Here’s a question we hear often: How much does it actually cost to engage a grant writer? Well, that depends!

Things that would influence the price include:

  • How complicated is the application process?
  • How ready your organisation is to apply. Have you completed a project plan and are ready to go? Or is it still at the idea stage?
  • Are supporting materials required (business case, feasibility study, community consultation evidence etc)? Have you prepared them, or do you need help to do this?
  • How much are you able to do in-house?

Understanding your budget

First consider: are you looking for a grant writer or a consultant + a grant writer?

You’re looking for a grant writer if you’ve got a project or program fully planned and costed. You need someone who can take your plan and translate it into a compelling case to funders. It is not the grant writer’s job to design your project. After all, your organisation is the one that knows what needs doing and will be implementing it.

If you haven’t completed your planning, then you are probably in need of a consultant plus a grant writer (this might be the same person/company). Depending on the scale of the project, you might need a project plan (ranging from simple to complex) through to a feasibility study, needs analysis or business case. Or you might need a combination of these things. If you are unsure, a good consultant will be able to support you to define what you need.

How much work are you able to do?

The more work you’re able to do, obviously the more you will save. For small grants, it is often not cost-effective to engage a professional grant writer (unless you are completely unable to tackle it due to a lack of time). If you can plan in detail (and it makes sense!) the grant writer will have to spend less time trying to understand what you want to do in order to communicate it. The most economical approach, if you have the time, is to complete the whole application yourself and engage a grant writer to be your ‘phone/email a friend’ when you get to a tricky bit and to review it when you are done.

Why not learn to DIY?

If you develop the skills to write your own grant applications, it will not only save your organisation the money it would cost to engage a professional grant writer, it will also increase your chances of winning that much-needed grant than if you are ‘having a go’ but without any formal learning to base your approach on. If you’re interested in honing your skills, register your interest here to attend our next Grant Writing Masterclass.

Ask for a quote early

If you’re considering engaging a grant writer and/or consultant, seek a quote early. This will help you budget as well as flagging to the business to keep a spot open for you. Good consultants and grant writers are often booked out months in advance or you might get gazumped by another organisation who’s already booked in. If you leave it to the last minute to get a quote, the grant writer might be able to squeeze you in, but they might also charge you a premium rush rate as they’ll likely be cancelling personal commitments and burning the midnight oil to get your application done on time.