Inexperienced administrators are apt to think they can simply reach out to a grants consultant, have the consultant write-up a proposal, then pay the consultant with a percentage of the funding brought in by that work. They couldn’t be more wrong.
There are numerous reasons why percentage payments don’t work, and why associations of fundraisers and grants professionals consider that approach unethical,” said Barbara Floersch, chief of training and curriculum of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles.
“Since the percentage of income approach is a no-no, it’s important for administrators to understand acceptable payment options.” Two important options are:
Most professional grant consultants work on an hourly rate and, after estimating the amount of time a job will require, they will establish a cap for each project so that clients can rest assured that they’ll get a finished product within a set fee range.
Rates vary widely depending on geographic location, type of proposal, and experience of the consultant. Expert consultants in large cities might charge $150 to $200 per hour, while those in more rural areas probably charge less. It’s not unusual for experienced grants professionals who are just beginning their consultant career to charge between $50 and $75 per hour.
Many grant consultants build ongoing relationships with clients and are paid a retainer to cover an agreed upon amount of monthly work. When large projects that exceed the retainer’s parameters pop up, these consultants are generally paid an hourly rate for the additional work.
Even strong, well-developed grant proposals can fail to win an award, and the reasons grant proposals fail are often beyond the control of the consultant. The consultant’s job is to help your organization develop and submit a top-notch grant proposal that meets all funder requirements.
“You’ll win some and lose some,” said Floersch. “But by submitting consistently high-quality proposals to appropriate funders you’ll definitely win quite a few.”
If working with a grants consultant is the best approach for your organization, Floersch advises digging deep to find the person who is the best fit for your organization. “Integrity, skills, knowledge, professionalism, and a strong track record are key,” said Floersch. © Copyright 2018 The Grantsmanship Center.
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