Nonprofits that are newer to grant writing may ask: What percentage does a grant writer get paid? What they’re really asking is, what is the cut, or commission, a grant writer takes from an awarded grant?
The answer is fairly straightforward: zero. Two professional organizations, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Grant Professionals Association, bar grant writers from taking a percentage of the grant, also known as working on commission.
Why grant writers do not receive commissions
First, grantmakers do not want to fund your fundraising activities, and grant writing falls under that category. They will not allow you to add a grant writer’s commission as part of your grant budget, and they will bar your organization from giving out part of their award as payment.
Nonprofits should pay good, experienced grant writers for their high-quality work regardless of the grant’s outcome. That’s because they’ve put the time in to developing content that reflects your organization’s strengths and successes. You’re paying them for that content, rather than for the outcome of the grant.
Grantmakers decline to fund grants for many reasons. And most of them are well beyond a grant writer’s control or influence. First, the organization must be well organized, effective, and successful—all things a grant writer can emphasize in a grant, but cannot ultimately control. Next, there are many things happening behind the scenes at a foundation or corporation that are also out of the grant writer’s control. Competing organizations, funder whims and connections, you name it—there’s much more to it than simple grant writing.
In fact, we do not even track grant success rates for these reasons. Success rates are largely out of our control. There are too many factors to say, “Our writing has directly resulted in X percentage of funded grants.”
In summary, it’s important to pay a grant writer what they’re worth, regardless of the outcome of the grant.
How are grant writers paid?
Great question! At Professional Grant Writers, we work by an hourly rate. Here’s a look at how grant writer fees work.
Learn more about our grant writing services here.