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Fundraising Versus Grant Writing

Updated on September 11, 2009

What's the Difference?

As a writer and an advocate in the nonprofit industry, I am often asked, "what is the difference between being a fundraiser and grant writer?" While in both fields, the goal is to obtain money for the organization, the actual job specs are quite different.

As a grant writer, your specific job is to seek out grant opportunities, and to write a proposal specifically aimed at the grant. The grant writer will likely work on a per-project basis; although there are instances when an organization will hire a grant writer that will work regularly. This work includes consistently seeking out grant opportunities (known as campaigns).

A fundraiser, while sometimes deal with grant proposals, has other job tasks. A fundraiser, also known as a development director, seeks other opportunities, other than grants, to fund the organization and its various projects.

Some of the tasks of a fundraiser include nurturing long-term donors, reaching out to the community in the form of events, speeches, letter campaigns, etc. The fundraiser develops a relationship with the community and press to direct attention and potential funding to the organization. Other than the fund raising tasks, the fundraiser often builds donation databases and develops various campaigns throughout the year.

The main difference between a grant writer and fundraiser is that the fundraiser will work full-time with the organization and their main focus and priority is the organization. A grant writer focuses mostly on the here and now of a project. This is not to say that a grant writer is not important to an organization, on the contrary. Fundraisers are often so busy with the actual maintenance and planning of the organization and its projects, that bringing in a grant writer is extremely important.

When deciding whether your organization needs a fundraiser or grant writer, think about the time frame of the project you are looking to pursue. If you need someone to work with the organization consistently, plan several events and fund raising campaigns, then you will want to hire on a full time fundraiser. If you are looking to have a particular program or event funded, a grant writer is likely to be the better choice.

There are some grant writers that will agree to work as your private fundraiser and contract services on a regular basis. This person will be more like an employee. This is a good choice when you know you will have several programs or fund raising opportunities throughout the year. This is also a great opportunity for when you find a grant writer that you really like working with. You may decide that retaining the grant writers services on a monthly basis will ensure that you will have the grant writers services when needed but that you will not have to pay for full time hours. For more information on grant writing and fund raising please visit the links below.

Grantwriting and Fundraising Books


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      Nicholas Ng'ang'a 7 years ago

      Dear Sir/Madam,

      We are planning to build a school for orphans and other disadvantaged children in Dundori Location in Kenya.Currently,we have a feeding programme with 32 children.

      We are therefore seeking for the financial,technical and human resources needed to make this school a reality.

      Your assistance is hereby sincerely sought.

      Looking forward to working with you.

      Kindest regards,

      Nicholas Ng'ang'a

      Executive Director

      Education Supplements International

      P.O Box 3305



      Cell Phone:020 3528347