Independent grant professionals are often in a difficult position when taking on new clients because they don't know who the client will be, or what grant they'll be seeking. This means two pieces of critical information are missing: what the client does, and what the funder wants. Here are some ways to help take some of the uncertainty out of the equation.

Showcase your subject matter expertise

You've undoubtedly worked with some amazing organizations to win some impressive grants and posting that experience somewhere clients can easily see is a great way to help attract the right organizations to work with you, and allow others to keep looking for someone else to work with. Check out the Philanthropy Classification System (PCS) for a comprehensive list of subject matter to help you find just the right terms to describe your experience. Grantable uses the PCS to allow both grant applicants and experts to tag themselves with subject matter expertise.

Maintain a list of grants you've applied for

While keeping the clients anonymous, you can maintain and display a list of grants you've worked on to attract clients who are interested in seeking some of the same grants. Chances are a grant opportunity will attract similar applicant organizations each cycle, which means you may also be able to leverage your existing knowledge base instead of needing to learn a lot of new material. Most of all, if a client hires you for a grant you've submitted before, you'll be able to move more quickly through the ins and outs of the proposal, and you'll be able to deliver next-level value to your client as you guide them through a process you're familiar with. Grantable expert profiles feature a grant portfolio section that allows applicants to search for experts by specific grant and grantor.

Be clear and confident with your rates

Many of us begin by charging too little for our services because we're not sure we're "good enough" to merit the going rate. Slowly, painstakingly, we nudge our rates higher over time as we convince ourselves our clients really appreciate us (because they do!). Once in a while, a well-resourced prospective client will try to lowball you and that's never a good feeling. Clearly posting your fees upfront can help to avoid this uncomfortable situation because organizations who contact are already comfortable with your rates. It's also easier to point to posted pricing than to try and awkwardly bring up fee negotiations in conversation. If you offer a sliding scale fee structure to ensure that your services are affordable with under-resourced organizations, you can always post your rates as "Starting from..." or include a range, which still allows you to reference your standard rates and maintain fairness and transparency. You deserve it!

Conclusion

Finding a niche takes time, but these simple practices can help to speed up the process. Giving prospective clients enough information upfront to help them make the first move to inquire about your services is a powerful way to move your business forward. Help them understand your subject matter expertise, let them know what grants you've worked on before, and give them an idea of how much you charge.