The More I Learn About Grants, The Less I Know
At what point would you consider yourself an expert in the grant profession? Is it based on the number of years in the business? Once you’ve earned your Grant Professional Certified (GPC) credential? Your first multi-million-dollar grant award from the feds? When you make the transition to consultant? Or how about when you are a sought-after trainer and speaker?
The first fifteen years of my career I worked full-time in local government as a grants administrator. I specialized in federal grants, both writing and management. I sought and received funding for police and firefighting equipment, new playgrounds, roads and sidewalks, trails, detention ponds, stream restorations, art classes, historical studies, and so much more. If you had asked me back then, I would have told you I was a grant generalist who knew a little bit about everything.
Then five years ago I transitioned to consulting work. I’ve broadened my horizons, working on private grants for clients who work in the health, substance abuse, and animal rescue fields. And I have subcontracted on a variety of other projects, learning about Health and Human Service Department and Department of Education grant applications. And all this variety the past few years has taught me that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did.
The grant world is immense! Funding is available to improve the environment and environmental justice, provide public transit, support youth programs, end hunger and homelessness, and so much more. Funders come in all shapes and sizes, from federal, state, and local governments to foundations and corporations. Grant applications vary in depth and breadth, from one-page Letters of Inquiry to 100 pages of narrative and attachments. No matter how long you have worked in this business, you will never have the time to master every grant application and program out there.
It is why my podcast co-host Kimberly Hays de Muga and I decided to focus on a specific aspect of the grant field each season. In Season 4, Episode 6 we interviewed TJ Hansell, a grant professional who focuses on funding for Tribal Nations. The more TJ shared, the more in awe we were of the intricacies associated with grant funding for tribal governments. The one thing it has in common with all grants: relationships and trust are vital. Take a listen here: Expert Opinion: Tribal Nations (podbean.com).
No matter what type of organization you write for, or the source of your funds, there’s one thing for certain: you always have something new to learn. Through the Fundraising HayDay podcast, we help you stay in the know, continue your education, and never rest on your laurels. Resting on pointy sticks and leaves doesn’t sound very comfortable, anyway.
DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC is so excited to be season 4 sponsors for Fundraising HayDay, a podcast about grants and such. Catch up on seasons 1 – 3 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.