Do I Include Myself in a Grant Proposal So I Get Paid for Writing It?

How do I write myself into a grant so that I get paid for writing the grant proposal?

The costs of planning and writing a grant proposal are the responsibility of the applicant organization. It is extremely rare for a funder to allow a grant to pay for work that has been done before a grant award is made. In those very rare cases when a funder will allow pre-award costs to be covered by a grant, that will be addressed specifically in the application instructions. In general, you cannot include grant proposal writing in the budget.

How Do I Value Volunteer Time in a Grant Proposal?

How do you value volunteer time for a grant proposal?

Unless the funder gives different instructions, it is always best to use the guidelines provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in Circular A-110. This requires that you value volunteer time at the rate your organization would have to pay someone to do the specific work performed by the volunteer.

Here's the excerpt from that guidance. "Volunteer services furnished by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor may be counted as cost sharing or matching if the service is an integral and necessary part of an approved project or program. Rates for volunteer services shall be consistent with those paid for similar work in the recipient's organization. In those instances in which the required skills are not found in the recipient organization, rates shall be consistent with those paid for similar work in the labor market in which the recipient competes for the kind of services involved. In either case, paid fringe benefits that are reasonable, allowable, and allocable may be included in the valuation."

But always read a funder's instructions carefully. Even some federal agencies will provide a figure that must be used for valuing volunteer time.

How in the world do I find a funder for a Spanish adaptation of Shakespeare?

I have been given the task of researching funding for a specialized project our theatre will be undertaking next seasona Spanish adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. A limited number of funders will be interested in this project and I need advice on how best to search for those that may be interested. I have tried the obvious method of checking the "Hispanic" box in your search engine, but that only brings up a very small number of results and none seem applicable. Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

First, check out the National Endowment for the Arts ( and the National Endowment for the Humanities ( They may have grant programs relevant to your need.

You'll also want to check out companies that do business in your community and that have an interest in the arts, the Hispanic population, or both. Companies may support your work through their corporate giving programs.

Contact your local community foundation. It may be willing to help, but even if it can't make a grant, it is likely to be a great source for ideas and information. For a project such as this, individuals may be a primary source of support. Look for people of means in your community who are of Spanish descent and ask them for help and for ideas.

Do some research, ask around. Try to locate other theatre groups that have received funding for similar work. Once you find them, contact them and ask for advice.

When you use The Grantsmanship Center’s funder databases, or any other database, be sure to think broadly about the key words you’ll use in the search. Don’t focus entirely on one key word, such as "Hispanic," but branch out and also use words such as drama, theatre, accessibility, under-served, literature, Shakespeare, etc. When we limit our search to just one specific term we are less likely to bring up all the possibilities.

What does a funder mean by "design of the project"?

What does the funder mean by Design of the Project? This funder requests: A description of the organization and an indication of competence in the area of this proposal. An outline of the project, including: who it will benefit, design of the project, outcomes expected A brief (2 or 3 lines) overview of your budget, income sources and expenses for this project.
The design of the project may also be called methods, approach, or program plan. The funder wants to understand the activities your organization will implement in order to produce the expected outcomes -- and will also want to know why you chose the approach and why you expect it to work. Be as specific as possible. Include the number to be served, the hours and locations of services, the types of services or programs that will be offered, etc.

Should the introduction section of a proposal describe my organization, which will be the applicant? Or should it describe the organization that will be implementing the program?

My organization is seeking funding for a program that will be delivered by another organization. In my letter of inquiry do I provide information about my organization because it will receive the grant, distribute the funds, and oversee program implementation? Or do I provide information about the organization that will actually do the work?
Both. You must provide information about the applicant organization because it will manage the grant and will be responsible for financial management and reporting, and for program implementation. But you must also provide information about your partner organization because its capacity to carry out the work is critical to the proposal's credibility. Any funder will want to know about fiscal management and program oversight, and also about the competency of those doing the work. Clearly define the role of each organization.

Can I bundle several requests into one proposal, or is it best to separate them?

We need funding for building and equipping an orphanage, and we also need start-up funding for salaries, etc. Would it be better to approach these funding needs in stages, with Stage One being the building, Stage Two being the equipment, and Stage Three being programming?

Yes. Generally, it's best not to lump capital projects (building projects) and operations into the same funding request. Submit requests for capital projects to grantmakers who have a history of providing that specific variety of support. And submit grant requests for program funding to grantmakers with a demonstrated interest and funding history that's appropriate for that request.

But, start by laying out the big plan, and always keep that in mind. Stages or Phases are logical ways to break down the big plan.

How can I document the economic benefits of the arts?

I am working on a proposal for the local community college to gain support to build a professional theatre complex. I need statistical data demonstrating the impact of professional theatre to the economic growth of the city. I know that arts and culture bring in business, but I need evidence beyond my own experiences. Any idea where I can look?

Be sure to do thorough internet research, there is a ton of available data. Large organizations like The National Endowment for the Arts can steer you towards more specific information. For example, Americans for the Arts did an economic prospectus about the impact of the arts in America. One could use this type of data to support claims about how theater or dance programs raise a community's economic standing.

What is the average salary for a grant proposal writer?

I am looking for information regarding average salaries for grant writers.

Salaries for proposal writers vary tremendously. They'll be affected by the location, the competition, the experience of the grants professional, and the size and complexity of the organization that's hiring. Ask others in your community who write grant proposals. See if the local United Way has salary survey information.

I work for a symphony and have a hard time writing measurable program outcomes

I work for a symphony and writing measurable objectives for grant proposals is difficult. One foundation asks for three objectives. Were giving away 500 tickets to community service organizations, so one objective is to increase participation by youth and disadvantaged community members by 500 for the season. What else can I measure? The conductor explains every piece prior to playing it, so I could address education. I included one objective stating that 10% (50) of those who use the 500 free tickets will continue to attend long-term, but that seems high to me. And how can I measure it?

Check out The Grantsmanship Center's publication on adapting the Program Planning & Proposal Writing model for the arts. That will provide some guidance.

Outcomes (or what you call objectives here) are measurable changes in conditions, behaviors, or attitudes. The first outcome you propose is specific and measurable.

You might also propose that following the performance, 75% (375) of those who use the tickets will increase their understanding of symphonic music; and that 75% will indicate that they would attend again if possible. To determine the degree to which these proposed outcomes are met, you might consider offering each person who uses a free ticket some small bonus or gift if they’ll complete a very simple survey (only 3 questions) after the performance.

The survey could ask questions such as:

1) Did your attendance result in increased understanding and knowledge about classical music?

2) Did you enjoy the performance?

3) If you had the opportunity to attend another performance, would you?

Talk to the funders to which you plan to submit grant requests. They may have ideas for reasonable and meaningful outcomes. Check out the National Endowment for the Arts website. The Endowment is very tuned into the issue of measurable outcomes.

I don't have the skills to write grant proposals. Can I get paid to provide objective feedback?

I have discovered that I do not have the skills to write proposals (budgets, numbers). But I can fulfill the "grandma" position. I am academically oriented, not business oriented. Thus I would read the proposal and comment. How do I go about getting my name out to groups that could use my input? What do I charge for such a service?

For the most part, reading and commenting on proposals is a courtesy exchange among professional peers and friends. Consultants who are paid for such services should have extensive, successful experience in developing and reviewing proposals. And the ability to understand budgets and provide useful feedback is a critical part of the process. Before providing any paid, consulting services in the field of grant proposal development and writing, youll need to gain deep experience.