By Megan Hill
Life as an independent grant writer can be tough. I’m constantly juggling deadlines for various organizations, while also searching for new business opportunities. With almost zero job security in a tough economy, every day is a challenge.
Here’s a look into a day in the life of a freelance grant writer.
8 a.m.: Begin commute (20 feet into my home office). I turn on my computer, answer emails, write follow-up emails, and check in with possible new clients.
8:30 a.m.: Begin projects for the day. I usually start with my easiest project so I can ease into the day. This usually means finishing up a grant proposal or an LOI for a client and sending them the finished product.
10:00 a.m.: Dive into a new grant proposal. I keep a master grants calendar to juggle all my clients and make sure I’m on top of each organization’s funding plans. I don’t want to miss any deadlines! Around mid- to late morning, I’m fully awake and ready to tackle some tougher projects, like starting a new proposal. This generally entails some heavy research into the funding organization and taking a look at my past grant proposals. I’ll write some new language specific for this opportunity and spruce up any old language. I might have to do some additional research or contact my client with some questions. Once I’ve gotten as far as I can on a proposal for one client, I move on to another and start the process over again.
11:45 p.m.: Lunch break!
12:00 p.m.: Continue working on grant proposals, moving from one client to the next.
1:30 p.m.: Coffee break. I like to drink a strong cup of coffee in the afternoon, when I feel most sleepy, to make that final push through the rest of the day. I’ll also do another round of email follow ups, do some minor maintenance on my website, and make some personal phone calls to reset my brain.
1:45 p.m.: In the afternoons, I generally like to wrap up my grant writing duties and move on to other freelance writing projects.
3:00 p.m.: Gym break. I generally go to the gym in the afternoon, before the after-work rush.
5:00 p.m.: Wrap up. Once I’m home from the gym, I’ll spend another hour or so at my computer, wrapping up projects and answering any emails that came in while I was away. I’ll also make my to-do list for the next day, which helps keep me organized but also excited. I genuinely love what I do, and I enjoy thinking about what projects I’ll work on tomorrow.
Every day is an adventure. Sometimes I’ll get a surprising call or email from a potential new client, and other days I’ll grind away at some tough projects. Ultimately, every day is a little different than the day before. I wouldn’t have it any other way!