Why Does Having a GPC (Grant Professional Certification) Matter? By Kari Cronbaugh-Auld, MSW, GPC

 

Anyone who has written or read a grant knows you must be able to put your ideas into writing in a way that makes sense, is grammatically correct, and answers the questions the funders want to know. Ideally, after reading your proposal, the funder will say to themselves, “Wow, I must give them money right now, so they can do more great things!” And you must often do this in a very definitive amount of space.

Beyond these obvious skills, what makes a grant writer more than just a grant writer? What makes them a grant professional? To become certified as a grant professional, you must prove you have knowledge of more than just writing. You must:

  • Be knowledgeable about program design and development;
  • You must know how to research funding resources and match them to your organization/clients’ needs;
  • You must understand how to help organizations develop their grant seeking culture;
  • You must understand and adhere to standards of ethical practice;
  • You must know how to manage the post-award process; and
  • You must understand how to cultivate relationships with funders.

The Grant Professional Association is so serious about the difference between grant writers and grant professionals, they created the Grant Professional Certification Institute (GPCI) to ensure the above knowledge and skills set certified grant professionals, or GPCs apart. The GPCI oversees the rigorous exam process for certification that includes a writing portion and a multiple-choice section. Why? Because…

  • Our organizations/clients and the communities they serve deserve to know GPCs are a part of a professional organization that has high expectations and has created a credential to ensure we are ethical, knowledgeable, and professional;
  • Anyone can call themselves a grant writer – even if they have only written one grant; and
  • A professional who has the skills to earn their GPC should be recognized for their abilities and knowledge.

On a personal level, I admit I am a bit of an academic at heart and love to learn, so I am always looking for ways to increase my knowledge and professionalism. Earning my GPC was a no-brainer decision for me. I even learned new information while studying for the exam.

If you are on the fence about whether to take the GPC exam or not – I say go for it!  You just might learn something new in the process and, according to a recent salary study by GPA, raise your income. If you are looking for a professional to help you with your organization’s grant needs, ask yourself this question: “Would you hire someone to oversee your organization’s finances because they are good at math, or because they are a Certified Public Accountant?” Let’s face it – potentially hundreds, or thousands, of dollars could be at stake if you make the wrong decision in your finance department or your grants/development department.

GPC Competency 7: Knowledge of practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers.  Skill 2: Identify advantages of participating in professional organizations that offer grant developers growth opportunities and advance the profession.