Thursday, April 20, 2006

How did you start? And what advice would you give to aspiring grantwriters?

Actually I started it on a more personal note and didn't even consider myself a grantwriter until I saw the specifics of what a grantwriter does.  It was the same thing that I was doing all along but didn't know that there was a name for it.  I was doing it as a personal kind of thing for family and friends.  Then when I started talking more about it, telling people that there were indeed funding and grant programs of all kinds I was called a scam!  So that really got me PO'd which made me want to know more about it.  And you know what I found out?  I found out that there were indeed grant programs to help start a business, people who have actually received grants to help start their business and how "big" business gets grant funding all the time!  I dug even deeper and found out the most unusual things like the man that got so much grant money that he gave some back saying that it was too much, the people that got a monthly check to grow weed for "patients" and just the most surprising information that one could find.  And it taught me a very valuable lesson and that was don't take what someone says as the end all be all.  If you have your doubts then check it out yourself and that is exactly what I did!  Do you know how good it makes me feel when I see someone saying that "there are no grants......" when I know for a fact that there are!  I started doing it on a personal level and then I start doing it professionally.  My very first successful client was a writer that got a $24,000.00 grant!  Doing grant research/consultation/writing is part of my "full-time" work but I do do other things as well.  I still have my very first business card client that I still do work for.

Yes I do enjoy my line of work because I can decide my own hours.  And I am quite suited for this type of work since I was a "bookworm" in school, worked for both H&R Block and the IRS and love researching things anyway.  There is a great deal of satisfaction when someone says there are no grants for.......and yet and still I have had clients - both personal and profession - that have gotten grant funding for the very thing that these people say that there are not grants for.  I will say that it is quite tedious and very detailed work but there are some people that are well suited for that kind of thing and I am definitely one of them.  I have worked during the night all the way to the sun coming up and me wondering where all the time went!

What would I recommend to an aspiring grantwriter who has a pession to help people?  Well I would recommend that you get yourself prepared to research!  Essentially you will be finding "needles in a haystack" and once you find those "needles" you are then going to have to make those "needles" make sense in other words you are going to have to interpret the sometimes complex wording used in grant applications/guidelines.  Remember you are going to have to explain these programs to your clients so the better YOU understand them the better they will.  As it is with starting any kind of business you are going to have to let people know that you ARE in business.  I have seen the very good piece of advice of starting locally by helping a few organizations for free - that way you start to get a reputation and "word of mouth" is the best kind of advertising their is!  

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