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Happy early International Grant Professionals Day!

What is this professional holiday you ask? The Grant Professionals Association launched #IGPD four years ago and states that “International Grant Professionals Day and Week is the annual celebration to recognize and show appreciation to all grant professionals.” DH Leonard Consulting is pleased to have been a partner for #IGPD each of the four years with some of our fabulous colleagues and businesses that operate the tools that many of us rely on.

A few years ago, I challenged everyone to think about how you as a grant professional think about celebrating the success of your grant teams. It should be an ongoing focus for you as a grant professional whether an employee or a consultant. Are you wondering how others are Celebrating Success in a Grant Team? Catch up on that post here.

As we stop to think what #lifeasagrantwriter looks like, and maybe pause to chuckle at a few of -isms about “You Know You Are a Grant Writer When…” from Bethany Turner, GPC, what is your biggest professional achievement from the past year?

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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!

16 Dec 2016

Takeaways from #GPAConf16

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Last month Diane, Nicole, Rena, Micki, Judy and I along with 700+ other grant professionals attended the Grant Professionals Association National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. For the last couple of years, I have watched all the fun from afar as it just wasn’t in the budget to attend. But this year I was able to attend my first GPA conference. It truly is “where the grant people meet.”

I thought I would share some of the things I took away from the conference. With over 70 workshops to choose from, it was difficult to choose which session to attend, but I did come away with great information each one I did choose.

The keynote speaker was Darian Rodriquez Heyman, an accomplished fundraiser, social entrepreneur, and best-selling author. Darian’s session focused on exploring how grant professionals can get in the door, build authentic relationships with funders, and steward them over time. His session included an interactive panel featuring representatives from some of the most impactful foundations in the metro-Atlanta region.

  • Grant Declined? Ask for feedback.
  • We [funders] fund you not because you have needs, but because you [nonprofit organizations] meet needs.
  • Grantmakers don’t give to you, they give THROUGH you!
  • Relationships determine results.
  • READ – Research, engage, apply, and deliver.
  • In God we trust, everything else we measure.

I am the Juggernaut: 7 Keys to Becoming an Unstoppable Force for Good in the World by Val Porter from Foundation Center

  • As a grant professional, you are the connection between the people you serve and the people who can invest in them.
  • You become the standard-bearer to ensure your org does what it says it will do with the money it receives.
  • Think “comparator” rather than “competitor.”

Welcome the Detours: Roadmaps for a Grant Career that Fits Your Life by Diane and Kimberly Tso

  • What can you do to adapt to your current situation?
  • What is your why? – Why do you work in the nonprofit sector? Why are you a consultant and/or employee?

Don’t Let Your Paycheck Determine Your Ethical Standards by Cyndi MacKenzie and Scot Scala

  • Unethical practices are unsustainable.
  • Why a code of ethics? Govern conduct of a person or members of an organization.

Ignite the Grant Profession – 8 speakers using the ignite presentation format

  • Supporting another’s success won’t dampen yours. – Amanda Day
  • Conserving words can also conserve clarity. – Sylvia Redic
  • It takes money to make money. – Danny Blitch

I came away with so many takeaways and action items from the sessions I attended. But truly the most important part of the conference was getting to meet and interact with other grant professionals in real life. Online communities like #GrantChat are awesome and needed, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction.


I am counting down the days until we get to do it over again at #GPAConf17.


Were you at #GPAConf16? What was your biggest takeaway from this year’s conference? We’d love to hear! Share your takeaways with us in the comments section below or via social media. Looking forward to seeing you at #GPAConf17 in San Diego!

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