Funding Research + Grant Writing


The Working INK team works collaboratively with your executive team, program directors, accounting, and human resources departments to identify existing program needs and to support the design of competitive funding proposals.

Every nonprofit has its own unique circumstances and opportunities to generate revenue. By identifying the grant-makers and funding agencies with missions or, in the case of government agencies, legislative mandates, that support your programing and goals we can help you make the best use of your time and effort in pursuing those opportunities.

Whether researching private, corporate, state, federal sources or individual donors we will be able to provide you with the information you need to develop an approach to building a reliable revenue base that will support an organization’s core programs and services.

The Funding Process

1. Finding Funders
This takes approximately 30 hours.

We’ll will provide you with information regarding potential funders based on a  review of grant-makers’ websites, their past grantees, and the emerging trends  in philanthropy that match your organizations  current goals, capacity, and the existing tactical tools in place that are best suited to increasing funds. This includes a 12-month calendar that identifies the funding streams you intend to pursue, as well as relevant must know milestones, and deadlines.

2. Analysis of Your Organization
This takes approximately 45 hours.

In addition to the information gathered from Stage 1, we will assess the efficiency of the tactical tools and methods you currently have in place to continue meeting your on-going funding needs. We will make recommendations to strengthen those tools and/ or identify additional tactics that are a strong fit to your organization, and evaluate the revenue potential and costs of shifting existing or developing additional tools and methods.

3. Creating a Fund Development Plan
This takes approximately 60 hours.

At this stage of research we are working with you to identify, develop, and implement a personalized Fund Development Plan. Together we will determine in what capacity you need our expertise and what strengths your organization brings to the process to determine the best use of your resources towards reaching your funding goals.

Grant Writing

Letters of Inquiry (LOI)
It takes an average of 3 hours of writing, editing, and proofreading per page to draft a letter of inquiry (LOI). Most are approximately 2-3 pages in length and include:

  • A brief background of your organization, including an abbreviated mission statement, date founded, the size of staff and board, the constituency and geographic region served, the type of service provided, and the size of your annual operating budget.
  • A description of the project for which you are requesting support. Include a discussion of how you reached the decision to mount this project, the factors that contribute to the need or opportunity, the project’s importance to your organization and constituency, and the level and nature of commitment of your staff and board.
  • A proposed budget, in summary form, for the total cost of this project and the amount you intend to request. If possible, identify the specific budget item(s) for which you would be requesting. Indicate potential or actual sources of support in addition to the funding source for the LOI addressed.
  • A brief discussion as to why you are approaching the funder for this project. Indicate any past history with this particular funder or any contact you have made with its staff or others leading to your decision to approach them. List or note other factors that you believe would help the funder to understand your situation and request.

+ 2.5 hours to carefully to become familiar with your funding source, their priorities, and preferences.

+ 2-5 hours for meetings and review of existing organizational documents

+ 2.5 hours for a proposed budget, in summary form, for the total cost of this project and the amount you intend to request.

+ 2.5 hours to obtain letters of support.

+ 2.5 hours to do a final review, compile, and submit the LOI

= approximately 20-25 hours

State, Federal, and Full Foundation Proposals
Number of Narrative pages allowed in the grant x 3 hours of writing, editing, and proofreading per page A typical narrative has a 20 -25 (double spaced) page limit.

+ 1.5 hours to carefully read and outline the RFP (grant application guidelines) add .5 hour for each addendum as well as teleconferences by the funding agency

+ 3-7 hours for meetings and review of existing organizational documents

+ 5 hours to write a detailed budget justification and to complete the budget forms

+ 5 hours to obtain letters of support, resumes, and job descriptions

+ 2 hours to complete the grant forms

+ 5 hours to do a final review, compile, and submit the grant proposal

= approximately 82-90 hours

Grant Writing FAQs

What should we look for in a grant writer?

  • Grant writers who have experience with your service, population, and geography. Your group may be unique, so look for transferable skills and contacts.
  • A good match between the grant writer’s experience and the skill level you need for the job.
  • Compatibility
  • Communication
  • Shared Vision

What should we ask a grant writer?

  • Are you accepting new clients now? (Good grant writers are much in demand.)
  • Would you be interested in working with us on this project?
  • What is your experience in our field?
  • May we see your resume and writing samples?
  • How do you charge and how much? (By the hour? By contract? Rates?)

What will a grant writer do?

  • Require that your organization be ready to write grants or at least be willing to work hard to get there.
  • Work for rates between $40-125 an hour or by the project. Some contractors have organizational development experience or other expertise that makes their time more valuable.
  • Research funding sources and help you make your project appealing to funders.

What won’t a grant writer do?

  • Write on commission, take deferred payment or work for a percentage of the grant. They do not work pro bono unless it is their own idea.
  • Write for individuals, with few exceptions. Artists should contact Alaska State Council for the Arts or if you are a Washington State resident, the Artist Trust for their needs.
Variables that Affect Cost

Organization’s Preparedness

Can your staff provide information quickly and accurately? Will the grantwriter need to create background documents for you? Grantwriting often exposes gaps in organizational readiness or program design that have to be solved to successfully compete for grants. Top level grantwriters can help you with this, but it will add time and expense.

Organization’s Experience with Grantseeking

Is there an archive of information and successful proposals to pull data from? Is your budget staff available to work with a grantwriter? Have you tied your outcomes to your program activities and budget? The more you have ready, the faster the grantwriter can complete a proposal.

Grantwriter’s Experience with a Given Sector

Time will vary depending on how familiar the grantwriter is with your area of service, geography, and clientele.

Proposal Complexity

There is a great difference between, say, a proposal for a small family foundation and a federal RFP (request for proposal). Some foundation grants are 4-5 pages, which might take 15-25 hours to prepare, while a federal or capital proposal may take 100 hours or more. If the grantwriter has worked with you before, proposals will take less time.

Writing Samples

Federal Proposal Except: Alaska Native Justice Center »

Foundation Proposal Excerpt: Early College Consortium for Native Youth Grant (The Gates Foundation) »