RANDY L. HARRINGTON
WRITER & FREELANCE JOURNALIST
GRANT PROPOSALS & APPLICATIONS
About Grant Writers & Commissions
Very few legitimate Grant Writers work on a commission basis because it is considered
“unethical”. I subscribe to the Professional Code of Conduct and Standards of Professional
Practice of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (www.afpnet.org). A commission or
contingency fee arrangement is considered an illegal “kickback”, and under federal law in
some circumstances may be considered a felony. It is important that any profession provide
a quality service, and remain in business. Grant Writers who charge a commission to their
clients, or work on a “performance” basis are forced to:
● Complete a Grant Application & Proposal Quickly. This generally means that they use
“cookie-cutter” templates to automate the work load.
● Cut corners on research of available grants, and matching the available grants to a
clients particular needs. They often “shotgun” hundred of cookie cutter proposals and
applications to potential funders who generally don;t read their proposals in hopes that
they will get one grant funder to “bite” so that they can pay their overhead, and stay in
Most funding sources that I deal with have very strict guidelines, and requirements for
inquiring about grants, preparing a proposal and application, as well as submitting all
required proposals and backup documentation to support funding.
My funding sources are aware of the “commission” Grant Writers, and since most of their
proposals never meet any specific guidelines of grants being offered their poorly researched,
and drafted proposals generally go to the bottom of the pile, or worse never even considered.
The majority of my funding sources express concern when grant funds are used to pay my
fee. This creates an adversarial position between my funding source, and my objective of
obtaining grant money. These sources feel that my fee should be a cost of doing business,
and if my client can't cover my fee, or expenses, and instead uses grant funding to do so then
their could be mismanagement of their grant monies.
Finally, most of my funding sources require that I file a lengthy, and detailed disclosure
statement that sets forth any business, or financial dealings that I have with my client. Some
grant funding sources feel that a contingency fee arrangement is a “conflict of interest.”
I charge a fair and reasonable fee for the work that I provide that allows me to stay in
business, and cover my overhead, and expenses. Anything less would be unacceptable to
my clients, as well as my grant sources.