what is a grant writer?

The primary responsibility of a grant writer is to complete the application process for obtaining financial grants. Grants are funds from private charities, foundations and local or national government. While grants usually stipulate how the funds must be spent, they are not loans and do not require repayment.

As a grant writer, you research the sponsors or foundations to ensure that their goals match the non-profit you work for and they have funded similar projects. It is important to explain the grant's conditions and how to meet the proposal's terms to the recipients. You also provide detailed organisational information like accounting records and a plan demonstrating how the non-profit intends to use the money. You maintain contact with current sponsors and cultivate new support for the non-profit. Sometimes, you create a budget for a proposal and provide information on specific aspects of the project.

As a grant writer, you work for non-profit organisations or start-up businesses. Some grant-making entities also sponsor hospital projects and local government projects or schools. You can work for any entity seeking funds for their programmes. Sometimes, you assist individuals seeking funds for research or educational scholarships.

Would working as a grant writer suit your project management skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a grant writer role.

grant writer jobs

average grant writer salary

According to ONS, the median salary of a grant writer is £40,000 per year. You will earn a lower salary of £34,740 annually when you work in an entry-level position. Experienced grant writers make over £50,000 annually based on their experience and qualifications. Freelance grant writers usually earn on a project basis, and their compensation package differs based on the contract. Apart from the basic salary, some companies pay additional commissions or bonuses for winning grants.

what factors affect the salary of a grant writer?

The compensation package for grant writers usually differs with the employer, experience and qualification. For instance, if you work in a small non-profit organisation, you are likely to earn a lower salary since you apply for funds from smaller donors. Large companies apply for high funding levels, and their budgets include a grant writer's salary and research funds. The complexity of the role also influences your earnings. For instance, if the role requires in-depth research and top-notch proposal writing skills, you are likely to earn more and receive bonuses for winning the grants.

If you work in a permanent role, you earn more since you work full-time for the organisation. Temporary grant writers earn less and sometimes work on a project-by-project basis.

Close up - Smiling male looking away.
Close up - Smiling male looking away.

types of grant writers

Grant writer positions differ based on the type of funding applications and the industry they work in. Most employers expect grant writers to have specific knowledge of the industry. Hence, some specialisations include:

  • medical grant writer: as a medical grant writer, you seek financial aid to support medical research, projects and programmes. You assist healthcare facilities in securing funding for their programmes or research to improve medical services. For instance, you can seek donors for vaccine development or biomedical research.
  • charity grant writer: as a charity grant writer, you assist charities in seeking funds to run various programmes. You research grant providers with a similar mission and vision as the charitable organisation and draft a proposal to seek funds.

working as a grant writer

Here's some information on what duties, environments and schedules you can expect when working as a grant writer.


education and skills

There is no specific field of study for grant writers, but the following qualifications are necessary to improve your career prospects:

  • university degree: to become a grant writer, consider completing an undergraduate degree in business management, English, law, sales and marketing or journalism. The degree courses improve your writing, research and communication skills. Some grant writers acquire specific knowledge of the industry they work in by studying a relevant degree in their area of interest, like IT, science or medical research.
  • apprenticeship: work towards a grant writer role by completing an advanced apprenticeship programme as a proposal coordinator or grant writer. The apprenticeship usually involves a work and study programme with reputable not-for-profit organisations. The programme doesn't have specific requirements, but 5 GCSEs improve your prospects of joining.

grant writer skills and competencies

Some of the fundamental skills for a successful career as a grant writer include:

  • research and writing skills: you rely on your research skills to identify the best grants for your company. You also review the terms and previous projects sponsored by the grant-maker to ensure your objectives are aligned. Good writing skills help you articulate your ideas and communicate concisely. Your persuasiveness helps your proposal stand out.
  • interpersonal skills: you collaborate with a team of proposal writers and programme managers during the application process. You also require interpersonal skills to interact with donors and clients.
  • detail-oriented skills: you should be meticulous with details to avoid costly mistakes. Before writing a proposal, review each funder's guidelines, terms and conditions and deadlines.
woman at work
woman at work


FAQs about working as a grant writer

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