It’s a Great Time to Keep on Learning! By AGS Staff

It can be difficult to find positive aspects to this year. We don’t need to remind you of all of the unprecedented challenges we’ve experienced so far and will likely continue to live through well into the coming year. Instead, let’s focus on something more hopeful! Let’s spend the rest of this year (and early 2021) on something we may not have found much time for in the past: LEARNING! As professionals in the nonprofit sector, let’s face it: we have a lot on our plates.  Our organizations and beneficiaries require a lot of time and energy from us in order to make progress and accomplish our mission. But do you know what else organizations and their clients need? High-quality staff! And how can you expect to be a high-quality employee and offer quality services if you aren’t finding the time to improve your skills and competencies? That’s why I’m giving you permission to take this strange time of upheaval to dive into your professional development.

There are so many ways to participate in professional organizations that focus on growth opportunities for grant professionals. For instance, I recently attended the Grant Professionals Association’s annual conference, which included inspirational presentations, relevant trainings, and networking opportunities for all types of grant professionals. This year, of course, was virtual. But I also attended last year in Washington, D.C. and, if you are interested, hopefully you will have the opportunity to attend in Seattle in 2021! It is well worth the time and money to attend this conference, not only for the engaging sessions on a plethora of topics presented by experts in the field, but also because it is a great chance to meet other grant professionals, trade tips and tricks, and even make a new friend or two. Don’t take my word for it! Read my colleague, Maryam’s latest blog about what she learned this year.

And speaking of the Grant Professionals Association, I highly recommend becoming a member! There are currently over 3,000 members globally, and becoming a member is one of the best ways for you to gain access to quality professional development opportunities. Member benefits include on-demand webinars, trainings, interactive forums, access to resources and publications, contacts in the grant world, and so much more. Here is more information on how and why to join.

Another great way to brush up on skills while advancing your career is to become certified through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI). I passed my exam last year, which gave me the opportunity to study up on every competency you can think of related to grants. And now, I am certified and get to add that prestigious “GPC” at the end of my signature. Find more information about becoming a Grant Professional Certified through GPCI here.

There are other amazing organizations offering quality professional development for grant professionals that I could tell you all about. Instead, I will give you a short list with links, so you can take that extra time I suggested to do a little research and decide what’s best for you:

Assel Grant Services

Nonprofit Connect

Grant Station

American Grant Writers’ Association

The benefits of continuous learning are endless. Even if you have decades of grant work under your belt, there are always ways to improve upon what you do, look at it from a new perspective, and be more successful in bringing in the funding your organization needs. And just as importantly, taking the time for professional development helps you grow as a person. This benefit is just as crucial because giving yourself space to learn and grow will help keep you from burning out and inspire you to stay motivated in the important work you do.

Competency #7: Knowledge of practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers

2.Identify advantages of participating in professional organizations that offer grant developers growth opportunities and advance the profession

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