May 7, 2010Grant Consultant, A Great Work At Home Biz
Grant Consultant, A Great Work At Home Biz
Jillian Coleman copy;2003
Are you racking your brain, looking for a way to stay at home with your family, and still make a comfortable living?
Are you a good communicator? Can you sit with another person and understand what it is she wants? Then can you talk to her so she has a clear idea of your thoughts and opinions? Can you express yourself well in writing - take scattered information and put it together on the page so it makes sense to the reader?
Do you like doing research - digging deep and finding information? Are you computer and Internet savvy? Are you good at conceptualizing ideas, making plans and implementing them effectively?
Do you get a charge out of helping other people accomplish their goals? Are you inspired to improve your community and create new resources? Do you enjoy variety, and managing your own time and workload? Want to be your own boss?
Would you like a career that provides some visibility, and the opportunity to be well respected for your contributions, while you earn $50 to $150 an hour?
If this sounds like you, I'd like to suggest the best career you've probably never considered: grants consultant.
A career as a grants consultant does not require a college degree. This is a career in which your performance is much more important than any educational credential. Of course, grants consultants must be professional in their appearance and presentation of themselves and their services. That doesn't mean suits and high heels, however. The majority of clients are in the helping profession, so the dress code is usually business casual.
Grants consultants provide services to non-profit agencies and businesses in their communities. These services may range along a continuum from very simple to very complex. At the simplest end of the continuum, a non-profit agency, such as a shelter for battered women, may not have sufficient staff to write a proposal for a grant they have identified. So they enter into a contractual arrangement with a grant writer to prepare the proposal. Many agencies routinely use contract grant writers. Other agencies hire staff grant writers, and allow them to work from home.
At the more complex end of the continuum, a group of investors may be interested in building an affordable housing project. The consultant may participate in planning the project, help structure a consortium, lobby legislators, provide public relations, work with neighborhood associations, find a variety of funding resources, and write the grants proposals. At this level, the grants consultant may take an equity position and own part of the project, as well as earning a developer's fee.
Obviously, the services you could provide as a grants consultant depend upon your training and your existing knowledge base. If you have a background in business, management, finance, or real estate, that background has provided you with skills you may be able to share with your clients.
But even if your experience does not touch upon those areas, you can learn all the skills necessary to find funding resources and write effective grant proposals. And as you work on more projects, and gain more experience, you have ever-greater skills to offer your clients.
Here are three steps to get started on a career as a grants consultant:
Make an assessment of what you have to offer now. Write down the skills you have developed thus far, through previous work experience, volunteer work, education or training.
Enroll in a comprehensive, high-quality training program for grant writers. Be sure the training emphasizes research skills; writing foundation, corporate, and government proposals; and the politics and procedures of dealing with funders and clients.
Jump right in! Select a cause you support within your own community, perhaps your child's sports team, or a non-profit daycare center. Identify a small need (under $10,000), such as uniforms or playground equipment. Then volunteer to find money for them and write a grant proposal. With a couple of successful grants under your belt, you can begin to market your services to paying clients.
Jillian Coleman is a consultant to businesses and non-profit organizations. Her website,
, is a resource site for entrepreneurs, grant writers and consultants, and offers online training for grants consultants. Jillian is the author of books related to grants and business, including Big Bucks: The Complete e-Guide to U.S. Government Grants, and Build Your Small Business Now! Secrets of Success for Entrepreneurs.
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Posted by Staff at 1:42 AM