Saturday, July 7, 2007

"Will I Work For Free?"

I get this question asked a lot. Here is a very good answer (credited to another grantwriter) who sums it up best!

Will You Work for Free?

Like most freelance grantwriters, I am frequently asked if I will write a grant proposal on a contingency, commission or percentage basis. In plain language, these people are asking me to spend many hours, days, or weeks working on a proposal for which I will get paid only if the grant is awarded. How would you like to go to work each day, put in your full eight (or whatever) hours, and have your boss tell you that you might get a paycheck in two or three months, but only if five conditions are met -- and you only have control over one of those conditions? I suspect that most people would find another job FAST! Who wants to work for free?

That is the case with grants. The grantwriter has control of one thing -- writing a good grant proposal. And this is assuming that the grantwriter receives all the information that he/she needs to prepare a good proposal. The grantwriter has no control over the many other factors that are considered by funding organizations in determining whether or not a particular grant will be awarded.

In addition, many people and organizations think that once they receive a grant, they will be able to use part of the grant money to pay the grantwriter. But this is exceedingly rare. The government won't let you do it, and neither will most non-government funders. So where are these organizations going to get the money to pay the grantwriter who has already done the work? If they didn't have the money to pay the grantwriter then, where will they get it after the grant is awarded? It's almost certain that it won't be from the grant.

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