Hello April! I am greeting this month with big, open arms – ready for sunshine, warmer temperatures, open windows, and a good, deep spring cleaning (who doesn’t love washing windows and scrubbing baseboards?). If those are not enough reasons to love April, here’s one more: it’s National Volunteer Month – a time to celebrate and promote volunteerism and helping hands. As a grant professional in the field for over 16 years, I have come to understand and deeply appreciate the value of a helping hand. One of the most valuable helping hands I have seen is proposal reviews, particularly for federal proposals (perfect timing as spring is often a federal grant season!). I have been fortunate enough to experience both internal and external reviews from those who are unfamiliar with my proposal’s program or the agency. BONUS: I have also served as an external reviewer for federal grant programs. The benefits of these extra eyes and hands are invaluable especially in an ever growing, highly competitive environment.

The following training courses are available in 2021 as scheduled live webinars, recorded individual trainings, bundled trainings, and custom scheduled trainings.   Grants 301 Training Series These sessions are designed to provide targeted content for individuals who are really passionate about grants and want to take their skills...

The following training courses are available in 2021 as scheduled live webinars, recorded individual trainings, bundled trainings, and custom scheduled trainings.   Grants 201 Training Series The average nonprofit professional needs more than just initial grant training. Anyone working with grants can analyze their strengths and weaknesses and...

As we look ahead to International Grant Professionals Day, I cannot help but wonder – what does it really mean to be a grant professional? When I was a kid, I used to go to the beauty parlor (am I dating myself yet?). The beautician (yep, I definitely just dated myself now) had a sign hanging by her chair that said something like - “I am a hairdresser, a therapist, a coach, a cheerleader, and a magician.” Today, I wish I had this sign to hang in my office. As a grant professional, on any given day, I have conducted a therapy session with the development director who is in a sheer state of panic trying to juggle numerous grant deadlines; coached a CEO through what seemed like a never-ending conversation of should we apply or should we not; and magically transformed some bulleted notes into a program design. Whew…and that was all before noon!

I don’t know about you, but I have never been so relieved to have spring arrive! Winter, like everything else, did not give us a break this year. But here we are! The sun is shining more, the temperature is warming, and hope is in the air! We’re coming up on a year since the pandemic lockdown first occurred. In commemoration of getting through everything that followed, it’s time to UNLOCK our potential as grant professionals. As the days get longer and we all feel a little more optimistic, I would encourage you to use the energy that comes with spring to rejuvenate yourself personally so you can develop your best professional self! It’s important to find a balance between work and life because if you’re not feeding your soul outside of work, you’re not giving your all as a grant professional.

Like all things in life, we humans get better with practice. We make mistakes, we learn from them, we seek to improve. As professionals, we continuously work to be the best versions of ourselves. Many of us are grants pros because our hearts led us here, so why not nurture your talents and fortify your craft? That’s right, folks – I’m talking about practicing #selfcare, professionally.

February is the month of so-called love. While I am all about spreading love to people and relationships, what about those connections you don’t love? As grant professionals, we deal with all different kinds of people – you know those people:
  • The program director who says, “I don’t even have the staff to carry out these program goals, but I need the money. So, just write whatever goals you think will get us the grant.”
  • The executive director who tells you “we don’t have a policy on diversity, equity, and inclusion; can’t you just write one for us?”
  • The new client who, when asked to share about their organization’s leadership team and strategies, says “you can find that on our website.”
Yep, I did not love navigating these relationships or at the very least, I do not love these conversations that seem to leave me feeling stuck and frustrated. So how do you learn how to accept and move these relationships and conversations along?

The following training courses are available in 2021 as scheduled live webinars, recorded individual trainings, bundled trainings, and custom scheduled trainings. Cost: $50/session or $400 for the full series To register for the complete series or for individual sessions: Register Now     If you would like to arrange a custom...