by: Lisa J. Lehr
If youâ€™re a nonprofitâ€”especially one with a small budgetâ€”you may be wondering if you can justify the expense of hiring a professional writer for your grant proposals and fundraising letters. The answer isâ€¦
And Iâ€™m going to tell you whyâ€¦and how.
Unless a staff member or volunteer in your organization is an accomplished writer, itâ€™s not the best use of your limited resources (read: time and money) for you (or him or her) to be trying to wear a hat that doesnâ€™t fit. Grant proposals and fundraising letters are highly specialized forms of writing that require special skill.
There are two main types of funding for nonprofitsâ€”donations from individuals and groups, and grants from foundations.
First, work on developing a donor base by appealing to those in your community and the wider world who share a passion for your organizationâ€™s cause.
A professional writer with a marketing background is the ideal person for this job. After all, a really effective fundraising letter is nothing more than a persuasive sales toolâ€”one that sells a financial and often deeply personal investment in your cause. Strive to find a writer who has a marketing background and a passion for your mission, whether it be animals, children, education, the environmentâ€”whatever your worthy cause.
Then, explore grants available to your organization. Your staff member or volunteer can begin by identifying those foundations that fund your type of organization. The next step is to prepare well-written, technically correct proposals enabling you to be considered; this is where you can benefit from an independent grant writer.
Many nonprofits hire a full-time grant writer, an investment that is usually profitable, and therefore easily justifiable. A full-time grant writer has not only the writing skill but the ability to work under deadline pressure, the time, and the inclinationâ€”because thatâ€™s what a grant writer does.
Again, look for a writer who is passionate about your cause.
How will you pay the grant writer?
Nonprofits: Should You Hire a Professional Writer for Your Fundraising?
About The Author
Lisa J. Lehr is a freelance writer with a specialty in business and marketing communications. She holds a biology degree and has worked in a variety of fields, including the pharmaceutical industry and teaching. She is also a graduate of American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), Americaâ€™s leading course on copywriting. Contact Lisa J. Lehr Copywriting www.ljlcopywriting.com, Lisa@ljlcopywriting.com for help with your business writing needs.
This article © Lisa J. Lehr 2005.
REDF, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, will receive a $7 Million grant from the federal Social Innovation Fund program.