If you were to ask grant professionals how they arrived at their current position/role, most would laugh and relate a roundabout journey. Grant Professional is not at the top of the list of jobs to which children, youth, and teens aspire. Many of us find ourselves working as grant professionals by way of degrees in journalism, education, social work, and even the STEM fields. Through our various career paths in nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and social service agencies, grant professionals develop unique skills and have various areas of expertise and specialization that support our grantsmanship work. As a result, there are many professional certifications that benefit the grants profession. Certifications help uplift the profession by establishing a level of knowledge and ethical practices and acknowledging experience and expertise within an industry. Below is an overview of professional credentials related to the grants profession and the requirements for obtaining them.

“For starters, we would like it to be known that it’s International Grant Professionals Day. Many people, even other fundraisers, have not heard of such a day.”  That’s just one of the responses I got when I posed this question to my fellow grant pros - “What do you really want on International Grant Professionals Day? In other words, what could employers and the philanthropic sector do that would really make you take notice?” Their* answers fell into five categories:

Defining Small Nonprofits: Whether a nonprofit or not-for-profit, a charitable organization’s “size” is not determined by its facility, number of staff, or services to the public but by the size of its operating budget. Large organizations have operating budgets in the $10- $50MM range, while organizations with annual budgets of $5MM or less are considered small. Large, nationally affiliated organizations tend to get the lion’s share of public recognition and visibility; however, they are not representative of the U.S. nonprofit sector as a whole. In fact, the National Council of Nonprofits reports that 92% of organizations within the nonprofit sector are small organizations with annual revenue of less than $1MM. Yet the reality is that all charitable organizations depend on public and private support (i.e., government or private grants, individual donations, in-kind gifts, volunteers) to achieve their missions, and small organizations often grapple with how to compete in a market publicly dominated by their larger counterparts.

Burnout. That’s another buzzword like quiet quitting or hustle culture, right? Actually, burnout has been around for a long while, recognized in the healthcare and social service industries. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes burnout as an occupational phenomenon (though it’s not recognized as a medical condition). WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s characterized by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” In 2020, three grant professionals (Bachman, Planton, and Rodgers) set out to identify the prevalence of burnout among the grant profession. Their findings were published in the Fall 2020 Journal of the Grant Professionals Association, showing a gap in available information as well as initial research indicating more than three in four grant professionals experience physical symptoms, socio-emotional symptoms, or both, of burnout.

“Will I see you at GrantSummit?” This year, for the first time, my answer was “Yes.” In early November 2023, I attended GrantSummit (formerly known as the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) Annual Conference) in Kansas City, Missouri. This multi-day conference is the premier professional development event for grant professionals in the U.S. I have attended this conference before as a virtual attendee, but this year was my first experience traveling to the event. I have three key takeaways from my in-person experience:

Know Before You Go This year, GrantSummit is bringing all the grant pros to our hometown, Kansas City, Missouri! Assel Grant Services (AGS) is based here in the Heartland Chapter with staff spanning Kansas to Virginia and from Ohio down to Kentucky. If this is your first time in Kansas City, keep reading for insider tips on restaurants and things to see.

    Grant Ethics: Grant Ethics for Prospect Research and Funder Relationships Session 2 of the Grant Ethics Series Have you ever been uncomfortable applying to a foundation which didn’t seem to really match your organization’s profile? Many nonprofit professionals are pressured into writing to foundations who don’t match...

  Building Collaborative Partnerships through Subrecipient Monitoring Session 8 of the Partnerships Series $50 | 60 minutes Enroll Now     Organizations which serve as pass-through entities for federal funding are required to monitor their subrecipients. This responsibility comes with a great opportunity to strengthen collaborative partnerships by intentionally building the subrecipients’...