How to Build a Great Grant Writing Team

It is crucial to set up a grant team and delegate responsibilities to write successful grants and get them submitted on time.

Get your team together before you start writing the grant, and make sure you include the executive director, grant writing lead, budget lead, grant coordinator, and any specialist as part of this team. Furthermore, appoint someone (and a backup) to be in charge of submitting the grant application.

Grant Team Members

The ideal grant team comprises the lead grant writer, the budget lead, the grant coordinator, and potential specialists. The executive director should really oversee the process and be involved in the design, but he or she should ultimately be someone to whom you report and who reviews the grant, and it may be the one who submits the grant. We will talk about the process below, but first, let’s go ahead and identify the team members.

The lead grant writer should be the main writer that pulls together all sections. Yes, you can have different people writing different parts of the grant, but this can lead to a very disjointed grant. When reviewing grants, I can tell when there was or was not a clear lead. This often results in a very poorly scored grant because it is not cohesive.

For example, if the budget lead writes the budget and includes the purchase of two computers and one regional training for two staff members, but then the person writing the project approach never talks about the use of computers or the regional training, this can lead to confusion on the reviewer’s part.

The budget lead should put together the budget and the nonfederal matching amounts. The budget lead should be able to give the grant lead adequate information and budget computations so that the grant writer can flesh out the budget narrative. The budget lead is usually your fiscal staff.

The grant coordinator is the one who can follow up and get additional information. For example, the grant coordinator will send out the letters of commitment and memorandums of understanding and will curate resumes and job descriptions. The grant coordinator will work closely with human resources and project managers to gather all additional information. He or she will also track all letters secured and still outstanding.

A specialist may be needed at times to write a particular section of the grant, such as evaluation methodology, evidence-based practices, and so on.

The executive director or board of directors should be who you report to, and they should be who leads the design of the proposal before you even start to write. They should review the grant and finalize all information. Additionally, they are usually the ones to submit the grant application. At times, they may give the lead grant writer authority to submit grants online, but they should at the very least review the grant in a timely manner so you are not trying to upload the grant at the very last minute. Ultimately, whoever is responsible for submitting the grants (make sure you designate someone; don’t assume who will do it!) should make sure your password and SAM number are up to date. At times, you (the grant lead) may be fulfilling any and all of these job descriptions.

Those are the members of your grant writing team!

*This article and podcast were taken from an excerpt in Holly’s bestselling book, The Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing. For more information, click here!

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