Earlier this year, a colleague invited me to join her in tackling a challenging request: A local foundation was hosting a workshop on financial sustainability for a group of its grantees and sought her out to lead a session on grant writing. More specifically: in 1.5 hours, provide a crash course in good grantsmanship (i.e., how tos, best practices, etc.) and also address the question of how to determine whether or note to engage a grant writer. No small feat!
My role was to focus on the outsourcing question, and to do so in twenty minutes. Given the time constraints, I kept it simple: consider your available capacity; the time to submission deadline; and the scope of the funding proposal requirements. In the slide show below, you can peruse the final presentation deck which covers each of these considerations, as well as some core best practices to be aware of:
Ready to learn more?
Links to resources mentioned in the slides, along with a few additions, are listed below.
Outsourcing for Nonprofits
- Do What You Do Best: Outsourcing as Capacity Building in the Nonprofit Sector, by Jeff Russell
- Bill of Rights & Responsibilities For Effective Nonprofit Consulting Engagements, Impact Rising
- The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Hiring and Engaging Consultants, Association of Consultants to Nonprofits
Grant Writer / Contractor Compensation
- Code of Ethical Principles & Standards, Association of Fundraising Professionals
- Principles For Good Governance & Ethical Practice, Independent Sector + HANO
- Classifying Employees Correctly, National Council of Nonprofits
- IRS Brochure: Independent Contractor or Employee
- Exempt Organizations: Independent Contractors vs. Employees
- Exempt Organizations: Who Is an Independent Contractor?
- Reporting Payments to Independent Contractors
DIY: Grant Writing Training + Resources
Keep in mind that some grant-making government agencies, e.g., National Institutes of Health, and many private foundations provide tip sheets and tutorials specific to the grants they award.
- Foundation Center – webinars, e-learning, in-person proposal writing boot camp, custom training
- GrantScape – webinars, e-learning, conferences, custom on-site training
- GrantStation – live and recorded webinars, online resource library (‘pathfinder’)
- The Grantsmanship Center – in-person trainings, print publications, webcasts, podcasts, newsletter
- Hawai‘i Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations – periodic trainings + webinars focused on grant writing, post grant-related job announcements
- Aloha Chapter, Assn. of Fundraising Professionals – periodic trainings + webinars focused on grant writing, post grant-related job announcements
Finding Grant Writers + Fundraising Consultants
- Seek referrals from peer + funder networks: there are numerous talented grant writers across the country, many of whom operate as independent consultants and primarily through word of mouth referrals. Tap into your network of local nonprofits and grantmaking institutions to seek trusted referrals.
- Query your board, staff, and volunteers: you may already have hidden grant writing talent within your team! Even if you elect to hire an outside grant writer, it can be helpful to have someone on your team with relevant experience who can serve as a trusted resource.
- Employ a request for proposals: if you’re having trouble identifying suitable grant writers, consider issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) as a means of surfacing potential candidates.
- Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
- Hawai‘i Community Benefit Consultants
If you have additional tips or resources to contribute, or if you found this post helpful, please be sure to comment below!