I’ve worked as a consultant for many years now and one thing I know is that establishing trust with clients is important. I’ve watched many consultants over the years fail to build trust with their clients and the result has always been that they fail. Critical ways for a grant writer to lose trust with a client are low approval rates and lack of confidentiality.
The problem with grant writing business failure, beyond the obvious trouble for the consultant, is that the client suffers because they’ve worked to get approval for a consulting agreement. The client has demonstrated their trust in an individual who let them down; it damages the client’s reputation within their organization.
Hiring a grant writer is a big decision because it costs money. While a good grant writer can earn an organization large awards, if the consultant is average or poor, their grants will be funded at a low percentage and contracting with them will cost the organization a lot of money with little or no return on investment.
A poor approval rate erodes trust quickly and another key way to lose the trust of a client is to be less than strictly confidential. I’ve witnessed many consultants lose trust with clients because they are unprofessional and share information they shouldn’t. It may be information about themselves, their co-workers, competitors, or their other clients. A grant writer who is inclined toward gossip will never make a good consultant; these people are a liability to an organization, not a benefit. There is no positive return on investment for gossip.
An easy way to identify a consultant that will not be trustworthy is that they share derogatory information about their competitors to make themselves look good. If a grant writer is willing to gossip about competitors, the client has evidence to question the consultant’s confidentiality with regard to their own organization. It is certain the client’s personal and organizational faults and foibles will be gossiped to anyone who gives an ear. As the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
A grant writer must have a history of writing successful proposals and be capable of maintaining professional confidentiality in order to achieve a successful career. Organizations are wise to hire consultants cautiously and pay attention to the level of professionalism they display.
Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you. ~Spanish Proverb~
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Photo Credits: Israel Papillon & Julia Freeman-Woolpert