Collective Value, Collective Power: Grant Professionals Impact Survey

DID YOU KNOW: The Grant Professionals Impact Survey helps us understand how grant pros make the world a better place, one grant at a time. The ground-breaking survey, created and sponsored by the Grant Professionals Foundation, analyzes the work of grant professionals who write, manage, research, develop, administer, and plan projects funded in whole or part with grant funds. The results of the survey are used to inform Grant Professionals Association (GPA) membership recruitment, professional development opportunities, and the “state of the profession” for our conversations with nonprofit leaders, development directors, funders, and other stakeholders affected by the work of grant professionals.


In 2015, the Impact Survey gained new ground through a four-year comparative analysis. The results of the study were published in the 2015 edition of the Journal of the Grant Professionals Association. The results illustrate how the work of grant professionals is instrumental in raising funds, supporting new and continuing programs, and leading nonprofits to success.


  • Each grant professional secures an average of $4,057,106 in funding each year.


  • GPA members spend a significantly higher percentage of time on grant writing and CEO/executive director functions than non-GPA members.


  • People who do not hold the GPC (Grant Professional Certified) credential secured a significantly greater percentage of program grants than professionals who hold the GPC, while GPC respondents secured a significantly higher percentage of capital and research grants than those without the credential.


Four years of survey results (2010-2014) provide quantitative evidence of the collective power and value of grant professionals. Grant professionals enable real change in people’s lives everywhere.


You can read the full peer-reviewed article HERE. And look for the next Grant Professionals Impact Survey in August 2016!


Fresh Start for a New Year

By Teri Blandon, Vice President for Development at PAI – Champions of Global Reproductive Rights

GPF Marketing Committee Member


It is the end of December, and I have just finished my first week at a new job after four years at my previous employer. Six months ago when I volunteered to write this blog, a new adventure wasn’t even on my radar screen. Life has a way of throwing opportunities at you when you least expect them.


With this experience occurring at the end of the calendar year, I have been thinking a lot lately about changes. Changes can be planned or unplanned, good or bad, professional or personal, etc. But sometimes we need to be purposeful in making changes to keep growing and developing as grant professionals. So here are some ideas for big and small changes to jumpstart your 2016.


Do something else.

Do you believe in your organization’s mission? Do you believe in the ability of its leaders to fulfill the mission? Are you happy in your job? If your answers to any of these are “no,” then you might want to think about changing jobs. A good way to start is by paying attention to open positions posted on the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) Job Center.


Broaden your perspective.

As grant professionals, we can often feel isolated. I work in the Washington, DC metro area, home to hundreds of grant specialists, and even I can feel alone at times. If you’re feeling this way, definitely consider attending the 2016 Grant Professionals Association conference in Atlanta, where you will meet hundreds of other people who speak the grants language fluently. If cost is an issue, apply for a scholarship through the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF). But don’t just attend – participate! Apply to be a presenter, volunteer to help out with registration or a session, or lend a hand at the GPF silent auction.

Can’t make it to Atlanta? See if there is a GPA chapter close to you. Chapters organize events and social opportunities throughout the year. Not only can you network and learn new skills, but you can also volunteer and serve in leadership positions.


Expand your network.

If you can’t attend the national conference and there are no GPA chapters close to you, you can still get involved and meet people by volunteering throughout the year. All of the various committees work remotely, so you can participate in meetings from the comfort of your office or home! For GPA, check out the volunteer page on the GPA website (you must be a member to access it) and contact Barb Boggs, Volunteer Relations Manager, at for more information. Also, the Foundation has a sign-up page on its website with information on volunteering for a committee or applying to run for the National Board. Likewise, the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI) has various roles for volunteers; contact to find out more.


Change your knowledge base.

Do you have your GPC yet? If not, commit to working on it this year. If you think it has no value to you because you’ve been in the field for a long time, I politely and emphatically disagree. I was a grizzled grants veteran of 15+ years when I decided to apply and sit for the exam. For me, the value was two-fold: recognition of my expertise and an opportunity to learn about areas of professional practice in which I didn’t have as much experience. I used the literature review provided on the GPCI website to identify resources for brushing up on my weak areas. All in all, the process of preparing for the exam made me a much stronger grant professional. And don’t forget that the Foundation offers scholarships to help with the cost of applying and sitting for the GPC exam.

If you already have your GPC, continuing education is crucial, not just for maintaining your GPC but also to keep your skills sharp. In addition to sessions offered through the GPA chapters and at the GPA Annual Conference, there are over 70 on-demand webinars provided through GPA, and more live webinars to come in 2016. The webinars provide GPC Continuing Education Units (CEUs), and many are also eligible for Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) CEUs. Both the live and on-demand webinars are free for GPA members.


Give back.

When I attended my first GPA conference (Boston, 2004), I felt like I had found a home. I had spent years of attending conferences that were somewhat helpful but didn’t completely address the challenges and questions that I had as someone who focused on grants. In GPA, then in the Foundation and GPCI, I found my professional family – people who understood exactly what I was talking about. The bonding was immediate, and I left Boston with a renewed sense of purpose. For the first time, I realized that I could make a career out of focusing on grants.

I want to give that experience for other people as well. That’s why I donate to the Grant Professional Foundation. I invite you to join me and help our community of dedicated professionals to grow and flourish.



Best Learning Opportunity, Ever: GPA National Conference

By Ashlee Lambert, Development Specialist at Caritas Family Solutions

St. Louis Chapter Scholar


The day I received the news that I was a recipient of the St. Louis Chapter – Grant Professionals Association Scholarship, to attend the 2015 GPA National conference, the excitement began! I was excited to gain knowledge from the best in our profession and to network with grant professionals from all levels, from all special interest groups, and from all over the United States. When the conference arrived, I was able to do just that.


The first day, I met colleagues from Alaska to Hawaii, to California and New York! The most interesting thing about meeting others from all over the country was that we were experiencing the same difficulties and trying to overcome the same obstacles. We were all trying to do more with less, to solicit funds from foundations that receive hundreds of proposals, to educate program staff on the importance of grants, reporting, and ethics, and to meet deadlines and word count restrictions. Networking allowed me not to feel alone in a profession that is not always understood.


The sessions provided some of the most useful knowledge of any workshop I have attended thus far! My favorite was “Answering the Sustainability Question.” It was the favorite of many—several of us even sat on the floor to be able to hear the insightful advice on what sustainability really means to funders!


During the SIG sessions I was able to network with other grant professionals in my field and also within my target location. I gained new foundation targets for funding our programs and capital campaign. Without the SIGs I would have never had the opportunity to meet these colleagues.


In addition, I volunteered at the Grants Professionals Foundation Silent Auction two different times during the conference. The time volunteering allowed for me to network once again with other grant professionals. It also afforded me the opportunity to see how other organizations create their silent auctions. Much like other grant professionals, I wear many hats in my position and organize my agency’s special events and auctions. Anytime I can learn new tricks of the trade—it’s a great day!


The 2015 GPA conference was an amazing learning and networking experience! The conference left me feeling motivated, energized, and understood, and it was fun! We all shared many smiles and laughs, and by the end of the conference it was like we were all old friends. I would encourage any and all grant professionals to attend the 2016 GPA conference in Atlanta!


Professional Development That Never Disappoints!

By Marissa Cassellius, Grants Manager for Youth on Their Own

Susan Kemp Memorial Scholar


It’s been a month since I prepared myself for the 17th Annual GPA Conference. Packing those cold weather clothes that have been stuffed in the back of my closest for years (I hail from Wisconsin, but have become a winter wimp since moving to Tucson). Sorting through the conference workshop schedule with multiple highlighters on hand, color coding my top picks. Preparing myself for three full days of learning, networking, more learning, and more networking.


This is both my third year in the grants profession and the third GPA conference I have attended. Let me tell you, the conference NEVER disappoints! Despite the ever growing attendance each year, it’s remarkable how many familiar faces I saw strolling through the halls of the Hyatt Regency. But for every recognized face, there are dozens of new faces eager to meet you— to learn about your organization, to comprehend the needs of your clients, to hear why you do what you do, to just say hello.


That’s the thing about GPA—everyone is so warm and welcoming. Whether you are brand new to the field or have been a part of the GPA family for years, there is a place for you. There were no “silly questions” in any of the presentations I attended. In fact, I found that many of the questions I had brewing in my mind happened to have been asked by someone else before I got my hand up!


One key takeaway for me this year was the well-known notion that success in grants is based on relationships, relationships, relationships. This entails developing relationships with funders prior to proposal submission, as well as after, even if you don’t get the grant that time around. However, what really stuck with me at this year’s conference is how this also pertains to relationships among potential partners for collaboration.


Being a young grant writer for a medium-sized nonprofit exploring the possibility of applying for federal funds, I have come to understand how important this truly is. In conversations with other conference attendees on the topic of relationships, we discussed how funders can tell when collaboration seems rushed on paper. While this seems obvious, endless deadlines often get in the middle of imperative (and ongoing) tasks such as this. It is important to begin building those relationships now, before the RFP is out, to avoid this common pitfall.


It’s the little tips and tricks such this, heard during workshops, at the lunch table, or among the halls between sessions, that reinforce why I am a part of GPA and attend the annual conferences. How often do you get to immerse yourself for three days among passionate professionals from a variety of tenures and career tracks? The conference scholarship was such a blessing and I am grateful for being able to attend yet again!