Every time I meet a new grant professional and hear about their work, I am totally in awe. We juggle so many deadlines and responsibilities. The work we do is IMPACTFUL to communities around the world. In case you have never met a grant pro, here’s a sampling of what I’m talking about. My friend Laura works for Habitat for Humanity and funds the building of homes for families. My pal Alan works for Miami-Dade County and ensures that massive infrastructure (roads, bridges, parks, stormwater catch basins, and so much more) is available and safe for residents and visitors alike. My buddy Lisa works for Westcare, which offers programs across the continuum of health and human services, programs that treat substance use, manage mental health disorders, and help those dealing with HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and homelessness.
We match the right funding programs to our organization’s programming. We tease out the research that explains the community’s need. We develop proposals that demonstrate what is going on and how we can help, usually within a minimal character count within an online portal that was not meant for grant applications. (No stress there.) We handle funder site visits, write reports, spend the money, account for said money correctly, and ensure everything we promised in that grant application is delivered on time and managed on budget. Then we do it again. And again. And again.
And the whole time we do this, we educate our bosses, boards, and colleagues that:
- No, money does not grow on trees.
- No, we cannot do whatever we want with grant funding.
- No, we cannot ignore our award agreement’s grant terms and conditions.
- Yes, we must provide the funder with our list of board members, including their age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and name of their firstborn child. (Okay, probably not that last one, but funders do get all up in our business.)
- Yes, we must use grants for things we will do, not to pay for a building we funded 10 years ago.
Basically, we are rock stars. And many of us have great ideas on how to make the grant world a better place. We dream of a promotion at work, a seat at our organization’s leadership table, our own consulting business, open communication with funders, software that makes our lives easier, training that helps the newest batch of grant professionals, and so much more. But so many of us dismiss those ideas of ours because we think we do not have the time, resources, or ability to move our dreams to reality. We see others doing the things we would like to, but for some reason, we hold back. Call it fear, imposter syndrome, or whatever you want, but I am here to tell you that if you are a successful grant professional, you have what it takes to turn your dream into a reality.
I saw a quote the other day on social media (attributed to an anonymous poster with the initials m.h.) that really resonated with me. I’m paraphrasing here, but it said this: Guess what? Nobody has their act together; no one. That person you’re thinking of that seems like they have it all figured out? They have no idea what they’re doing, either.
Anyone who took that leap into a new job, business, product launch, etc., did so by taking said leap. And I’m here to tell you that GRANT PROFESSIONALS ARE STRONG AND MIGHTY. In the latest Fundraising HayDay podcast, Kimberly and I spoke with Gauri Manglik, CEO, and Co-founder of Instrumentl, about an idea she worked on until Instrumentl, the prospect research platform she co-developed, was born. You can learn about her process, success, and advice here: Entrepreneurship and You (podbean.com). Take a listen, and maybe consider your next big leap. I know you can do it!
DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC is so excited to be season 5 sponsors for Fundraising HayDay, a podcast about grants and such. Catch up on seasons 1 – 4 and stay up to date on the new season here.
Don’t let grants stress you out, check out the helpful grant writing services our team has to offer here.