What Legitimate Grant Writers Do Not Do, And What You Should Not Do

Legitimate grant writing consultants Do Not…

  • contact your organization through any means (phone, email, fax, etc.) to offer unsolicited services
  • guarantee that they will get funds for you – grants are never guaranteed
  • guarantee when you will receive the funds – getting funds is a long-term process, requiring commitment and perseverance
  • work on a commission or percentage basis — this practice violates the ethics of the grant writing field

You should also keep in mind that foundations do not pay anyone a finder’s fee to bring in qualified applicants. And small businesses generally are eligible only for loans, not grants.

Do not work with any grant writer until they give you the name, address, and phone number of their company, the name of their CEO, and the URL for their website. Google the company and visit the website. Make sure the website information matches the information the person gave you. (Some scammers may refer you to a legitimate grant writer’s website and trust that you will not probe any further than that.)

Beware of those who sell kits or books but do not actually write grant proposals. You cannot learn grant writing by reading a book. And beware of those who claim you can get money for “personal expenses” like paying off credit card debt or starting a business. Grants are never provided for these purposes.

Be suspicious of any one claiming to be a grant writer who does not list their fee schedule. Legitimate grant writing consultants list theirs and apply it across the board to the organizations they work with.

Learn to identify legitimate grant writers

You can find legitimate and effective grant writing consultants…

  • in various professional associations, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), The American Grant Writers Association (AGWA), and The National Grant Writers Association (NGW)
  • in niche affiliations, including the Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA), National Outreach Association (NOC), and the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability (ECFA)
  • by using search engines, including Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Bing (But beware: Anyone can call themselves a grant writing consultant, regardless of their qualifications or background. This is why you need to make sure you hire one with a documented history in the field.)

It is also helpful to use a grant writing firm held by a credentialed professional. The most respected and accepted credential is the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). To earn a CFRE one must meet rigorous requirements and document education, experience, and the highest levels of success.

CFRE International sets those requirements to include:

  • No less than 5 years of paid employment in the fund raising field;
  • 80 hours or more of Education related to fund raising;
  • On-going educational and professional development activities;
  • CFRE candidates are required to earn a certain number of Professional Achievement points. Points are earned for specific amounts of funding raised, for public relations and other major Communications campaigns, and for strategic planning or organizational management projects;
  • Each CFRE candidate must also earn a minimum of 55 points for public service to professional associations and/or volunteerr work with community organizations.

There are telltale signs that separate legitimate grant writing services from scams. Just remember to be careful. Then you will find a consultant who will look out for your interests, helping you secure funds for your ministry or church.

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