Starting to implement a grant writing strategy for Christian ministry, church, or other nonprofit organization can be incredibly challenging. Although grant writing is not an exceptionally difficult process, it is a very specific process which requires a strong knowledge base in fundraising, grant development, and fund development.
Most organizations start grant writing by putting another hat onto an already over burdened staff member. Or they use a staff member who seems to have the time to dedicate to the process but who may not have the aptitude and desire. I always say, no one feels called to ministry or nonprofit service to write grants.
Unless an organization has the funding to dedicate to hiring an experienced grant writer and support staff (researchers, editors, etc.) and can furnish this new office with the tools and resources it needs, they should consider hiring a consultant to get them through the strategic planning and development stages of establishing a grant writing strategy. A three year start-up period with a consultant will place a ministry or nonprofit on a strong foundation for future success.
What is gained by hiring a consultant? Below are a few of the many benefits your ministry or nonprofit may gain.
Knowledge & Experience – Grant writing consultants come with the knowledge and experience in developing grant proposals that have actually been awarded. We know the critical elements of a funding inquiry that will enable funding to occur at a much higher rate than someone without this knowledge and experience. We perform careful research to only include the most well matched foundations and to eliminate foundations that are not a likely match. Lastly, we have specific knowledge and experience related to your type of organization. Christian ministries and churches should look for a consultant with relevant experience.
Credentials – Grant development consultants have the appropriate credentials to document that they have the education, experience, and level of success required to perform well. Look for the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) as the primary credential for your grant writing consultant. change management
An Outside Perspective – Consultants bring a new perspective on your organization enabling them to diagnosis the issues that may be preventing your organization from securing grant funding.
Resources – Grant writing consultants often work with multiple agencies and organizations. They usually have a library full of grant writing books and resources. They subscribe to multiple databases to ensure that they have access to information on every known funding source possible. They usually have multiple staff members enabling them to have experts in research, writing, administration, and other areas critical for grant success.
Efficiency – Consultants have developed proven systems that enable them to be successful time and time again. These systems make forth an efficient process that would take a staff person years to develop.
Cost Effective – Hiring a consultant will save your organization valuable dollars. It is sometimes impossible to hire new staff during difficult economic times. Many organizations under estimate the amount of expense it will cost to hire a skilled and experienced grant writer. The average salary for a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) is over $80,000. Individuals with a CFRE are the ONLY individuals who have the independently documented experience, education, and success that you are looking for.