11+ Skills for Grantwriters that May Surprise You

Current Grantwriters Share Their Thoughts

01 Grantwriting is a skill

Current grantwriters love to help new grantwriters.  They are willing to share their thoughts and ideas about all things grantwriting.  Active grantwriters have been sharing with me their answers to questions about many different topics.  I want to share what I’ve learned from them.   This post looks at “What skills do grantwriters need?”

Grantwriters shared the most important skills they think that grantwriters need to be successful.  Here are a few of the surprising results!

  • Humility, insatiable curiosity, and absolute dedication to improving your community.
  • You have to be okay with delayed gratification, because you may write a grant and may not hear from them for six months.
  • You also have to be okay with someone telling you, “No,” You have to learn you won’t get them all.
  • You also learn how to target your grants better so that a lot of the work is already done by the time you’re writing the grant.
  • I’m continually learning things, because the climate changes; you know we’ve had changes and the economy affects grants a lot. Politics affects grants a lot; policy and that sort of thing. You’re constantly learning.
  • An ability to design a program and to look at it from start to completion is a skill. I think one of the skill sets is to be intimately involved with the programming part of the organization so you can write from a place of knowledge.
  • A clear understanding of evaluative tools, evidence based evaluation and outcomes.
  • Some financial knowledge.
  • A really good mastery of community need, because when you’re submitting grants, you’re going to have to know the community from which you are submitting the grant. Local data, as well as national data …
  • You always kind of want to give a really good story.

What’s interesting to me is that the “most important skills” that are described by these grantwriters are not the things that most people think of before they become grantwriters.  These skills are not just the ones you find in textbooks.  What makes for a successful grantwriting career includes not only what you learn in a class or workshop, but also includes character traits like perseverance, willingness to fail and  to keep learning, relationship-building, and strong desire to serve others.

Without the basics, you won’t write successful grants.  But without the correct attitude, you won’t write successful grants for long.