By Kimberly Hays de Muga – Director of Development, Fraser Center
Board Chair, Grant Professionals Foundation
Oversized tees, sweatpants, tunics, sweatshirts, leggings, sweatpants—we’re in the throes of an increasingly comfort based, casually dressed society. All hail “Athleisure!” Gone are the power suits, power ties, buttoned-up button downs, creases, and pleats from the 80s. (I was, of course a child prodigy in my non-profit career then, and could only observe these inexplicable fashions from afar :-))
Besides common sense and the joy of being comfortable, part of this trend comes from telecommuting. According to the August 2015 Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll 37% of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted, up from 30% last decade but four times greater than the 9% found in 1995. Enormous strides in IT and telecommunications makes working from home so much easier and more efficient. Many employers seem willing to sanction working remotely, and most consultants often work from home.
So if working from home may work for many of us, why not consider volunteering from home? Become a GPF Board Member or Committee Member and “tele-volunteer” your way to new friends, new skills while supporting the growth and recognition of the grants profession. And you can do your health a favor in the bargain. Researchers at the London School of Economics found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. According to a study in Social Science and Medicine, the odds of being “very happy” increased 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks compared to those who never volunteered. (http://www.health.harvard.edu/special-health-reports/simple-changes-big-rewards-a-practical-easy-guide-for-healthy-happy-living)
Don’t let your favorite loungewear keep you from stretching outside your comfort zone to take on a volunteer service role. As the Chair of the Grant Professionals Foundation, I’ve seen firsthand that the busiest GPA members often step up effortlessly when asked to take on a different role or committee task. How do they do it? Current GPF Scholarship Committee Member and former GPA Board Member Johna Rodgers said it best when she agreed to lead the management and distribution of GPA scholarship applications (https://www.grantprofessionalsfoundation.org/available-scholarships/). “I need work I can do in my pajamas, on the weekend,” said the super-busy consultant and long-time GPA/GPCI board member and volunteer.
The GPF Board meets face to face, once a year, during the GPA Annual Conference. Yet together we connect with GPA members and supporters like you to provide scholarships for regional conferences, membership, GPA annual conference registration and the Grant Professional Certified Exam (GPC). But while we’re all conference calling, emailing and texting in our PJs or tailored suits, we’re volunteering, networking, getting our names known and more importantly, helping to advance the grants profession. GPF Board and Committee service also earns points toward maintaining your GPC.
GPF Board Member terms begin in January and are for three years with the option to extend to a second term. In my five and a half years on the GPF board, I’ve made some fantastic friends and learned so much from them. Leadership, the fine art of delegation, recruitment, administration and collaboration are just a few of the skills I’ve developed or honed while helping forward the grants profession. Maybe three years, even in pajamas, is more than you can commit to right now. Consider service on one of GPF’s committees; meetings are online or by conference call. Committees include: Silent Auction, Scholarship, Marketing, Every Chapter Challenge and Individual Giving. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
So get comfortable, and get ready to make a difference for the grants profession today!