What Do Grant Writers Actually Do?
Grant writers are most effective when they become part of the team early on. This is particularly true when entrepreneurs and very early stage startup founders have little knowledge about how federal funding will affect their business development and growth strategies over the long term. A knowledgeable grant writer can help you explore these issues on the front end.
Three phases of grants and contracts
Many applicants just focus on getting a proposal together and submitting it on or before the due date. This can certainly be the most stressful part of the whole process! However, there are three phases of a grant or contract, and all three must be considered and addressed in the initial grant or contract proposal. They are:
1. Winning the award
2. Implementing the proposed project
3. Managing post-funding requirements, such as financial and technical reporting
Skilled grant writers can offer valuable knowledge and support to an entrepreneur or startup during all three phases. Savvy startups enlist a grant writer early on and utilize his or her knowledge of funding agency priorities, competitive proposal development, on-line application protocols, post-award requirements and implementation strategies.
I emphasize to clients that funding from government agencies must be spent in the manner described in the proposal. To do otherwise invites intense scrutiny of funding agency investigators and the potential for being charged with fraud, waste or abuse of government funds.
When interviewing potential grant writers, ask about their working style and information requirements. Better yet, ask for a consulting agreement with the roles and responsibilities spelled out so that both parties understand and agree on what, when, and how the assistance will be provided.
In my next post, I’ll tackle the question of compensation for grant writers. Stay tuned!