freelance grant writer hourly rate

What is a freelance grant writer’s hourly rate?

A freelance grant writer’s hourly rate depends on several factors. The market the grant writer lives in will help determine their rate. If the grant writer lives in a pricier big city, for example, they’ll probably charge a higher rate. But a freelance grant writer’s hourly rate is also tied to their experience level. More experienced grant writers command a higher price.


We’ve seen several advertisements recently seeking to set a freelance grant writer’s hourly rate at $20 per hour. We’re here to tell you that anyone working at that rate is probably desperate for work and probably for a good reason. Maybe they’re not experienced or hard working or talented or any combination of those traits. Sure, they’ll save you a lot of money, but will you end up making any?


The trick to affording a successful grant writer with a long track record of wins is to wait until you’re ready. Wait until you have enough money in the bank to afford that person, at which time you’ll probably also have built the other qualifications you’ll need to win grants. Then, you can better afford a higher freelance grant writer’s hourly rate.


Grant writing is not a place where you can cut corners or seek out a cheap hire. Chances are you’ll spend (read: lose) more money over the long haul than you would if you hired a more experienced, more pricey grant writer who will pull her weight. A good grant writer will pay for themselves, and over time bring in more money than you pay them.


Not sure what to expect when it comes to grants? You can learn a lot from grant applications without applying.


Interested in learning more about our grant writing services? Contact us.

What is a freelance grant writer’s hourly rate? was last modified: by


  • Avatar for Morgan


    09.11.2011 at 15:52 Reply

    Hey Megan,
    I just discovered your blog – great work here. I particularly like this article. The number one stumbling block that I run into working with people is that they think it is “expensive” to pay a professional to help them.
    Grants are a obviously a money-getting game (hopefully for a good cause). No matter what one does in life, it usually takes money (an investment) to make money (the return).
    I personally believe that people who are not willing to invest in producing the best grant proposal possible aren’t really serious about getting the grant. They’re just wasting their time. Most grants are super competitive, and I liken this to entering a sports competition with no training and no coach. Hiring a grant writer like you is like hiring a trained athlete to run the race. The likelihood of “winning” is far greater!
    Keep up the great work!

    • Avatar for Alfonzo S

      Alfonzo S

      19.12.2018 at 16:59 Reply

      So great writers don’t just right for a percentage of the award?

      • Avatar for PGWAdmin


        02.01.2019 at 12:39 Reply


  • Avatar for Lisa


    27.03.2012 at 10:09 Reply

    Great site, Megan, thank you! Another aspect of what goes into grant writing is the amount of time it takes to prepare a successful application. I used to write mostly federal proposals, all of which took me at least 120 hours to prepare. By the time the lead organization decided to pursue the grant, the deadline was always tight, which occasionally meant days without sleep. I often had to assist with program development to meet evaluation benchmarks, tie in necessary responsible parties, or secure the in-kind commitments the grantor was looking for. But 13 of my 14 proposals were funded – and all were extremely competitive. The grant writer who will commit that kind of time and dedication is a professional who deserves to be treated – and paid – as such.

  • Avatar for Erin


    03.04.2012 at 13:47 Reply

    This is a great article. It does raise the question for me though- how much should grant writers charge? I am recently starting out doing grant writing freelance on my own (as opposed to one of many tasks in my job description at a nonprofit). I am a bit at a loss as to what a fair fee to charge is, as you play the “if I charge too much I won’t get the gig”, or the “I don’t want to work for free and is it worth my time to be paid x” game.

    • Avatar for Megan Hill

      Megan Hill

      03.04.2012 at 15:10 Reply

      Hi Erin,
      This is a tough question and it’s one that even experienced grant writers struggle with. Most charge either an hourly rate or a per-project rate, and some charge a per-page rate. Hourly rates can range from as low as $25 to as high as $200, depending on location and experience. My suggestion is to start low and work your way up as you gain experience and success. You can do some market research of other grant writers in your area. You will always run into potential clients who think your rate is too high, and you might find you can afford some wiggle room. Ultimately it comes down to what you think you’re worth, and I recommend not selling yourself short. The price you set also sets the tone for the value of your work.

      Sorry there’s no set answer, but I hope this helps! I also offer coaching services and can tailor advice to your specific situation if you’re interested.


  • Avatar for John Paterna

    John Paterna

    22.06.2012 at 05:19 Reply

    Great article Megan. What I’ve learned as a seasoned grant writer is that you have to be a teacher first! The naivete about the process of grant writing is astounding! The first meeting with a client is usually a balancing act between letting a client know what planning a grant requires and not sounding too self-serving.

  • Avatar for Perry Ferrara

    Perry Ferrara

    23.10.2014 at 16:51 Reply

    Very informative article. I have been writing grants for over 20 years. Just recently, I started charging for my services. I have been doing it for volunteer fire companies and non-profits. Since I retired, I began working at grant writing full time. There are several clients who cannot pay an hourly rate. A commission or percentage of the grant is offered. I spoke with several grant writers recently who stated they can charge as much as 10-15% of the service. Does that seem right?

    • Avatar for admin


      24.10.2014 at 07:44 Reply

      Hi Perry,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you asked about charging percentages for grant writing work. Not only is this not “right,” but it’s considered unethical and needs to be completely eliminated as a practice in our profession. I’ve written a detailed article about the topic here, and there are scores of others on the internet. You should be charging an hourly rate that reflects your experience — which appears to be vast and significant — and you need to be getting paid regardless of the grant’s outcome and ask amount.


  • Avatar for Yvonne T. DeBellotte

    Yvonne T. DeBellotte

    16.07.2023 at 12:00 Reply

    Hi Perry: Megan is 100% correct. Your hours whether researching , writing, or managing is time that you should be paid for and not on a percentage. It;s in our code of ethics and I am sure Megan covered it. I suggest renegotiate the terms at an hourly rate. Good luck . Vonnie

Post a Comment