All the back-to-school sales and pictures of squeaky clean kids with backpacks have me thinking about education and professional development. What does continuing education look like for a grant writer? There are endless opportunities, but budgeting time and money for them is challenging. I’ve summarized six tips that are easy on your budget, in regards to both time and money.
1 – Sign up for notifications. If you’re a foundation grant writer, sign-up for newsletters or blogs from foundations that you propose to. It’s imperative to stay up-to-date on foundations’ missions. If you’re a government proposal writer, sign-up for grants.gov notifications or for each state agency that you work with.
2 – Participating in webinars. Many grant professional webinars are free. Most last one hour and are presented by a working grant professional. As a member of the Grant Professionals Association, all webinars are free. GPA live webinars are recorded, and there’s a treasure trove of grant topics to choose from anytime you have a free hour in your schedule. The Nonprofit Times, CharityHowTo and GrantSpace all offer low cost or free trainings.
3 – Reading. A great source for affordable grants professional books is Charity Channel. I’m a library lover, so occasionally I’ll browse my regional or state library catalog for new grant books. I limit my search by publication date (current and previous years) so that I’m not reading outdated material.
4 – Attending Conferences. If a national conference (like the Grant Professionals Association National Conference) takes more time and money (many professional conferences do offer scholarships like those through the Grant Professionals Association Foundation) than you have, consider a nonprofit conference in your state. If a state conference is still outside of your budget, consider a workshop that a nonprofit is teaching in your region. Community foundations are good resources to learn of opportunities in your region. Networking with other professionals often opens new doors of ideas, opportunities and collaborations.
5 – Publishing. Like teaching, writing funnels you into clarity about your topic. Write your own blog post on a grant topic. Write a guest blog post. Blog posts are generally brief, and may only take an hour or two to write. If you have a larger idea and more time, consider writing an article or a white paper.
6 – Studying for your Grant Professional Certification. This year, the GPC exam is even more approachable since several grant professionals published the Prepare for the GPC Exam book. If you’ve been a grant pro for three years and received at least five grant awards, the GPC can add to the depth and legitimacy to your professional skills. Once eligible and registered, the GPC prep and exam is a three- to nine-month process.
Like the excitement of September’s return to school season, you can stay fresh with your professional skills. Today our resources are accessible and numerous. Pick one or two and work them into your calendar in the upcoming months to keep a crisp edge to your skill set.
What do you have on your calendar for professional development these next six months? We’d love to hear – who knows, maybe someone from our team will even see you there online or in-person! Share your upcoming plans with us via social media, the comment section of the website or via the contact us form on our website.