How Does Earning Your GPC Demonstrate Appreciation for Grant Professionals?

Charlisa Garg, GPC

Principal Consultant, Middle Branch Consulting

March, 2015

March is a busy month for grants professionals!

In addition to dealing with our typical high-octane workloads (is anyone else as grateful to the caffeine gods as I am?), this week we are excited to celebrate the first annual International Grants Professionals Week (#IGPW) March 16-20, 2015. #IGPW is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the impact of grant professionals, administrators, consultants, managers, grant makers, and grant writers around the world. Simultaneously, the Grant Professionals Certification Institute is celebrating #31Days of GPC during the whole month of March to highlight the benefits of earning the GPC credential. It’s a good week and month to be a grant pro!

I have eagerly awaited each new installment of the #31DaysofGPC YouTube videos to learn why these grant professionals, some with more than 40 years of experience, chose to get credentialed and how they felt the process has benefitted them and the profession. It made me reflect upon my personal decision to sit for the GPC exam and on how becoming a GPC has helped both my professional development and the growth and reputation of my consulting practice. After a first career in advocacy and legislative affairs, a volunteer assignment at my community hospital opened my eyes to a new field that allowed me to utilize my writing and analytical skills while helping various nonprofits fund their missions. In my efforts to learn more and provide the highest quality services to my growing roster of clients, I discovered and joined GPA. I learned about the GPC and thought that earning that credential would be a way not only prove to myself (and my clients) that I was a proficient and skilled grants professional but also a way to differentiate myself from other consultants. Preparing for the exam pushed me outside of my normal scope-of-practice to learn more about the federal grants process and program evaluation while reinforcing my skills in program planning and budgeting. As a nonprofit consultant with a limited (read: non-existent) marketing budget, the GPC is a professional “seal of approval” (as stated in one of the #31Days videos). I feel it was and remains well worth its cost in time and fees to attain.

Watching the #31Days videos also made me consider how earning my GPC dovetails with the goals of #IGPW: to enhance the prestige of our profession and to celebrate and recognize the impact of grant professionals worldwide. What better way to achieve this than to strive for more and more grant professionals to gain their GPC credential?

Must a grant professional hold the credential to be successful and good at their job? No, but the GPC raises the credibility of the grants profession as a whole, and the more GPCs there are, the better the field is for all grant professionals. What’s more –

  • I RECOGNIZE the value of my GPC on a personal and professional level.
  • I APPRECIATE the thought and hard work of the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI) that went into planning and establishing the GPC in the first place.
  • GPCI’s continued efforts to attract more applicants and to take the GPC credential to next level by exploring accreditation through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies will further ENHANCE the visibility of the GPC as a broadly recognized, objective and current benchmark of ethical grants professionalism.

As #IGPW comes to a close on Friday (International Grant Professionals Day!), I want to thank each and every grant pro reading this blog. I recognize what you do, and the impact you make every day. Your work is both powerful and priceless because you change the world one grant at a time. If you are not a GPC already, I urge you to consider sitting for the exam. If you are on the fence, or unsure of the benefit of earning your GPC, watch the #31DaysofGPC videos or send me an email. Let’s keep this conversation going.

Happy International Grant Professionals Week!

Grant Development: An International Perspective


GPF Board Member, Becky Jascoviak, MBA

Grant Writer, Kids Alive International

March, 2015

I am privileged to serve as the Development Writer for Kids Alive International, a faith-based organization rescuing orphans and vulnerable children from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and absolute poverty. We operate residential homes, schools, care centers, and community programs for over 6,000 children in 15 countries worldwide providing hope for today, dreams for tomorrow and purpose for a lifetime. Kids Alive has been serving the “least of these” for nearly 100 years.

It’s 4:00 am and your Skype ping sounds off from your laptop you left open as it searches through thousands of photos of places you’ve never personally seen. Groggily, you get up to answer the Skype call, just now realizing that the email you sent to set up the call did not indicate the time zone as Central Daylight Time instead of the now-ringing Eastern African Time. Fortunately, the Keurig is only a few steps away.

Writing and managing grants for international programs from a stateside office carries a certain set of worthwhile challenges. Whether it is navigating proper channels of government, tribal councils, or seemingly simple visa documentation, there are always parts that come across as illogical and inefficient to the American norm. What we value in having all the information placed in sequential order with clearly defined references, can be lost on those areas of the world that value relationship over process and where a four-hour phone call replaces a 28-page documented trail of evaluation.

It’s not just the logistics of communication that can be challenging but also language barriers, idiomatic expressions, and cultural relativities as well. Inquisition is the key to discovering real meaning. For instance, it is easy to place my own cultural context on field reports from around the world. Directors provide grades as part of a program evaluation, however they reflect a school year that is based on a calendar year – different implications should certainly be placed on that evaluation. Asking lots of questions, about things that seem mundane have led me to the best cultural discoveries.

This, however, is what makes all the challenges worth writing grants that take three times the amount of time, must be translated, and tell stories about kids I’ve never met. Every day, I get to be part of making an eternal difference in the lives of kids and families who have no hope, no future, and no safety net of any kind. I know I’m helping to not just change a life for a little while but transform a family for generations. And, I get to restore play to children forced to grow up way too soon. That is worth every early morning Skype call, photo library organizational stresses, and the occasional culturally embarrassing flub.

To serving more with excellence … and for all the children who get to sleep in a bed tonight, eat a warm meal or go to school for the very first time…


GPA National Conference: A Grant Professional Pep Rally

Meghann Adams, Grants Specialist
Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia
March, 2015

When I walked into my supervisor’s office for our check-in meeting the Monday after GPA’s 2014 National Conference in Portland, I actually had a smile on my face. The GPA conference schedule was packed, but I returned home feeling motivated and surprisingly refreshed, like I had hit a restart button somewhere in my brain. Never had I seen so many introverts (myself included) willingly together in one place, seemingly enjoying the opportunity to learn from others and share their own experiences. It was truly a grant professional pep rally!

Attending the GPA Annual Conference has enhanced my professional growth, and I believe it will also improve my performance as a grant developer in a number of ways. The conference featured an extensive selection of workshops covering a variety of topics that provided expert views and proven strategies for me to learn and apply to my own work. I attended discussions that focused on how to be successful in preparing specific aspects of a proposal, such as need statements, evidence-based outcomes, logic models and evaluation plans. There were also a few workshops I participated in that presented a broader, “big picture” view on subjects like grant seeking for arts and cultural organizations, grant development systems, program design and the GPC credential and exam.

One thing that surprised me is that I found the networking opportunities at the conference to be just as valuable to me as the workshops. It was clear that most of us are a “one-person show” and we wear multiple hats in our positions. Hearing about the strategies and resources that other grant professionals use to solve some of the same issues I face was very helpful to me. I especially enjoyed the special interest group session because the group discussed the distinctive opportunities and challenges that face our specific sector in the non-profit realm.

In addition to connecting with conference attendees who work for similar organizations, I was able to meet individuals from across the nation that I have worked with over the phone during the past year. I am a committee member on GPA’s Pioneer Award and Bylaw Committees, so it was a real pleasure to talk with some of the other committee members in person and to be able to spend some time to get to know them better. It was also very rewarding to be able to see the recipients of the Pioneer Awards receive their honors in person. Both of them gave very inspiring speeches, and I was pleased that the recognition was truly meaningful to them and their foundations.

The conference also gave me the opportunity to get to know a few GPCs and some members of the GPCI Board, which has motivated me to continue moving forward with submitting my eligibility packet and making the commitment to obtain my GPC credential within the next year. I would like to become certified to increase my credibility and show my employer that I am invested in my professional development and that I am in line with the professional standards within the grant development industry. It would be an honor to obtain this credential to support not only my own goals but also the standard of excellence for the grant profession.

As the Vice President of the Georgia GPA Chapter, I plan to share my experiences and promote the benefits of attending the National Conference during one of our upcoming chapter meetings. The conference also provided me with some ideas of presentation topics and guest speakers for our chapter’s monthly meetings. I think it is important to have a diverse line-up of speakers who appeal to grant writers from different backgrounds and experience levels. The Annual Conference workshops can also serve as a model for the Georgia Chapter as we seek guest presenters for our third Regional Conference this spring.

All of these experiences would not have been possible for me without the conference scholarship, which has proven to be an investment in my professional development. Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to the Grant Professionals Foundation and its donors for providing this opportunity for me to attend my first GPA National Conference. I am looking forward to attending next year’s conference in St. Louis, and I plan to get involved in the conference planning committee when my local chapter hosts the conference the following year in Atlanta.





#IGPW Thank a Grant Professional

IGPW 2015 ad color with Keep Calm Mantra

Grant Professionals It’s time to celebrate… You!

IGPW 2015 ad color with people celebrating

Apply Now for GPF Regional Conference Chapter Sponsorships

Apply Now for GPF Regional Conference Chapter Sponsorships. Calling all GPA Chapters! Does your GPA chapter hold a regional conference? Could it use a little financial boost to help make that conference the best it can be? Then don’t miss the chance to apply for the first annual GPF Regional Chapter Conference Sponsorships!

GPF will award a total of $2,000 to chapters across the country in 2015. Each chapter that enters has a chance to win up to $400 to support its next regional conference.

Entering is easy:

  • Tell us in 250 words or less why the GPF should sponsor your chapter’s regional conference
  • Email your entry, including contact name, email, and phone number to Jay Janssen
  • Act quickly – the deadline is Wednesday, April 15, 2015!

GPF will announce the winners in May. Good luck!