People who write grant proposals are commonly called “grantwriters.”
There’s some merit to this title – it’s easy to say, sounds kind of snappy, and most folks have a basic understanding of what it means.
But this title is imperfect.
There is something a bit flip about calling someone a “grantwriter” – it doesn’t fully communicate what people in this profession do. (More on that below.)
Also, the word “grantwriter” has some sort of syntactical defect, which will probably bother you if you like writing enough to have gotten into the so-called “grantwriting” business in the first place.
Taking issue with the title of “grantwriter” was the topic of a recent LinkedIn group discussion. Barbara Floersch, Director of The Grantsmanship Center, sagely noted that, instead of calling ourselves grantwriters,
“We at The Grantsmanship Center support the terms ‘Grant Professional,’ ‘Grant Proposal Writer,’ ‘Proposal Development Specialist,’ and the like. It may seem a small distinction, but we don't actually write grants – funders do that when they prepare the grant awards. We write proposals and applications.”
With this small distinction, she nailed it. People in this profession don’t “write grants” with some magic and a dash of trickery – we work to secure grants from funders. The work usually does require quite a bit of writing, but it also requires research and strategic thinking, along with coordination of people and processes.
In the LinkedIn discussion, several smarties weighed in on titles that they think are more apt than grantwriter. The preferred titles included:
- Grants Professional
- Grant Specialist
- Grant Officer
- Proposal Writing Specialist (or Proposal Development Specialist)
- Grants Coordinator
- Grant Strategist
- Director of Grant Support
- Director of Foundation and Government Relations
What about you – what do you like to be known as? Let us know in the comments!