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
- 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.
- Google Drive. We 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!
- Canva. What 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.
- Grammarly. Grant 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.)
- 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!
04 Mar 2017
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
Happy New Year!
We took a moment to reflect on what you thought were our top posts from 2016 and discuss how they can influence our grant seeking in 2017.
ICYMI: Our Top Posts of 2016
Here are our five top posts based on your clicks, comments and shares:
1 – 5 Things NOT to Say in Grant Applications (by Diane Leonard, GPC)
Instead of talking about what to say in your grant applications, we thought what if instead we focus on what NOT to say in a grant application?
2 – 10 Tips Learned From Being a Federal Grant Reviewer (by Judy Riffle, Ph.D.)
Since 2012, I have served on six federal grant review committees. Every time, I learn something different; it is one of the best forms of professional development available for grant writers.
3 – Tips for Your Biggest Grant Writing Challenges of 2016 (by Diane Leonard, GPC)
There definitely was a theme to the challenges for 2016 that were submitted to us. They focused a great deal on relationships with grant makers. How to establish them. Who should hold them. How often to reach out. How to make them stronger.
4 – Three Books That Should be on Every Grant Professional’s Bookshelf (by Bethany Turner, GPC)
As a Grant Professional, I am always looking for new tools and resources to add to my toolbox to help me continue to grow. I love reading blogs, attending webinars, and finding great books to expand my professional knowledge.
5 – Grant Readiness Challenge: Day 1: Take the GRASP Tool (by Diane Leonard, GPC)
It can be difficult to put a clear answer to the question of whether or not an organization is grant ready, as it relies on so many variables. That is why we have started the 30 Day Grant Readiness Challenge. To help all grant seeking organizations improve their grant readiness whether their growth strategy is to get their *first* grant or to increase their award percentage for federal proposals. This challenge is for all grant seekers!
Using Our 2016 Reading to Kick Off a Great 2017
What can we learn from our favorite posts in 2016 that can influence our grant writing in 2017? Plenty! Here are some of our key takeaways:
- Relationships are king! Our colleague Heather Stombaugh, GPC, CFRE always says that “people give to people” and “people make grants to people.” This could not be more accurate! While not all grantmakers have the capacity or preference for pre-award interactions and relationships, many DO, so don’t skip that important step of outreach before applying for a new grant.
- Think like a grantmaker! Ask colleagues to review your proposals against the scoring rubric of a funder. Volunteer to serve on a United Way or Community Foundation community review panel. Sign up to be a federal grant reviewer. Put yourself in the shoes and mindset of a grantmaker to improve your own work.
- Sharpen your skills! We are always all growing as professionals. Whether you have been in the field for five weeks, five months or five years we have so much more to learn and continue to improve in our own individual work. Read! Go to conferences! Attend webinars. Join the Grant Professionals Association. Put your professional development efforts at the top of your list and watch the positive impact on your award list for 2017.
What are you using to inspire your grant seeking for the year ahead? We’d love to hear! Share the links to your favorite posts either you wrote yourself or read by someone else so we can add it to our reading list as well.
There are so *many* registrations that a grant seeking organization ends up having as they dig deeper into a grant seeking strategy. Today, as part of Day of the Grant Readiness Challenge, let’s focus just on government registrations related to grant applications.
There is nothing worse than having a grant team spend a great deal of time and effort on a grant application, only to have the process come to a grinding halt or be denied because a technical government eligibility or registration criteria was not met.
Day 2 of the Grant Readiness Challenge is to ensure that all of your government registrations for grants are current. Take a few minutes today to run through the five questions below:
1 – Does your organization’s IRS exemption letter reflect your current organization name and address?
2 – Is your DUNS record for your organization up to date? Your address? Your leadership’s name and contact information? This information gets imported into SAM.gov so is critical to have current.
3 – Is your SAM.gov registration up to date for your organization as well as your Points of Contact (POC)?
4 – Is your grants.gov account for your organization and your Authorized Organization Representatives (AOR) up to date?
5 – Each state has its own registration requirements, so we will generally say…is your state charitable registration up to date? Your online log-ins? Your Grants Gateway prequalification?
They may seem like small details, but these can be the stressful moments during an application process that will derail your efforts and attention from the important work – the narrative, the budget, the letters of commitment, etc.
Don’t forget to share your journey on the 30 Day Grant Readiness Challenge by using the hashtag #grantreadiness on your posts and updates on social media.
Did you miss the launch of the 30 Day Grant Readiness Challenge? It isn’t too late for you to start! You can sign up at any point and it will start you back on Day 1!