficiency with budgeting.
  • Careful attention to detail — brilliant grant proposals may be rejected just for formatting errors, so you want someone who follows instructions explicitly.
  • Expertise in your target area.
  • Punctuality and good communication skills.

How much does a grant writer cost?

Hiring a grant writer can give you a competitive edge when applying for financial grants for your business or nonprofit organization, or as an individual. The cost to hire a grant writer can vary depending on their academic background, areas of expertise, previous grant writing success and years of experience. According to the Grant Professionals Association, grant writers should be paid hourly or by flat fee. It is unethical for a grant writer to accept a commission or percentage compensation of grant monies received. They can, however, be awarded bonuses in line with the hiring company’s prevailing practices. Here are some examples of average grant writing fees:

  • Hourly rate for grant writers with less experience or fewer grants awarded: $25-$35 per hour.
  • Hourly rate for grant writers with some degree of success: $35-$75 per hour.
  • Hourly rate for grant writers with proven success winning large grants: $75-$150 or more per hour.
  • For a smaller grant, the writer may charge a flat fee of $200-$500 for preparation and submission.  

Pricing may also vary based on the complexity of the grant application. A federal grant that requires pages of research, budgets and a business plan may take more than 30 hours to prepare. For a high-level grant writer who charges $100 per hour, this means $3,000 or more in grant writing fees.

Most grant writers will provide you with a total cost estimate before agreeing to the work. You may be required to pay a deposit up front, or the grant writer may work from a retainer. Often, seasoned grant writers pay for themselves in the long run by writing successful grants.

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