How to Work Best with Your Grant Consultant

Many agencies hire a grant consultant to start or help grow their grant portfolio. And while that may seem like a simple solution to your grant woes, a they do not magically appear and take all the work off your plate. A good working relationship requires ongoing communication, shared resources, and joint effort. So, what should you expect when you hire a grant consultant?


Certainly, your mileage will vary depending on your organization’s grant readiness and fundraising goals, as well as the methodology your consultant employs to kick off the work. Even so, there are some universal truths that will lead to better success when working with your grant consultant.


First, grant work is a team sport. No matter how incredible your grant consultant is, they cannot work in a vacuum. This means you will have to share information about your organization – from important documents like your current organizational budget and 510(c)3 determination letter to details about your programs and needs of those you serve. To best write about your organization, the community you serve, and your mission, a they must first learn about you.


Second, everyone thinks their organization is grant ready. Nevertheless, most organizations will find they are missing something, whether it is a registration, current strategic plan, or updated org chart. This means your grant consultant will most likely need time to get your organization ready for its next grant proposal.


Finally, your grant consultant will want feedback and input from you on each grant proposal. At the end of the day, the proposal belongs to your organization. You should take the time to read what was written, confirm its accuracy, and update what is necessary. With that being said, trust that you have hired a grant consultant for their expertise and let them guide the process.


Understand that grant consultants charge for their work in a variety of ways. Some charge per hour, some per project, and some on a retainer. This process will be explained before you start your collaboration. But there is one thing you should be aware of: it is against the Grant Professionals Association’s Code of Ethics for grant professionals to charge for their work based on the percentage of the grant request. The truth is this: the size of the grant request does not necessarily equate to the amount of work necessary to prepare and submit the grant proposal. Also, most funders will not pay for the cost of a grant consultant, so consultants typically require payment before or at the time of submission, not when (or if) the grant is awarded.


There are so many reasons to hire a grant consultant. Kimberly and I recently discussed the pros and cons of hiring a grant consultant versus an employee in the latest episode of the Fundraising HayDay Podcast: .  No matter the route you take, bringing in an expert to help meet your fundraising goals is never a bad idea. Especially when you hire someone with experience in the field and passion for their work. The trick is, you must work together to find that success.


DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC is so excited to be season 6 sponsors for Fundraising HayDay, a podcast about grants and such. Catch up on seasons 1 – 5 and stay up to date on the new season here.

Don’t let grants stress you out, check out the helpful grant writing services our team has to offer here.

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