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:

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.

I was one of the lucky 10% of aspiring GPCs (Grant Professional Certified) to see the following words float across my screen: “This email is to notify you that your packet has been selected for audit.” Audits are best practice for credentialing organizations to uphold the integrity of the credential. No matter how ethical or diligent one is, being audited is always a bit nerve-wracking. I am sharing my experience to show you how to track documentation to be audit-ready. I will give a real-life example of undergoing an audit after submitting my initial eligibility packet and the things that I now do differently as a result.

Collaborations are a growing trend in the grant industry, but how do you successfully lead a project without pulling your hair out? Managing projects with multiple parties involved is sometimes the most prominent barrier experienced in a project. Our calendar has been booked full of new and exciting projects. While this is wonderful, our deadline-driven world means staying on top of proposals, attachments, and signatures to avoid that day-of submission panic. Let’s discuss some tips on how you can manage up to keep your projects on track and your professional relationships intact!

Every February, the U.S. honors the cultural heritage, adversities, and African American leaders and movements that have shaped the nation. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling the nation to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history," History.com reports. As part of a series throughout Black History Month, Assel Grant Services will provide various resources on racial equity to help grant professionals become better equipped to guide their organizations towards more equitable services, find funding, and better articulate into grant proposals the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work their organizations are already doing. Topics include writing with an equity lens, resources for your toolbox, measuring progress, and funding opportunities. In this blog, we will dig deeper into the various resources available to help you build your own toolbox of racial equity assessments and information. These tools will enhance your DEI knowledge and how it relates to your organization and community served.

In 2023, everyone has an app or system that they live and breathe by - color-coded calendars, project management tools, or to-do lists read by Alexa each morning. Are you the person who struggles with sticking to a new system? Or you may get a jolt of motivation when a new application creates a shortcut in your day. Whatever the reason for your attention, here are four tools that have helped my projects stay on track. With the best of intentions, these tools will carry me through 2023!

What about January makes us habitually declare resolutions that will result in a new and improved version of ourselves? It could be that following a season of holiday parties and socks filled with candy, we need a hard reset. Or the accountability en-mass as like-minded individuals dredge out of their homes to the gym. Research shows goal-setters have a higher success rate when starting the commitment to pursue a goal after a temporal landmark (e.g., a new week, month, birthday, or holiday); this is called the “fresh start effect.” This phenomenon of New Year’s resolutions is more common in the United States. A poll conducted for the last three years reports that 44% of U.S. participants set a new goal, while only 12-18% of Swedish residents make a resolution.