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What is “Good” Grant Writing Success?

What does success mean to a grant writer? Oftentimes success is defined by someone else –the Chief Development Officer, the Executive Director or the Board Chair. Is it a dollar amount at the end of the year? Is it the number of grants submitted per month? Or is it something else?


Research from the Grant Professionals Association 2021 Compensation Survey can help us define our success.

  • 65% of proposals written in the past 12 months resulted in grant funding

  • Respondents submitted an average of 36 grant proposals and managed an average of 32 grants in the past 12 months

  • Respondents who worked primarily as a grant writer:

41% of their time writing grant proposals

29% managing grants

30% on other responsibilities such as administration

These are numbers from established grant writers from different-size organizations. Good success for your organization might look very different.


Many new to grant writing wonder how to define success. Some may immediately look at the dollars received but there are many other considerations. I’ve written about showing your worth to funders. Click HERE to read that article.

A successful grant writer invests in developing their expertise and managing their time. If grant writing is one of many responsibilities, then it’s even more important to research and identify the foundations that are the best matches for your mission Click HERE for my article on creating your grants ecosystem.

Are you chasing dollars and using the “spray and pray” approach by writing as many grants as possible? If the number of grants being submitted is your goal, then this might look like success.

Work with your supervisor to set a realistic goal for your grant writing. For example, ten grants per year, along with other fundraising duties may be a realistic goal. Take your professional development seriously and take a grant writing course or workshop. A consultant, who will work with you, one-on-one is a great way to hone your skills.

Good Success

Foundations tell nonprofits that even the best applications may not be funded because they receive more requests than they can fund each year. Good success equals long-term success for your organization by consistently following the donor cycle: identify, cultivate, solicit, and always steward those funders. Having good relationships with your funders AND getting 60% or more of your grants funded are two solid measures of success.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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