Grants Officer

The Job and What's Involved

As a grants officer, you would assess applications for grants and funding from charitable trusts, government or public bodies.

Depending n the grant-making organisation you worked for, you could assess applications from individuals, charities, community groups or university research departments.

It might be your responsibility to decide to award funding, or you might refer the applications to a senior grants officer, programme director or a committee for a final decision.

Your duties would typically include:

  • Checking that applications meet the funding criteria.
  • Advising people about how to apply.
  • Assessing applications against a strict set of rules.
  • Giving information and recommendations to the decision-making panel.
  • Keeping people informed about the progress of their application.
  • Administering grant payments.
  • Supporting a case load of grant holders and monitoring their progress.
  • Keeping accurate records of applications and payments
    giving presentations to publicise grant schemes.

In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday. Part-time work may be available.

You would be office-based, but may also spend some of your time travelling to meet applicants and consultants, visit projects and give presentations.

Salaries are generally between £20,000 and £35,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You could work for grant-making trusts and charities, the Big Lottery Fund, local and national government, arts councils, academic research foundations and large public companies.

Competition for jobs can be strong because only a small proportion of the largest grant-making trusts employ paid staff.

Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, trusts' own websites (see the ACF website for a list of charitable trusts) and some specialist charity recruitment agencies.

You could come to grant-making from a variety of backgrounds. Whatever your background, employers will usually expect you to gave skills and experience in areas such as:

- Basic accounting and budget management
- Database administration
- Project management
- Information gathering

Some organisations will prefer you to have experience in the type of projects that they fund, for example, conservation, the arts or community work. Awarders of scientific research grants may ask for a science degree. You should check exact entry requirements with each employer.

You will also need to show an understanding of the voluntary and community sector, so you will find it helpful to have paid or unpaid work experience in these areas.

If you want to gain experience in the voluntary sector, you can find out about local opportunities from the do-it.org or, for Northern Ireland, the Volunteer Development Agency. You could also contact Working for a Charity about their short courses and work placement scheme.

Education and Training

You will learn on the job from experienced grants officers and trustees. Your employer may also arrange for you to take part in short courses and seminars such as the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) professional development programme.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You may find it useful to work towards a postgraduate qualification such as City University in London's part-time Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in Grantmaking Management.

Several other universities offer postgraduate courses in charity management, fundraising and voluntary sector management, which you may find useful as your career progresses. Courses are usually part-time or distance learning.

For some jobs you will also need specialist knowledge, for example in science or the arts.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A grants officer needs:

  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills.
  • The ability to analyze complex information and figures.
  • Fair and objective decision making ability.
  • A willingness to work to strict guidelines.
  • Good organisational and planning skills.
  • Good computer and administrative skills.
  • The ability to work well individually and as part of a team.
  • Tact and empathy.
  • The confidence to give presentations.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could progress to senior grants officer, become a freelance grants consultant, or move into charity management.

Get Further Information

Working For A Charity
NCVO, Regent's Wharf
8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL
Tel: 020 7520 2512
Website: www.wfac.org.uk

Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF)
Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place,
London WC1H 0AE
Tel: 020 7255 4499
Website: www.acf.org.uk

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