The grant writing industry is rife with “scammers”. Because there is so much money involved in both the receiving of grant funds as well as the preparation process that many marketers and perhaps unethical grant writers are viewing for a piece of the market. It has been estimated that at least half of all grant writing websites are from grant scamming sources.
A quick general way to determine if a website is likely to be from a grant scammer are in the words and text used. If the website contains any of the following phrases it is highly likely it is from a grant scamming source.
• Free Government Money
• Pre-approved for grant funding
• Money for all kinds of businesses and purposes.
• Fix-up your house
• Buy property
Grant scammers are more likely to be sales people only rather than a certified grant writer. They are more likely to make the first contact to a first time client by phone. It is common for professional grant writers to place advertisements and wait for potential clients to contact them. Scammers are more aggressive and will often make the initial contact to the potential client.
Scammers are likely to charge an inflated fee for their services. Some scammers will continue to add charges for extraneous reasons. If the grant writer asks for additional fees to pay off your taxes, parking tickets, or other personal items, they are almost certain a grant scammer.
The fees to write a grant and research for funding opportunities should be based on an hourly rate, or a flat fee which has some basis in an hourly rate. Most grants proposal or applications require about 50 hours of time or less to complete.
Scammers are not members of a professional association. Professional associations will monitor their members and will discipline or discontinue the membership of anyone not following the professional ethics and standards. Check out the suspected scammer’s name with a professional association.
All grants have their own name and many grants have an ID number. So when someone says something like “The government has $100,000 in your name – all you have to do is give me some money to fill out the application for you!”, check it out. Ask them for the name and number of the funding source. It should raise a red flag if they are hesitant or do not give it to you at all. Whenever in doubt consult with a certified grant writer.