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Can a Nonprofit Pay a Grant Writer as a Percentage of a Grant?

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Payday on a calendar with money.
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Question: Can a Nonprofit Pay a Grant Writer as a Percentage of a Grant?
A reader asked, "Is it legal / ethical / advisable to hire a grant writer for a nonprofit, and compensate them on a percentage basis of the successfully procured grants?"

I asked Heather Stombaugh, who is a professional grant writer and frequent contributor to this site, to answer. Here is what she said:

Answer:

It is unethical to pay a grant writer on commission according to the guidelines of both the Grant Professionals Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Here’s an excerpt from the Grant Professionals Association’s Code of Ethics:

“In alignment with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Code of Ethics 24, GPA’s Code of Ethics states, 'Members shall not accept or pay a finder’s fee, commission, or percentage of compensation based on grants and shall take care to discourage their organizations from making such payments.' The funder is awarding dollars based on several variables, including the community need, the efficacy of the project, and the organization’s capacity to implement, deliver, monitor, and sustain the project.”

Professional grant writers would never accept this sort of payment because we would lose our memberships to our national organizations.

More from Heather Stombaugh:

More Grant Writing FAQs.

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