Grant writing is another specialty among the many genres of writing and an interview with Jennifer Rader gives some insight to the intricacies of successful independent-contracting as a grant writer. Rader started in the private sector of business working in management with press releases, budgeting, marketing, and cost negotiations. Upon starting a family she took on a role of a freelance writer in order to be more available to her family’s needs. However, she was very quick to realize that she’d need to specialize if she hoped to be successful in her new career. She found a great need for grant writers regardless of where her family moved.
Rader had plenty of professional writing experience in press releases, campaign packages, scholarship proposals, newsletters, and various pieces for an assortment of magazines. This shows she had exposure the concept of audience driven writing with bounded vocabulary and structure. However, she did expand her horizons by actually taking an advanced grant writing class in order to get the lay of the land, which she would also suggest to any writer starting in her same position. The need for grant writers is high due to the complexity and diversity that comes with grant writing, thus why it is so specialized in professional writing.
The first step is to find an appropriate grant and Rader stressed the reliance on online databases to search and best fit the organization with a potential source of funding. A lot of research goes into addressing the organization’s mission and purpose prior to even beginning writing. There’s various sources of funding from corporate, family and trusts, and government; all with different turnaround times and amounts of funding. Not to mention the various stipulations that come along with the appointment of funding. Since Rader is a freelancer that means that her fees must be taken into account when an organization is looking for funding and if it is available for the time she will put in to just find the grant that best fits.
Once a grant is found and she begins writing, Rader has various positions of the contracting organization edit and proof her content. In many way, Rader is constantly in an interesting position upon the subject matter she writes. She has found a niche and thus a formula for writing for education and outreach program grants, but it is always for a different focus or subject matter. Rader is a subject matter expert in the process of writing a grant for a type of funding and purpose, but will always be a new comer to the focal point of the content she writes. The need for program directors, development directions, or executives to edit her work is to ensure the mission and purpose of the organization is clear and comes across correctly. This highlights the point of and insider or expert trying to explain to an outsider of non-expert the crux of an organization. Rader recognizes that those assessing the grant criteria will need to see that the mission and purpose of the organization aligns with the funding agency or purpose of the grant, thus it needs to be conveyed well.
In many ways, a grant writer such as Rader has a special skill and experience to contribute to organizations in need, but the grant writers themselves do not generate the content that is submitted. She gets work by having a special set of skills that other writers don’t fully develop or chose to specialize in, which then allows her to network and gain more and more contracts. The non-profit circuit she works has her very well known as a freelancer and thus a viable option for hiring.
Interview from: http://www.catklaw.com/an-interview-with-a-grant-writer-why-you-need-one