Professional Development

Do you find yourself coming away from Grant Professionals Association (GPA) National Conference with new tips and tricks you want to explore or apply to your work? Did you attend a session that made you realize you wanted to know more about this topic? This morning, as I reflected on the past week, I found myself inspired by the knowledge and generosity shared in our professional community and a little lost as to what steps to take next. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the past year and ponder what you want out of the coming one. Let’s start with a general understanding of why professional development is more than a great trip to bourbon country, look at resources to help guide your path, and create tangible steps for you to grow with purpose in 2023.

As a first-time attendee at National Conference, I wanted to be a little more prepared than a booked flight and hotel reservation. It might be the grant professional in me, but I like to know what I’m walking into and have a plan. I talked with colleagues who have been to the conference a time or two and came up with some tips and advice to share to help you get the most out of our conference experience.

Taking the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) exam can be a scary thought for many. Bad memories of past standardized test experiences, fear of failure, not knowing where to start, or lack of time may be reasons that are holding you back from taking the GPC exam. Earlier this year, I was in your shoes, because I took the GPC exam in July 2022. Let me help turn the big scary beast-the GPC exam-into a nice friendly teddy bear, figuratively at least.

Last week, I (Whitney) had the opportunity to attend the Grant Professionals Association’s national conference in Seattle, Washington. This is my 9th national GPA conference. I’m a GPC, a GPA Approved Trainer, and I’ve presented at multiple national GPA conferences on the topic of grantsmanship...

When I was a kid, I loved Halloween. I loved dressing up and pretending to be someone else - someone that was better, stronger, and more capable than I felt I would ever be. Fast forward through the decades and I recognize there are times when I want to pretend to be someone else - someone who is better, stronger, and more capable than I sometimes feel. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized what I was feeling was imposter syndrome. During my tenure with the Grant Professionals Certification Institute board of directors, I started to see that many grant professionals feel the same way.

by Rosie Brennan, GPC, and guest blogger Jennifer Murphy, GPC, Manager of Institutional Giving, Lyric Opera of Kansas City   Spooky season is upon us, and at AGS we’ve been thinking about what keeps us up at night when it comes to grants. As grant pros, we are skilled at anticipating challenges and putting controls in place to mitigate negative outcomes in our grant programs. Here are some eerie grant scenarios with suggested actions that’ll have you sleeping like a baby.

I am a grant professional for whom the written word is a more comfortable form of communication than face-to-face communication. Once I understood the concepts and intent of grant proposal writing, I fell in love with it. The majority of my time is spent alone in my office writing or in one-on-one conversations with program, financial, and executive leadership staff. Given that my learning style is also visual text, reading RFPs, gathering the information needed, and conducting the research is all easy for me to understand. Recently though, I have needed to be involved in meetings with program officers. These are not my favorite activity. Oh, I love hearing all the things funders have to say about their organization that help me better understand their mission. I also love to hear all the things about the program that my organizations say to the funder that I have not heard before in quite the same way. (Haven’t we all been here?) If my only task was to listen, these meetings would be easy, but these were conversations in which I was the lead for a significant portion of the conversation.

I always think of the last quarter of the year as the “learning season” when I attend the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) National Conference and begin thinking about the year past and ahead. This is not an easy process for me. As a grants professional, it is so easy to get bogged down in the daily grind, but this season really forces me and gives me permission to think about my own learning and goals. It reminds me of the Dr. Suess book Oh, The Places You’ll Go. A friend gave me this to me when I graduated college with my bachelor’s degree. At the young age of 20, I could not even begin to imagine where I would go. Some 20 years later, after working as an in-house grant professional and now working in a consultant role, I am using this learning season to really reflect on where I have been and where I will still go. There are so many different paths in the grant professional’s work. This just one example – my journey.

As a grant professional and GPC holder who has spent the majority of my career in youth development, I cannot help but consider how earning my GPC has shaped my ability to impact this sector. Sure, having a GPC raises ethical standards and increases knowledge and skill sets in key areas like research, project design, and writing to improve quality and efficiency, but what about a deeper level of impact? I truly believe having a GPC can significantly advance a grant professional’s ability to drive meaningful change, not only within their organizations but also within their broader sector. I have experienced this firsthand in my work with youth-serving organizations.