A great discussion today emerged in the Grant Writer's Network on Linked In "How do you deal with clients who don't provide you with the detailed information you need to write the grant?" This comes up a great deal of the time when organizations ask me to write a grant for one of their projects. Normally writing a grant takes me 8-16 hours of work time (depending on the program) and I don't feel good about billing someone for more than 16 hours for any grant, because it just gets expensive for them and it is hard for organizations to understand why a "writing" task could take longer than 2 full work days. The answer is, "when you don't give me the information I need and I have to repeatedly request information, explain and re-explain what I need, and/or I have to research and create statistics/budgets myself. With some grantwriting tasks I have spent more time emailing the organization's staff with questions and requests than I have working on assuring they have the best possible proposal to submit to a funder. Stressful for me, costly for them.
What should you expect to provide to a grantwriter?
- Organizational information: Mission, history, awards, reviews, bios of key staff involved, board list
- Project information: The who, what, where and why of the project
- Financial information: Audited financials, current year budget, working project budget
- Support letters from partner organization, or who to contact to get the support letters.
Project information seems to cause people more difficulty. If you lack program details you aren't going to be able to effectively raise money. You cannot wait to "see if you get the money" before finalizing your plan. Plan your optimal project and contingencies, then you are ready to raise the money!