Hiring a Proposal Writer

Dear Kim,

We are hiring a grant writer to help with a pending grant, as well as to set up a template to allow us to get a start on future funding. What should be in our contract with this person?
—Trying to do it right

Dear Do It,

At the risk of offending whatever lawyers read this e-mail, I would say, just put on paper what you want the person to do. A simple letter outlining the scope of the work and the fee should suffice. In 26 years, I have had only a handful of contracts, but plenty of letters of intent, letters of commitment, memorandae of understanding, etc. Most often, I have operated with a handshake. If you trust this person and you are trustworthy, that should be enough for something as simple as this.

P.S. Technically, only grantmakers can write grants–people like us write “proposals”hoping to get grants. I only say this because I think you can tell a little about how inexperienced someone is if they market themselves as a “grantwriter.”