How Freelance Grant Writers Get Paid – With Holly Rustick

This episode, Holly explains the problems with paying grant writers commission, the reasons why nonprofits miss out on funding, and how nonprofits should pay freelance grant writers.

Nonprofits often think that paying freelance grant writers on a commission basis is a win-win, but this could not be further from the truth.

Not only is paying grant writers a commission unethical and against industry best practices, but there are also some pretty serious legality issues.

This episode, Holly explains the problems with paying grant writers a commission, the legality of paying grant writers on a commission only basis, and how most nonprofits pay freelance grant writers.

Holly also talks about why nonprofits miss out on grants they’ve applied to, how to repurpose a grant for other uses, and the different reasons nonprofits have a website

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How freelance grant writers make money.
  • How nonprofits pay grant writers.
  • Why you shouldn’t pay grant writers commission.
  • The reasons nonprofits don’t get grants they’ve applied to.
  • Why paying commission for grant writers is against best practice.
  • How to repurpose a grant and other things a grant application can be used for.
  • The legality of paying grant writer’s commission.
  • Why nonprofits need to have a website.
  • How to learn the skills you need to become a grant writer.


  • “Even if you don’t get awarded a grant when you submit it, you may get feedback and be able to change a few things, tweak a few things, submit to the next funding cycle, and get it awarded.”
  • “You have to start a relationship so even that first no can be a very positive thing because at least you’re starting a relationship and getting your foot in the door now so in the next couple of cycles you might get funded but if you don’t even start or are too scared to get a no then that might not happen.”
  • “Grant writers can never guarantee funding so how they get paid is the same as any other service provider. For a certain scope of work for a certain amount of time, you pay them a certain amount.”