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Why Grant Writing is the Best Kept Secret in Work from Home Jobs

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

Most grant writers start out as either a volunteer or paid employee for a nonprofit. Once they have a few years of experience under their belt, they may consider going into business for themselves as a freelance grant writer. Having been in the freelance game for 7 years now, I can confidently say this field is a little-known dream job for those who want to “have their cake and eat it too” by building a meaningful career while being their own boss.

Here's why:

You get paid for every minute you work

If your eyebrow instinctively raises when you hear, “work from home,” it’s probably because you know that WFH jobs are often associated with the double-or-nothing gamble of the employment world: commission-based pay. But unlike MLM, grant writing is a job you can get paid for down to the minute. While some freelance grant writers charge a set per-project fee, most charge by the hour to ensure they receive fair pay for fluctuating project demands. Rookie writers usually charge in the $25/hour range, while seasoned vets charge up to $150/hour, making grant writing a reliable, well-paid income source.

You determine your income

In addition to having the freedom to set your own fees, being a freelancer allows you to choose the number of clients and hours that work for your lifestyle. If you have young kids, or even another part time job, you may only want to take on 1-2 clients at a time. If your circumstances change and you have more available hours or need more money, you can always add more clients to your plate. Unlike having a set position at a single nonprofit, you get to determine how much or how little you’ll make based on your current needs.

You don’t need a license or PhD

When I was in college, I was often told that a B.A. was not enough to get a great job anymore. For many career paths, I would say that statement is correct. However, grant writing does not require any special licensing or certifications. There are certifications and classes available (at a fraction of the cost of a degree, I might add), but they are not mandatory. At the same time, you get to use critical thinking skills and high-level strategic planning, making this a fantastic career choice for someone who is college educated but may not have the licensing or certifications for other comparable paying jobs.

The work-life balance is unbeatable

Gone are the days when I had to say, “Let me check with my boss,” before committing to vacation dates or attending my kids’ recitals. Being a grant writer has allowed me to drive my kids to and from school, cook dinner every night, and be present for everything from sick days to book fairs. Having formerly worked 50+ hour weeks with 2 toddlers, I know how painful it is to miss life’s most precious moments, and I’m so glad that freelancing has allowed me to enjoy more availability for my family.

The buy-in is cheap

While many business start-ups can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, you don't need a storefront, employees, or an inventory stockpile to get started as a grant writer. Initially, all that you need is a phone, computer, internet, Microsoft Office, and your brain - things that most of us have in place already. If you were starting with nothing, you could still launch your business for under $2,000.

You create something bigger than yourself

The most fulfilling part of grant writing is raising the funds that change lives and better the world around you. I love that I’ve not only written grants that have improved the quality of life in communities I’ve lived in, but I’ve also supported nonprofits in states I’ve never even visited. As a rough estimate, grants I have secured have improved the lives of at least 500,000 individuals, and I only work part time!

Thinking of giving grant writing a try?

So now you know why grant writing is the best kept secret in work-from-home careers. Join me next month to get the dirt on the not-so-glamorous side of freelance writing. I’ll be sharing the top cons of this industry so you can get a better idea of whether this career is for you.

About Heather Macaulay:

First and foremost I am a proud wife and mom of 3 growing souls who I have miraculously kept alive despite killing every plant I’ve ever owned. I was born and raised in Orange County, California, and while I will always be a California girl at heart, North Carolina is where the Macaulay family has called home since 2015. I cannot say enough about what this wonderful community has offered us. I have been writing grants and copy since 2010 and have had projects funded by a variety of funders from family foundations to major corporations, Ivy League universities, and international rock stars. My passions include cooking, travel, and studying history, languages, psychology, and philosophy. I also have an unhealthy addiction to true crime shows and Nutella.

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