The Grant Writer and The NonProfit Organization

How does the grant writer fit into the nonprofit organization?

A grant writer is generally hired as a temporary freelance consultant when the current staff cannot effectively research, write and complete grant proposals while engaging in their current programmatic responsibilities.

We get calls all the time about hiring a grant writer as a regular employee or as a freelance consultant.  We built GrantWriterTeam to solve the dilemma for the nonprofit. Most nonprofits cannot afford an additional annual salary with payroll taxes and benefits for a full time grant writer.

 A request for a grant writer is issued and the bids for the job are brought before the Board, 

One nonprofit employee is assigned to the grant writer as the representative and liaison between the three branches of the nonprofit organization. This individual must have a passion for the work of the nonprofit, a clear understanding of the nonprofits operational procedures and access to the nonprofits corporate documents, and the programs and the need for funds, to take on this role.

Before attempting to apply for any grant be sure that the organization matches the eligibility requirement, as described in the grant application.  

What Happens If We Pay The Grant Writer And We Do Not Win The Grant?

The grant writer will prepare a well written document that can be easily tweaked or re-purposed and used in other grant applications. What's important is that your nonprofit's boilerplate pieces are well written and represent the history, governance, mission, vision, financial management, operational procedures and policies of the organization.  The grant writer should be able to guide the needs statement, programmatic plans, goals, objectives and evaluation and budget for the grant application.

One year the Ford Foundation received 144,000 letters of inquiry, e-mail requests, and actual proposals, but were only able to approve under 3,000.

By continuously working with the grant writer, the nonprofit leadership or staff member assigned, may get the-hands-on experience and training they need to continue the grant writing process for other similar applications.  

What Are The Three Branches of the Nonprofit Organization?

The Governance – leads the organization by administering the direction and guidance toward achievable goals and successful outcomes. Many decisions are governed by the board and the top tiers of management.

The Programs – Programs are the arms and legs of an organization. They take action to provide services, create resources, and strive toward accomplishing the organization's mission within the community.

The Central Administration – This includes the ballast of every organization: the office personnel and general staff who perform daily tasks to keep the organization operating smoothly.

What Are The Essential Roles Within the Nonprofit Organization

Board – This group governance serves to represent the organization and its community and clients. The board may also be held accountable for all policies and the strategic direction of its organization.

Board Chair – The Chair may appoint and coordinate committees, the executive director, and the board. This is also a position of leadership for the organization.

Committees –  They carry out the requests and operations of the board.

The Executive Director – This position is held responsible on all accounts of the organization, namely, the requests of the board, the committees' and staff's work, and much more.

The Staff and Volunteers – These roles are most important in building momentum for the organization within the community to achieve the organization's goals and mission. They generally support the committees and the executive director's requests.

To Read More About This Topic

Grant Writing | What the Pros Know: 50 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First Grant | Grants for NonprofitsNonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, by Darian Rodriguez Heyman.

The second edition is available for pre-order with this link: 

Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals




About the Author: Staff Writer

Grant Funding for Transportation Infrastructure Projects – Now Flowing to Cities and States


Opportunities for infrastructure and transportation grants don't come along every day, so when they do, it's important to be ready to take advantage of them. These grant applications can be lengthy and time consuming. GrantWriterTeam can help you find an experienced grant writer with a proven track record of success. Click this link to Request a Grant Writer.

Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants were announced on Dec. 11 at an event at Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters. The department said it divided the funds among 91 projects in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. The only state to not receive a BUILD grant this year was Hawaii. BUILD grants are designed to stimulate stagnant infrastructure spending nationwide, the funding will also provide jobs and economic stimulus for all areas of the country.

The following article was reprinted from Strategic Partnerships, with permission of the author: Mary Scott Nabers. 

There’s new funding – $1.5 billion – now available to fund critical transportation projects.  Government officials are moving quickly to finalize plans and contracting solicitations should be rolled out soon.  More than 90 road, rail, transit and port projects planned in rural and urban areas of the United States will benefit from the new grant funds to support expanding and upgrading American infrastructure. These funds will offer financial support for projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia and will supplement existing or alternative financing for the projects.

Mary Scott Nabers bookInside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large, explores how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects. Nabers describes in detail the development of joint ventures that transfer risk and maintenance responsibility to private vendors under long-term contracts–with government retaining control and oversight.

The revenue is part of the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Deployment (BUILD) grant program.  This program was once the very popular Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant program. The federal government encourages using these funds with a variety of other financing sources, including municipal bonds, public-private partnerships and/or alternative funding from other sources. 

Crumbling infrastructure continues to plague government officials. The funding needs for transportation projects are great, as evidenced by the fact that requests for funding totaled $10.9 billion.  That’s more than seven times the $1.5 billion that is available in the program.

Projects in rural areas received special dispensation. While urban areas must consolidate other funding with BUILD grants, public officials in rural areas can use this funding for up to 100 percent of the costs of a project. That’s good news for the 62 projects awarded grants in rural areas. Rural applications represented 59 percent of the total applications.

Approved projects include the construction or rehabilitation of more than 200 bridges nationwide, including $20 million toward a nearly $30 million rural project in California to widen a border port of entry. Restoration and rehabilitation of arches and their foundations on the Manhattan and Brooklyn approaches to the Brooklyn Bridge are part of a $337.6 million project that was awarded a $25 million BUILD grant.

Oregon’s International Port of Coos Bay plans to spend $25 million for improvements on approximately 15 bridges along its rail line.  The project will enhance safety and extend the life of the bridges. A $20 million BUILD grant was awarded to help fund the project.

The largest grants awarded were $25 million, with no more than $150 million awarded in any state. One $134.5 million project to complete a 4.8-mile, four-lane interstate facility in southwest Missouri that will bypass US-71 and connect to Interstate 49 in Arkansas got grant funding. The city of Spring Hill, Tennessee, will use a $25 million grant toward its $48.3 million construction of an interchange on I-65. South Carolina was awarded $25 million to help fund a $51.1 million freight rail infrastructure improvements project.

Texas dominated the field of grant recipients. The Lone Star State was awarded five BUILD grants totaling more than $104 million. With a goal of building a four-lane thoroughfare and improving two existing roads, the city of Haslet will use a $20 million grant to defray the costs of a $59 million rural project expected to relieve traffic congestion. Funding of $14.05 million was awarded to the Brazos Transit District to help pay for a $17.5 million project to replace more than 30 existing buses with diesel and zero-emission battery-electric buses.

In Maryland, grant funds totaling $6.5 million will help fund a $32.7 million public-private partnership project to add a second berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal. Sioux City, Iowa, was awarded a $7 million grant to cover the entire cost of a project to design and build an operations and bus storage facility for the Siouxland Regional Transit System. More than 100 traffic signals statewide will be replaced or enhanced in South-Central Maine with a BUILD grant of $8.2 million paying for half of the $16.48 million cost of phase one of the project. Some of the signal systems will include features such as adaptive signal technology, dedicated short-range communications and infrared camera detection.

The city of Espanola, New Mexico, received a grant of $1.29 million to help fund a $6.1 million project to construct a maintenance facility, vehicle wash bay and fueling station for the North Central Regional Transit District.  And in Youngstown, Ohio, upgrading pedestrian safety is the goal of a $26 million project that will provide autonomous transit shuttles, transit waiting environments, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and LED lighting. This project was awarded a $10.8 million BUILD grant.

The positive impact of BUILD grants is undeniable. Designed to stimulate stagnant infrastructure spending nationwide, the funding will also provide jobs and economic stimulus for all areas of the country.

The new funding is a positive indicator of a busy year in 2019. 

About the Author: Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI), a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S.