By Susan Caldwell, CFRE, CGW
One thing I have learned about grant writing – there is always something new to learn. The world of grant writing is not a place that we want to walk alone. From government grants to corporations to foundations, developing a grant proposal can be complicated, labor-intensive and full of twists and turns. It can also be a lonely profession. I need other grant professionals to network with and learn from.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t always have the financial means to afford the type of learning experiences and networking that is so important to developing our grant skills. The Grant Professionals Foundation was formed specifically to provide opportunities for GPA members who need the additional resources to pursue professional development, the GPC credential, or simply to pay membership dues.
The annual Every Chapter Challenge plays a big part in making that happen. GPF is calling on all GPA chapters across the country to step up and support the campaign. Our challenge goal for each chapter is $250. Many chapters are also competing to become this year’s Star Chapter, a distinction awarded to the chapter who gives the most to the campaign.
Funds raised by the campaign will be used to award scholarships for the GPA Conference, the GPC Credentialing Program, GPA Membership, and Regional Conference Sponsorships. Chapters have the distinct opportunity to invest in growing the grant profession and helping their fellow grant writers improve their skills.
But it’s not just about growing the profession and supporting individual grant professionals. It is also about the critical work that the agencies, organizations, and institutions would not be able to do without their grant writers in the trenches, sweating over deadlines, trying to make sense of the latest curveball thrown in an application. Every time we help another grant writer become better at their profession, we are also helping the myriad of nonprofits that are able to do good works because of the expertise of their grant writers.
I recently had the opportunity to review applications for the 2016 GPA Conference Scholarships. GPF has awarded the scholarships every year since 2007. One common bond between all the applicants was a sincere desire to get better at their job.
One particular applicant put it this way, “It is easy to get bogged down in our day-to-day reporting and sustainability sections, which leaves little mental room for growth and new ways of thinking. However, putting away my computer and research for four days so I can focus on thinking about the grant process and the grant world will, I hope, open me up for aha! moments and fresh perspectives.”
Reading those applications reinforced my commitment to the important work of the Grant Professionals Foundation. We hope every GPA chapter will join us in raising funds that directly support individual grant professionals, the grant profession and most of all, the nonprofits that are positively impacting lives every day throughout our nation and the world.