How I Use My Social Worker and Grant Professional Skills to Be a Better Program Advocate by Kari Cronbaugh-Auld, MSW, GPC

To All the Social Service Professionals Out there… I salute you!

I admire your courage, your tenacity, your patience, and your spirit. Thank you for all you do. Your job is hard. I have done what you do and I know how hard you work. I was employed as a social worker for 20+ years. I know what I do now as a Grant Professional pales in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job! I love being a Grant Professional with opportunities to write, research, guide, consult, and then write some more. I am glad I am in this place. But I also know what you see every day when you serve the poor, the abused, the addicted, and the misunderstood can be heart-breaking most of the time. And if you’re lucky, you are inspired by resiliency and hope sometimes, too-a regular roller coaster of the human experience.

I also understand your clients come first. They must! What kind of professional helper would you be if they didn’t? See, that is the beauty of a partnership between the professional helper and a professional grant writer who has been in the trenches with those in need. I can help you make sure your clients come first, not just with you, but with the funders who want to make a difference in the lives of those you serve. I understand that being asked for data and client stories can seem very low on the list of priorities when you are helping mothers and children without a roof over their heads. You are busy advocating for people whose voices can’t be heard, making sure they have food to eat and heat in their homes.

My job is advocate for you. To take the numbers served, the client successes, and the challenges you and your clients face and help tell the stories of the trials and successes of the people who own those voices. I think about the poverty stricken and the abused. I really do care about the quality of life of the disabled and elderly, and the pain of those with mental illness. Your engagement in the grant process, providing data and program information, is essential, not for me, but for your clients.

I do what I do because I believe I have been led down a path which enables me to advocate for the less fortunate in a unique way. When programs and services receive grants to expand the number of people they serve or provide higher quality care, I am excited to be a small part of improving the lives of the people in our community.

GPC Competency 7: Knowledge of practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers.  Skill 3: Identify strategies that grant developers use in building social capital to benefit their communities and society at large.