Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What Exactly Is a Grant Writer?

This seems like an obvious enough question, and yet it does come up from time to time, even in professional circles, as it did this week in an online discussion group I belong to.

One the main services I provide to my nonprofit clients is popularly called "grant writing" although, technically, it's not accurate. What I do is more properly called "grant proposal writing."

The people who write the grants are the foundation officers who [hopefully] respond to my proposals. And, apparently, some of them take exception to people such as myself calling our profession "grant writing."

Personally, I believe that this is one of those cases where common usage wins over linguistic perfection. When I say that I have several clients for my grant writing services, it is understood by all that these are nonprofits looking for funds, not foundations looking to distribute money.

When I have tried to be liguistically correct and tell people I was a proposal writer, on the other hand, it has caused confusion until I explained it more clearly as grant writing.

So, I will continue to abuse the language and call myself a "grant writer." I sincerely apologize if that offends you.

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