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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are several commonly asked questions. Don't see an answer to your question? Contact us!

We are open to adding more answers to this page. Feel free to make suggestions.

Why do you identify as a grant consultant instead of as a grant writer?

What we do is much more than write grant applications. We are your strategist and guide from the ideation phase through the awarding of the grant. Writing is one, increasingly small, part of the proposal process. A good grant consultant not only knows how to craft, construct, edit, and submit a fundable application, they also: 

  • Are experts in project/ program design and evaluation.

  • Can find funding and create a funding opportunity portfolio.

  • Understand how organizational development and business operations impact and intertwine with grant work.

  • Understand how to cultivate and maintain relationships with funders, partners, and everyone on your team.

In addition, as a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) our lead grant consultant:

  • Understands how to design and validate research projects and academic programs.

  • Has experience creating and maintaining processes for monitoring project progress and grant reporting.   

  • Is experienced in developing and managing grant budgets.  

  • Has managed federal and non-federal grants both as lead awardee and subawardee. 

  • Understands the common federal and non-federal funder award terms and conditions, and knows how and when to talk to program managers both during proposal development and once awarded.  

  • Understands research compliance issues and ethics including human and animal research requirements, radiation safety and biosafety, export control concerns, financial and academic conflicts of interest, and research ethics. 

  • Has participated in and managed site visits at all stages of the grant process from the proposal review stage, to pre-award, to annual and final visits. 

  • Has set up processes and overseen time and effort reporting, invention disclosures, major equipment tracking and reporting, research protocol development, and created internal controls for grant management. 

  • Knows the basics of intellectual property and technology transfer. 

  • Has business leadership skills including leading and managing teams, understanding HR concerns, and has onboarded and trained new proposal development and grant management talent. 

This means that our lead grant consultant is more than just a writer, she is a skilled grant expert capable of advising you at any stage of your grant. While she currently prefers to focus on the development and writing of grant proposals, her knowledge of and prior experience managing grants mean you will get expert guidance for developing a realistic, executable, and fundable projects. Her CRA and significant experience with federal funding means whether you are a researcher, educator, or community organization you will gain the guidance of someone who has worked on the most complicated grants out there. She is capable of anticipating and guiding you through potential stumbling blocks both in the proposal development process and in envisioning execution once funded.  

We are more than just your writer we are your expert advisor, trusted confidant and ally on the road to winning a grant and having success once funded.     

How much does it cost to hire a grant consultant?

Currently most freelance grant consultants charge between $60 - $350 per hour. However, many are switching over to project based billing which can range from several thousand dollars to $50,000+ depending upon the type of work needed.  

The cost of your project will depend upon several parameters. 

  • How experienced is your grant consultant? Those new to the field, or just launching their business will be less expensive per hour, but may cost more per project due to having less experience. You will pay more per hour for the knowledge of an experienced grant consultant, but you may find you pay less for the whole project as they know how to streamline the process and where their services will be most impactful for your grant.

  • How much time are you and your team willing to contribute? How much information do you already have on hand to feed content for the grant proposal? The more work you are willing to do and the more content you can provide the fewer number of hours your grant consultant will need to spend in searching for information and creating content from scratch. This will result in a significant saving to you and will give you the most value for your dollar. Would your rather have your grant consultant using their expertise to help you win the grant, or spending their time searching and compiling information and data? Most of us can do both, but I can guarantee the latter takes more time and if you are paying a premium for a grant expert this may not be the best use of your money. 

  • Your grant consultant’s niche. This is similar to expertise. Grant consultants who normally work with non-profit organizations generally charge less. Those that specialize in governmental funding (regional, state, federal, international), and who work with large organizations as applicants (institutes of higher education, for profit businesses, regional local governments) charge more as the process is more complex.  

  • How big is the grant consulting firm? Larger firms have higher overhead and generally charge more, but you may get a full team to support your grant. Smaller firms have minimal overhead and generally are more reasonably priced, but you may only get one person to support your project.

  • How quick is the turnaround time to grant submission? Generally rush requests are charged a premium. Each grant consultant has their own definition of rush, see our Lead Time question for ours.

Affinity Grant Insights is a newer small consulting business working at the intersection of research, education, and community development. However, our lead grant consultant has been working as a grant expert since 2006. Given this extended length of experience, the breadth of clients we work with, and type of grants we work on you can expect our prices to be competitive with the lower end of the more experienced grant consulting firms. We do give discounts to small non-profits and never want cost to be a barrier to working with us. 

We can work within your budget. Schedule a meeting so we can discuss your needs and provide several options so that you can get the most value for your experience.

How much lead time do you need for a project?

The strategic grant planning and proposal development services offered by Affinity Grant Insights LLC are most effective when we are contacted as early as possible in the proposal development process. Preferably while still in the infancy of the ideation and teaming stages. This is generally pre-RFP release and could be as early as 6-months to a year prior to the anticipated due date. Involving us during this stage in the proposal development process allows us to assist in identifying critical missing pieces, gives you time to address these gaps, and allows us to help refine the project scope. If contacted at RFP release or later, the level and depth of service will reflect this compressed timeline. The minimum lead time needed for advising, and a light review, edit, and feedback of a proposal is two months, and the contract must be signed a minimum of 6-weeks prior to the due date. The minimum amount of time needed to take on substantial writing or editing of a grant is three months, and the contract must be signed a minimum of 2.5 months prior to the due date. 

 

If you have missed these minimum lead times, reach out to us to see if we have time for a quick project. We are always willing to chat and see if there is a way for you to benefit from our expertise. Sometimes you get lucky and will catch us at a lull between projects and we can help with more than advising and a light review.

 

Rush Work: Note, AGI values the mental health and personal lives of our grant professionals and reserves the right to refuse expedited, rush and after-hours work. If the grant professional chooses to work under expedited or rush status, or after hours, a rate of 1.5 to 2 times our standard rate will apply based on complexity and stress induced by the request. After hours is defined as work performed on federal holidays, during scheduled vacation time, over the weekend, or performed between the hours of 6pm and 7am local time for the grant professional. Expedited work is any work that does not meet the minimum lead times above. Rush work is defined as any addition to the scope or new services requested within 21 days from the due date.

Can we pay you based on a percentage of the grant, contingent upon the grant getting funded, or from grant funds?

No. We adhere to the Code of Ethics, as established by the Grant Professionals Association and as such we do not take a commission or cut of the grant award. Instead we offer reasonable hourly, project, and fixed fee rates. Professionals should be compensated for the work they perform and their expertise, regardless of funding outcomes. All of our clients learn and grow from the proposal development process and as such we ask for payment at time of service. Additionally, most grant funds must be used for the project described in the grant application. Vary rarely does this project incorporate grant writing. Even when it does the grants that will be written under a funded project are for future projects not the proposal that won this grant. As such, grant consultants cannot be paid from the grant funds they help win.  

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Lead Time
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