We did it! We made it through the dumpster fire that was 2020, and we’ve kicked off 2021 with a renewed excitement for our work.
Okay, okay. We know—some days are better than others. Many of us are still struggling with pandemic-related grief in our personal lives, on top of funding unpredictabilities which don’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Sometimes, it can be hard to remember why we love doing this work in the first place, which is why we thought International Grant Professionals Day was the perfect time to reflect on why we’re still grateful to be grant professionals—even when times get a little strange.
1. It connects us to the critical work being done in our community.
As consultants, we’re lucky enough to work with a variety of amazing organizations addressing a broad range of needs in our area. From health and human services to arts and communication, writing grants for these clients gives us a deeper understanding of the services they provide, along with the circumstances that created these needs in the first place. Grant writing allows us to take this knowledge and use it to create change by supporting our clients’ innovative, life-changing projects and programs. That’s why client-centeredness is one of our core values at Sharpshooter: we’re here to help you help others, to the best of our abilities. Every nonprofit operates a little differently, but at the end of the day, we’re grateful to play a role in what they do.
Whether you work with one organization or five, serving as a grant professional is an impactful way to learn more about the issues facing your community—and what you can do to help.
2. It allows us to use our creative and problem solving skills for good.
Similarly to the first point, grant writing helps us take our innate talents and trained skills and use them to help others. Just because we’re pretty good at it, though, doesn’t make it easy—but that contributes to growth, and sometimes even fun. If you take a look at our staff bios, every one of our employees came to grant writing from a completely different background. But because we share similar core values and goals, we’re able to put those differences to work and provide our clients with the best proposals we can.
There’s also a fair bit of learning on the job that comes with grant writing. Remember your first federal grant proposal? Hopefully, that thought doesn’t bring you instant stomach pains anymore—because one proposal at a time, you’ve gotten more practiced at the tricks of the trade. I would encourage you to take some time to really think about just how much you’ve grown since beginning your career as a grant professional. Though challenging, that growth is a tremendous personal and professional asset—one that allows you to serve those around you as you learn.
3. It brings us the support of an awesome, international professional community.
There’s no way we can talk about IGPD without mentioning the Grant Professionals Association. If you’re a grant professional who’s not familiar with GPA, run, don’t walk, to their website! Along with creating initiatives like IGPD, GPA hosts online and in-person professional development and local chapter meetings, connecting grant professionals from across the country in a vibrant professional community. They also host the GPA Annual Conference—fingers crossed we get to see everyone in Seattle this year!
Even if you’re not a GPA member, I would encourage you to seek out other nonprofit professionals in your area. In our state, the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits hosts various networking events and educational sessions, as well as an online job board which serves as an awesome resource for nonprofit professionals on the hunt for their next adventure. For grant professionals located in remote areas or without local resources, we’ve even found industry-related blogs like Nonprofit AF to be a great place to learn, grow, and connect.
Hopefully, this has helped serve as a reminder of what brought you to nonprofit work in the first place. It’s not always easy, but it certainly can be rewarding—which is why we’re grateful to be celebrating IGPD with such an awesome, international community. What are your favorite things about being a grant writer or nonprofit professional? Leave us a comment and let us know!