Re: Does grant writing fall under technical writing?

Subject: Re: Does grant writing fall under technical writing?
From: info -at- ridgeviewmedia -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 08:42:34 -0700 (MST)


Yes, grant proposal writing does fall under technical writing. And, it has
a Marcom slant to it as well. You have to write compelling content to
"sell" the organization to the funders.

The responses yesterday to your question are all excellent, particularly
the ethical concerns. The grant proposal writer typically is paid out of
the organization's General Operating Expenses and not from the funding
received. As others have written, funders want the grant to go directly to
the program described in the proposal and not have any percentage go to
the freelance proposal writer.

In October, I attended a grant proposal writing workshop at my county's
Volunteer Center. Search the WWW for "Volunteer Center" plus either your
county or your state to find the center nearest you.

Volunteer Centers are tremendous resources to the non-profit and
fund-raising communities. After four one-day sessions and a written
assignment, I received my proposal writing certificate from the Volunteer
Center. My instructor gave me rave reviews on my assignment, and I told
her that my technical writing, training design, and marcom backgrounds fit
perfectly into grant proposal writing.

I'm now working on a proposal for an elementary school teacher on a
freelance basis. I'm doing it "pro bono" so I can first build up my
portfolio of proposal samples. The non-profit and fund-raising communities
want to see experience and your success in proposals awarded.

If you're serious about grant proposal writing, I recommend that you
attend a chapter meeting of your local Association of Fund Raising
Professionals (AFP) and get on a volunteer committee. At the December
luncheon in my area, I was amazed at the "big names" attending, and the
group is extremely friendly. Wow, and are they all great at networking!
People go right up to each other with business cards in hand and say, "Hi,
I'm Jane/Joe from The Boys & Girls Club of Zizzie County...." Amazing. Who
was there? Representatives from almost all of the big-name hospitals, a
big-name philharmonic orchestra, playhouses/theatres, schools, community
organizations, you name it. I was impressed.

Bottom line: I've added grant proposal writing to the freelance services I
offer, and it's something I've wanted to do for a very long time.

Like Deborah, I've worked on enough hardware, software, and training
design projects to see them last a few months (or a couple of years), and
then be scrapped when a new manager "rode into town" to place his or her
stamp on the organization. At least I gained great skills and experience.

With the steep stock market downturn, foundations and corporations will
have fewer funds to award. They have lost from 40% to 50% of their funding
portfolio's value (Harvard's lost 30%).

So, if the really talented folks in the technical writing world (that
means you all!) want to contribute something truly meaningful, by all
means contact your local Volunteer Center, get certified, and then go use
the database they have on site and search for grants to your heart's
content. Network like crazy among the non-profit communities, and have

I'm excited about grant proposal writing but it won't pay all of the
bills. I'm supplementing that "gig" with technical writing and
instructional design work. In my area, beginning grant proposal writers
can charge $50/hour. My certification instructor was commanding $100/hour
until she retired, but she also was writing proposals for state and
federal grants and has 30+ years experience in the non-profit sector. I'll
get there one day because I know a technical writer's background is
perfect for those large state and federal applications.

Sorry this is so long, but I'm excited about grant proposal writing!

(I've been lurking on Techwr-L since 1998. I wrote some posts in the
distant past, but haven't in the last four years. It's nice to see this
community still thriving!)

Jenise Cook
Independent Consultant
Instructional Design/Development | Technical Communication | info -at- ridgeviewmedia -dot- com


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