YOU Are a Valuable Volunteer! by Julie Assel, GPC

As pointed out in the Value Your Volunteers blog by Jennifer Murphy, GPC, it is important for grant professionals to properly communicate the value of volunteers, both programmatically and monetarily. Grant professionals should also be aware of ways they personally can volunteer their time outside of where they work. In addition to volunteering for organizations like food banks, youth development centers, and animal shelters, grant professionals can give back to their profession by volunteering their time.

The three primary places to give back to the grant profession, as listed below, are the professional association, the credentialing body, and the foundation. If you are already excited to volunteer your time, we encourage you to check out the links below.

Did you know that professional associations like GPA are nonprofits? They are! They simply fall under a different part of the tax code – 501(c)(6). Volunteers are incredibly important to them because they help a small staff facilitate conferences, mentor new members, and serve on national boards, committees, and task forces. In addition, on a local level, GPA chapters are completely volunteer ran. They coordinate and market programs, credentialling study groups, scholarships, conferences, and social events. In addition, there are many speakers on the national and local level who volunteer their time and expertise to deepen the knowledge of the association’s broader professional membership.

Volunteers can also be found in the affiliated foundation and credentialing organizations too. Both organizations are 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations. Like professional associations, volunteers make up their board and manage many of their day-to-day activities.

  • For GPF, volunteers coordinate special events, gather donated items, and staff silent auctions. They also write donor appeal letters, make individual asks for donations, and read scholarship applications.
  • For GPCI, credentialed volunteers are needed to read eligibility applications, certification maintenance applications, exam essays, and scholarship applications. They also need volunteers to write articles for newsletters, social media posts, and website content.

The value of these activities is recognized by the credentialing body of the grant professional, the Grant Professionals Certification Institute, who administers the Grant Professional Certified (GPC), the only nationally accredited credential for grant professionals.

Applicants for the credential can list between 20-50 hours of volunteer service depending upon which pathway they apply under within the Community Involvement category. This does not need to be grant-related volunteering but can include any community-based volunteer services within a three-year period prior to applying to sit for the credential.

GPCs seeking to renew their credential can document their volunteer training presentations and study group facilitation under Category 3: Contributions to the Field (1 point per hour of actual presentation). They can document the volunteer time dedicated to grant-related organizations (GPA, GPCI, and GPF) and their other volunteer time in their community under Category 4: Professional Services.

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

Skill 7.2: Identify advantages of participating in professional organizations that offer grant developers growth opportunities and advance the profession.

Skill 7.3: Identify strategies that grant developers use in building social capital to benefit their communities and society at large.