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“If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” —Stephen King


It is well-known that reading improves writing, and writing is a large part of the responsibilities of a grant professional. Because of this, the DH Leonard Consulting Team discussed our reading lives recently based on a shortened version of the What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You? Discussion presentation developed by Trish Bachman, GPC and me for the Grant Professionals Association annual conference.


Here is the summary of our discussion so you can learn more about the team:


What are your favorite books, blogs, and podcasts about grant writing/fund development?


To read more about these books, check out Three Books that Should be on Every Grant Professional’s Bookshelf.


Why do you read?

  • Escape
  • Relax
  • Provide boundaries
  • Help fall asleep
  • Learn
  • Reading is like food. It is a necessity.
  • You can go anywhere with a book.
  • The social aspect of discussing books – book clubs, Bookstagram, etc.
  • To be sophisticated


What books sparked your love for reading?


What is the last book finished?


What book do you frequently recommend to others?


We’d love to get you know you through books as well. We would love to hear what the last book is that YOU finished. Let us know in the comments section!

2018 was quite the year in the field of grant writing as well as for the DH Leonard Consulting team. As it winds down and we ensure that all of our clients have their grant calendars and grant teams in great shape for the year ahead, we paused to look at which blog posts YOU enjoyed the most this year.

I’ve turned them into a Top 10 Highlights list reminiscent of Dave Letterman’s Top 10 lists. Enjoy catching up on these popular posts in case you missed them when they were originally published.

Top 10 Grant Writing Tips & Lessons Learned of the Year

10. Storytelling is a critical element in grant applications – it isn’t just about client stories as a method of storytelling.

Answers to the Most Common Questions about Storytelling in Grants

by Diane H. Leonard, GPC


9. While a rejection letter/email always stings, sometimes there is a silver lining for the organization.

The Value of the Grant Process…Regardless of the Outcome

by Briana Popek


8. Grant professionals *are* superheroes, but like any professional, we have boundaries for how and when our best work is performed and 2am is rarely the answer.

Setting Boundaries as a Grant Professional

by Diane H. Leonard, GPC


7. Sharing knowledge and lessons learned with those new to the field is an important part of what we can do as seasoned professionals to help grow our field.

Dear New Grant Professional…a Letter from an Experienced Grant Professional

by Diane H. Leonard, GPC


6. Grant professionals find inspiration for our writing in many elements of our daily life, including what movies we watch.

Movies for Grant Writers

by Amy Bonn, GPC


5. An answer to one of the most common questions answered by those new to grant writing that helps them judge how much time grant writing is going to take in their role.

How Much Time Does it Take to Write a Grant?

by Diane H. Leonard, GPC


4. What does your #lifeasagrantwriter or #lifeasagrantpro look like? These items might help you realize that you truly ARE a grant writer now, not just dabbling in it as part of “other duties as assigned” in your job description.

You Know You Are a Grant Writer When…

by Bethany Turner, GPC


3. Unfortunately, grant writing scams are real, and the news real in 2018 highlighted that for the public again.

How to Avoid a Grant Writing Scam

by Diane H. Leonard, GPC


2. Not all foundations are going to love your organization, whether Gates, Kellogg, or a local family foundation as their mission may not be a strong fit with yours.

The Gates Foundation Is Just Not That Into You…

by Nicole Sibilski, GPC



1. The safety of our communities, and in particular our schools, is a hot topic throughout the country so it makes sense that tips about the funding available for school safety grants would be a top post this year.

School Safety Grants

by Judy Riffle, Ed.D.


What other blog posts did you read and find to be bookmark worthy or shareable this year? Whether from our team or another source, we’d love to hear what you would add to the top 10 list!

Indeed, we are doing things a bit backward here – it is OUR anniversary, but YOU the grant writer/grant professional that we are honored to call colleagues are going to get the gifts!

But first I paused to ask myself, “Where has the time gone?” 12 years ago, I started a business with the idea that my background as a Program Officer and then my experience as a staff grant writer for a large organization would be a great combination to help build grant seeking in nonprofits.

Now, 12 years later, looking back on what has changed in our field, is the answer “A LOT!” fair?

Top 5 Things That I LOVE About What Has Changed in Our Grant Seeking World

  1. Online applications. Roll our eyes as we may at the character and word counts that are sometimes too small for our liking, online applications (especially, our team favorite, Foundant!) have made our field more efficient for everyone – the writers, the grantmaking staff, and the reviewing volunteers and board members. Yes, FedEx and UPS lost some overnight shipping business, but the stress level of hundreds of grant professionals is better as a result of this advancement.
  2. Google DriveWe no longer have to send narratives back and forth as attachments in email, worrying about who has the most recent draft and trying to merge tracked changes from multiple colleagues into one document. It is live. All. The. Time. All grant team members can always see the latest version and weigh in with a suggested edit or comment. Life changing!
  3. CanvaWhat did we do to create so many awesome images for grant applications and grant reports before Canva? No clue. I’m not graphically creative (just ask my team!), and no, we aren’t affiliates for Canva, but having this tool available for free to nonprofits is fabulous.
  4. GrammarlyGrant professionals are fast typers. We have to be. And sometimes our fast fingers make a mistake, and it isn’t until we click submit or send that we realize that there was a typo in the online form or body of the email. Grammary (again, not an affiliate, just a huge fan!) took this worry away, even with “just” the free version. Now the visual cue in the online forms/email just as we are used to in the Word documents and Outlook email systems helps us pause to ensure that we are sending the funder says that “we are appreciative and not that “we are appreciate”. True story. (And for the record, that last phrase is in red as I type this blog post as Grammarly is desperately trying to tell me I made a mistake.)
  5. But the big one? Grant Professionals. That is right, not grant writers, rather grant professionals. Whether a Grant Professional Certified or not, grant professionals are advancing our field by leaps and bounds each year. Holding each other accountable to our ethical standards through the Grant Professionals Association. Working with grantmaker’s for stronger transparency. Working with nonprofit organizations to strive for strong outcomes and to share those results with all of their stakeholders.

Now on to the gifts!

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Happy International Grant Professionals Week, and an early Happy International Grant Professionals Day!

What is this professional holiday you ask? The Grant Professionals Association launched #IGPD three years ago and states that “International Grant Professionals Day and Week is the annual celebration to recognize and show appreciation to all grant professionals.”

Last year, I challenged everyone to think about how you as a grant professional think about celebrating the success of your grant teams. Are you wondering how you others are Celebrating Success in a Grant Team? Catch up on that post here.

This year as we get ready to celebrate International Grant Professionals Week (March 6 – March 10, 2017) and International Grant Professionals Day (March 10, 2017), I am excited to be brainstorming ways that I personally can thank my awesome team for the work they do (shh, no spoiler alerts here!), the grant teams at our client’s for the work they do, and how to increase visibility of this day in the larger professional community.

Each year, I watch my spouse and his colleagues celebrate Engineer’s Week with fun building challenges in the engineering department like egg drops, soap box derby races and balsa bridge building. I wonder what a fun challenge would look like for grant professionals?

Best scored need statement section as judged by peers durig the week?

Most compelling 250 character goal statement as submitted to your local GPA chapter?

Best track record of reaching out to new potential GPA members or new professionals interested in the field?

It isn’t as easy to *see* our work as grant professionals. That is part of why the #grantswork hashtag was started this year. It is a great way to encourage us as grant professionals to highlight the amazing impact of grant funding and the work that we do. So if you are wondering how to celebrate the day or week yourself, whether your colleagues recognize you with a special lunch or other recognition, take a moment to share your #grantswork stories and pat yourself on the back for the impact you are creating through your work as a grant professional. You can check out the #grantswork stories that our team has shared over the past two years here.

How do you plan to celebrate International Grant Professionals Day? Or International Grant Professionals Week? We’d love to hear/see! Share your pictures and stories with us in the comments section on the website, via our social media pages, or by using the hashtag #IGPD.

Thank you for all YOU do to make #grantswork change our communities!

05 Feb 2017

It’s True…#GrantsWork

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It’s true…#GrantsWork
Grant professionals help to change the world one grant at a time.
We have been talking about Grant Funding in Action here on our team and our blog for the past two years as each member of our team has had the chance to see some of their grant work come to fruition in ways that they could witness in their own communities and even families.
One of my favorite #grantswork stories is one that is personal. It’s a story where I already knew the #grantswork we were doing with a client was creating great outcomes for our client and the students they served. Then I had the chance to go on the grant funded field trip that wraps up their education program with the school and see my daughter and her classmates. It was an awesome moment of my worlds colliding!
The Grant Professionals Association launched #grantswork as a hashtag last week to help grant professionals have the chance to show and tell what impact their work and funded grants are making.
Share your story with the Grant Professionals Association here so we can help spread the great news to the world about how #GrantsWork!Looking forward to hearing each of your stories!

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