Grant writers research possible funding sources and write proposals to governmental agencies and foundations in an effort to receive funds for projects and/or operating expenses for organizations. Nonprofit organizations often rely on grant writers to find and secure these funds. Some organizations employ an in-house grant writer, while others hire grant writers as needed for specific funding opportunities.
Describe Your Writing and Research Experience
As bedrocks of effective grant writing, writing and research are likely to figure prominently in a grant-writer interview. Successful grant writers possess solid writing skills and know how to find information when they need it. An interviewer will ask for evidence that you can do both.
How Do You Approach Guidelines and Deadlines?
Respecting the mechanics of the grant-making process is critical to winning grants. Meeting deadlines is a basic component of all funded grants, and, as such, an interviewer will want to know that you approach deadlines seriously and will exceed “crunch time” expectations. Strict attention to the project guidelines is another hurdle to cross. Getting the details right makes a huge difference in having your proposal funded.
Explain Your Proposal Development Process
Grant writing is straightforward. Standard elements must be completed, and having a thorough, well-thought-out approach to proposal development will impress the interviewer. Familiarity with the basics of a proposal is only a first step. You will want to elaborate on how you tackle a proposal from the initial announcement to submitting the completed masterpiece. (If you have pieces of the proposal, such as an organizational capacity statement, ready to tailor for proposals as they are written, don’t forget to mention it.)
Tell Me About a Successful Funding Experience
When given the opportunity to talk about the community-based grant you received from the mayor’s office that funded the summer program at the youth center you direct, or the federal money you secured that provides professional development to teacher’s in your state, be clear about why you think those proposals were funded. Whether you crafted a strong needs statement or brought the right collaborators to the table, talk about the experience in a way that suggests you can and will do it again and again.
Discuss a Challenging Funding Experience
Identify a situation in which the lessons learned were profound. If you learned that staying on a proposal production schedule is critical, that is both positive and important. If you learned finding the right funder to approach leads to success, let the interviewer know. Often, mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Let your answer to this question exemplify your flexibility and potential for growth.
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