Some of our clients, both past and present, have been new to grant writing. While working with them, we've heard some horror stories. Sadly, the problems that resulted might have been avoided had the organization known the warning signs to watch out for.
If you're working with a grant writer or looking to hire one, be on the look out for these danger signs!
1. Your Grant Writer Shouldn't Take the Job and Disappear to Write it in Seclusion
Expect to be involved in the grant writing process - especially if you're hiring an contract grant writer. Your grant writer is your biggest advocate to the funding agency, and as such, you want your grant writer to know the ins and outs of your organization, its goals, its challenges and its successes. An experienced grant writer will know this, and should take the time to get to know your organization's most knowledgeable employees so that she can produce the most accurate portrayal of your organization.
In addition, if your organization is seeking grant funding to start a new project, your contract grant writer should not also be your only program developer. You'll be the one responsible for enacting the program if funded, so you want to be involved in it's development - including the creation of it's evaluation benchmarks.
2. Your Grant Writer Shouldn't Hoard Her Talents
At TheGrantHelpers.com, we view every client relationship as a partnership. As such, we try to educate our clients throughout the process so that they understand the different facets of the work we're doing. Simply put, this is good business. If our clients have questions, we want to answer them. Does this mean that at some point, our clients might want to write a grant themselves, instead of hiring us again? Sure, that's possible - but in that case, we hope they will consider us for one of our many other grant-related services, as they will know that we have their best interests at heart.
3. Your Grant Writer Shouldn't Be Miserable to Be Around
This goes back to #1 - you should expect to be involved in the grant writing process, and as part of that, you should enjoy working with your grant writer. Take the time to find a grant writer that meets your organization's philosophy. You'll be more likely to end up with a grant proposal that fits your organization.
Do you have any grant writing horror stories? Did we miss an important warning sign? Let me know in the comments!