3 Must-Do's for Getting More Grant Writing Clients
You want them lined up at your door just waiting to do business with you. But one of the most common challenges that new grant writing consultants face is finding clients. Fortunately, one of the greatest perks (and there are lots!) about being a grant writing consultant is the ability to work with clients locally, virtually or both – meaning that there is actually a huge client pool to choose from. With more than one and a half million nonprofits in the U.S. alone, you are guaranteed business – if you know how to gain access to them. Fortunately for consultants, there is a much greater demand for grant writers than there are supply. In order to have a steady stream of clients, people first have to know about you and an effective marketing campaign is essential for that. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate – it just needs to express your own message promoting your uniqueness and your abilities. Here are three simple tips to get started:
First, start with setting yourself up to let clients know of your services. Whether you choose to market yourself locally or virtually, clients want to have the ability to check you out on their own. Make it easy for them with an effective website detailing your services. An effective website lends credibility especially if you can include client testimonials. Be honest about your work history and maybe even provide some samples of your work online. The pros suggest bright colors, interesting content and no music. Also, don't forget your business cards. They too can be used to market your services at relatively little cost.
Second, learn how to take advantage of the broad range of online marketing tools available, many for free. LinkedIn can be an incredibly effective method of establishing your network for client referrals. Check out Sean Nelson's award-winning blog on setting up your LinkedIn profile. The man knows what's he's doing with more than 10,000 people in his network! There are also free guidelines available for establishing your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Simply go to their home pages to get started. While I'm not an online marketing genius, I do take advantage of all the free resources that are available and the internet is a gold mine for tips. Just a little digging on your part can reap great rewards.
Third, get out from behind your computer. See and be seen in all the right places that can bring you clients. If you're not already, be sure to join your local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, an association dedicated to professionals in the nonprofit sector. They welcome independent consultants catering to nonprofits. Find a group local to you at www.afpnet.org and attend meetings. With membership including all types of nonprofit professionals, that room will be full of potential clients. Some cities also have “meetup” groups that could not only yield potential clients for you, but teach you more sophisticated marketing and networking techniques. Go to www.meetup.com to find interesting networking groups.
In the end, all of these suggestions are ultimately meant for building relationships. It's relationships that build trust, inspire confidence and will bring you clients. Be bold in putting your name and services in all the right places, follow these tips and engage potential clients warmly through these avenues.