4 Traits All Effective Grant Writers Have

Writing is powerful, but sometimes it’s hard to know what you can do as a writer besides crafting the next great novel. If you’re exploring your postgrad career options or looking for an internship, grant writing is a solid area to explore.

Grant writing, or rather, creating proposals to win grants for nonprofits, connects funding with organizations that need it badly. Just as charities encourage individual people to donate through various means, grant proposals specifically market a charity’s past and present work to large foundations. If this sounds appealing, read through these four central traits effective grant writers have and see where you fit.

Reason- and Data-Driven Logic

First, you need a data-loving side to you. If you enjoy digging through research, finding the story within the numbers, and articulating everything in words, you’re a promising candidate. After all, though anecdotes compel the heart, you know that they alone aren’t enough to build a solid case for something. A good grant writer has the stamina to wade through research, find useful kernels of data, and embed them in a cohesive appeal.


When approaching a grant proposal, you always want to be distinct from the pack. Sure, your organization is doing good things, but there may be many others who do the same or similar work. To win funding, grant writers must weave a narrative that tugs on readers’ hearts without falling prey to cliché sentimentality. If you pride yourself on approaching problems creatively and bucking conventions, this can really inform your writing.


A necessary trait all effective grant writers have is perseverance. It feels horrible when you invest your time and heart into a proposal only to receive a rejection, but this is common with a grant-writing role. The best candidates for grant writing know how to process rejection constructively without suffering extreme disappointment. This allows them to move on to the next proposal hopefully.

Writing Mastery

This may go without saying, but grammar, syntax, spelling, and other facets of the writing process need to be perfect. This doesn’t mean that you don’t make mistakes, but rather that you employ structured editing practices. These help you avoid sending off a proposal with a misspelled word, vague sentence, or other error. If you lack the ability to catch your mistakes, you lose credibility in the eyes of the foundations you write to.

If you fit within some or all of these traits, you may enjoy a grant-writing career. Don’t fret if you don’t—there’s always room to grow and improve in these areas if this fulfilling career attracts you.


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