Frequently Asked Questions
In general, we charge $65/hour. However, it may work best for you to hire our team for one distinct project. In this case, rather than an hourly rate, a project fee may be most appropriate.
Your readiness for the grants process and the wide range of tasks associated with winning grants mean there is no simple answer for what fees might be involved.
We don’t charge for our initial conversations with you. During those first brief exchanges, via e-mail or phone, we will assess your needs and discuss some options for our possible work together. Typically, after that first short conversation, we will prepare in writing some thoughts about how we might work together, including fees for the various options.
grantwinners.net also accepts Hour Exchange Portland’s time credits or “time dollars,” for one client about every two months. Please feel free to request our services via HEP’s site (member: Heather Denkmire), if you are a member there.
We are professionals who do excellent work and expect compensation for our time, regardless of the outcome. We will provide the highest quality service but there are too many variables for us to guarantee success in funding. Hiring a grant writer on a contingency or commissions basis also makes your grant less attractive to funders.
For a well-done and more detailed discussion of the ethics of commissions, please visit the Puget Sound Grantwriters Association's explanation of the subject.
grantwinners.net specializes in grants offered by private foundations or public charities (sometimes referred to as public foundations). A private foundation derives its funds from a family, an individual, or a corporation. We don’t offer State or Federal grant winning services directly, though much of the work we do with our clients will strengthen their position if they apply for governmental grants. For suggestions of professionals who specialize in governmental grants, check out our resources page.
My agency is looking to hire a grant writer. What questions should we ask to hire the best person?
You can win grants. You already have a good start: you know your programs intimately. We have drafted some steps you can take that should help you plan, research, organize, and generally strengthen your grants readiness. We also recommend highly the Proposal Writing Short Course offered by the Foundation Center. This tutorial covers all the basics.
There are many books and websites available to you, as well. Our first suggestion for any organization who wants to improve their odds at winning grants is to read Grassroots Grants, by Andy Robinson. Our principal, Heather Denkmire, is self-taught and she began with Robinson’s book. In it, he addresses the important fact that applying for grant funding is not about begging for money. It’s about identifying the possibility for a true partnership.
Finally, we do accept Time Dollars through Hour Exchange Portland for our services.
Someone described our business model as "generous." Perhaps it is. However, we are passionate about helping nonprofits find the funds they need to do their good work. Of course, we need to make a living. We have found it rewarding and profitable to work with our clients together, building a stronger foundation for their grants program. Our believe that you shouldn’t hire a grant writer, but that you should be a grant winner is sincere.
That said, at grantwinners.net we have access to resources not immediately available to everyone. We also know intuitively what organizations need to do before they begin the research process. Our experience sheds light on an organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Our research skills, perhaps more than most areas of winning grants, are outstanding. We research quickly, and well. We also have a professional subscription to the Foundation Center Directory online. These databases are also available to you at the Maine Philanthropy Center. Because we have so many years of experience navigating guidelines for foundations, we are able to skim information to retrieve the most relevant information quickly.
In other words, you can do it. However, if it’s appropriate, we can help. In most cases, we work with staff or volunteers to learn the grants ropes. In many cases, however, the shortage of staff or enthusiastic and talented board members means the grants work slides down the list of priorities. We are available in those cases to provide everything you need to build and manage a successful grants program.
Yes, we can help you find grant funding. However, in most cases, hiring our team would not be cost-effective for individuals. The number of grants available for individuals or groups without a fiscal sponsor are limited. These projects require even more time for research. Of course, we are available for hire ($65/hour). Helping an individual find grant funding would require at least four hours--if not more--in assessment, planning, and research. Again, in most cases, we recommend individuals (and groups without a fiscal sponsor) learn the basic skills for grant winning on there own. Our DIY grant winning page can get you started.
Hour Exchange Portland (“HEP”) empowers individuals, organizations and businesses to help each other meet their needs—cash free—in exchanges of services. Similar to bartering, the beauty of HEP is every hour of work done, whether it is house cleaning, accounting services, or boat repair, is worth one hour. If you do something for someone, you “bank” one hour. You can spend that hour paying anyone else in HEP. There’s no need to find a perfect match as there is in bartering.
Heather Denkmire, our principal, has maintained a membership in HEP for many years. She has used time dollars to get much needed help (furniture repair, housecleaning, etc.), meet members of her community, and provide services to other HEP members. Through Heather’s membership, grantwinners.net also does work for “time dollars,” or HEP credits.
Fortunately, grantwinners.net is growing—we are very busy. This is a good thing, however, it means we must limit the number of hours we commit to working for time dollars each month.
We take on a new HEP client for a short period of time, usually for about two months. In our initial discussions (all “billed” through HEP), we assess your needs as we would with any new client. We can provide general consulting services to help strengthen your grants program or we can do research, proposal preparation, editing, or any other services we identify as most useful for you.