A funding specialist locates and secures sources of funding for clients. These can include grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance for activities ranging from the restoration of wetlands to paying for college. Some funding specialists work as freelancers, while others represent specific organizations, or work for consulting firms that offer a range of services to their clients. A degree in finance or a related field may be necessary for some positions, along with experience in a specific industry.
Funding specialists start by meeting with clients to determine the nature of their needs and any limitations. A company looking for funding to expand operations, for example, could talk about what it wants to do and how much money will be required. Deadlines may be discussed as well, to provide information about when the funding needs to arrive to meet the needs of the client. This information helps the funding specialist determine which opportunities are most likely to be suitable.
With this information, the funding specialist can develop a list of potential funding options and explore them for the client. In follow-up meetings, the specialist can provide information about the types of funding available and the access process. This may include filling out applications, attending interviews, and generating documentation to support an application. Funding specialists can also discuss measures the client might take to increase eligibility, like building an environmentally friendly facility to access funds set aside for sustainable endeavors.
As specialist and client identify the funding they want to apply for, the next phase can begin. This involves filling out an application and providing supporting information to increase the probability of getting the funds. Competition for grants in particular can be very intense, and a skilled funding specialist may be needed for a successful application. Specialists keep their clients updated on application status and other details so they can make decisions about how to proceed.
Familiarity with the industry can be important, as the funding specialist needs to understand what the client is doing and what kinds of barriers might develop. People offering consultations on college and university funding, for example, must be aware of the kinds of funds available, tuition costs, and limitations on how grant monies can be spent. They provide information to clients to help them decide which funds to pursue and how to use them. It can also help to have connections in the industry, as this may help funding specialists identify opportunities that are not made available to the general public.