Not a Popularity Contest: Winning Tips for GPF Scholarship Applications

By Judy Riffle, Ed.D. – GPF Board Member and Marketing Committee Chair

I received a Pam Van Pelt Memorial Conference Scholarship from GPF in 2015, and felt honored and privileged to attend my first annual GPA conference in St. Louis. As soon as I met the people behind GPF, I felt an instant, warm welcome instead of a closed group, clique-type attitude. That is why I’m surprised when people tell me they won’t apply for a GPF scholarship because only certain popular people will receive one or that they’ve tried so many times they’ve given up. We ARE grant professionals—why in the world would we let that stop us? I can assure you—it is not a popularity contest. I give back to GPF willingly as a scholarship recipient, because I believe in our cause, and because I am part of a fantastic, dedicated, fair group of grant professionals.

On May 1, 2017, we will open our GPA conference scholarship applications to coincide with the annual conference registration opening date. The annual GPA conference will be in San Diego November 8-11, 2017. Mark your calendar, and be sure to apply for one of our scholarships. The following tips from GPF Board Members, the GPF Scholarship Committee, and #grantchat participants apply to all our scholarship opportunities.

Adhere to the GPA Code of Ethics.

We are looking for details on the applicant’s professional background in the #grants field.

Micki Vandeloo, GPC, GPF Scholarship Committee Chair: Keep an eye out for applications and due dates. Read the application questions carefully before answering.

Heather Stombaugh, GPC, GPF Board Chair: What are you doing for GPA or GPF now (serving local chapter as officer or committee member, writing GPA News articles, serving on a national committee or Board, mentoring a new grant pro, etc.)? What will you give back to the profession after receiving a scholarship?

The two biggest application mistakes are a lack of editing and failing to produce a compelling need statement. Use your grant skills! Watch grammar, spelling, & proof your work. A strong need or argument is not because you or your organization cannot pay for it (not because you need the money). Put your personal reflections into the narrative, and make the need logical.

You are a grant professional—write the scholarship application like you would a grant application and put your passion, creativity, storytelling, and editing skills into it. It’s free money, people!

Bethany Turner, GPC: Be sure to really describe your “why.” Why are YOU in the #grantprofession? Why do you do what you do?

Fear may be the biggest barrier to people applying for our scholarships. You don’t need to be a GPC to apply. GPF is not a clique, and the application process is not a popularity contest. Applications are reviewed fairly on their merit and to the degree questions are answered thoroughly and compellingly. It’s not about who you know; many GPF scholarships have been awarded to strangers by the Scholarship Committee and GPF Board. Case in point-me. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Note: In 2017, we will

  • Award 18 scholarships (directly from GPF)
  • Administer 7 national scholarships (“endowed”)
  • Administer 15 scholarships (through GPA Chapters)
  • Award approximately 4 regional sponsorships

Total = 44