There is not one path that leads us all to our professional, and it is no different for Grant Professionals. Each Grant Professionals has his/her own story to how he/she became a Grant Professional.
As you will see, I sort of fell into grant writing. I did not start out thinking I would become a Grant Professional. The beginning of my Grant Professional story starts when I was in jr. high. Through out jr. high and high school I had many opportunities to volunteer in the nonprofit sector at the city library, nursing home, outdoor space cleanups, home repairs, and food collections. All these opportunities lead me to decide to major in communications studies in college because I knew it would be a good degree to make a career in the nonprofit sector. While earning my degree, I was a stateside coordinator for a child sponsorship program. Due to the organization being a small nonprofit, I wore many hats. One of the things I oversaw was event planning which I thoroughly enjoyed.
So when I graduated and moved out-of-state, I applied for many nonprofit jobs. I really wanted to plan events in the nonprofit sector. But instead the only job I even interviewed for was a grant writer position with AmeriCorps. I was offered and accepted the position, but I did not have any experience in writing grant applications. At the organization AmeriCorps assigned me to, there was no training, guidance, or real instructions. I stumbled my way through the year reading any blog posts and taking any free webinars I could find. Through the year, I wrote a few application that were awarded and a few that were not. I made plenty of mistakes that first year, but I did learn that I loved writing grants. I have always been organized, detail-oriented, and a decent writer. Each year I learn more about the grant field and how to be a better Grant Professional.
Every Grant Professional has his/her own story to how they started in the professional. Some of us started with no real grant writing. Others started with lots of knowledge. Some started on the nonprofit organization side. Others started on the foundation side.
What is your Grant Professional Story?
Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20, 2015 is the first annual International Grants Professionals Week established by the Grant Professionals Association. This week is an annual international celebration of professionals who seek, award, and implement grant-funded projects. Each day of the week-long celebration will be devoted to an aspect of the profession. It would be an understatement to say I am excited for this week!
International Grant Professionals Week recognizes and celebrates the impact of grant professionals, administrators, consultants, managers, grant-makers and writers for their beneficial contributions to people, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Grant Professionals are doing amazing things all around the world, and I am honored to be a part of this community. I don’t know about you, but I like to celebrate. And I think many times we get so busy we forget to celebrate our accomplishments, our awarded grants, our submitted applications. It takes a lot of work to actually submit a grant application. If you are a fellow grant professional, you know just how much work goes into an application. For those who don’t write grant applications, it takes time dedication, organization, attention to details, strong writing, statistics, and lots and lots of reviewing. Not to mention the research and relationship building before ever writing a single word on an application. Generally, completing grant applications takes a whole team of people completing their part. This work is not easy. Grant Writing is not a creative writing exercise.
If I am completely honest with you, I also like when I am celebrated. Don’t you? I feel valued. I feel encouraged. I feel like I am a valuable part of the organization.
For more information on each day’s focus, visit the Grant Professionals Association page. Participate in the International Grants Professionals Week on social media with the hashtag #IGPW.
Be sure to check back next week to read my story on how I joined the Grant Professionals community.
So how are you going to celebrate International Grant Professionals Week?
I have been receiving too many (in this case, one is too many) of work emails addressed to the wrong name. Most of the emails were addressed to Beth, but one was even addressed to Brittany.
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Bethany. I have nothing against the actual name Beth, just that it is not my name, and I have never gone by Beth.
Last week I hit a wall and wrote the following rant on Facebook: I had already complained to my husband several evenings about this problem. He had even offered to send out an employee-wide email informing everyone my name is Bethany. Note: I wrote it on my personal Facebook profile because I am not friends with the offenders. I felt like it was a safe place to let off a little steam.
The above rant got more engagement than 95% of my posts. This issue hit home with so many people I am thinking of starting a support group of all of us who suffer from being called the wrong name over and over.
You may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with nonprofits?” I am glad you asked.
If this issue is important to my friends on Facebook, I am guessing it is important to your nonprofit’s donors and supporters as well.
No one likes to be called by the wrong name, even if we do respond it. I know I personally would rather be asked my name a couple of times than be called by the wrong name.
Easy steps to learning and remembering donors/supporters’ names:
- Ask your donors and supporters what name they preferred to be called when you first meet them or when they fill out a form on your website.
- Make note of their preference. It might be their first name, a shortened version of it, or maybe even Mr., Mrs., or Ms. and their last name.
- Use the preferred name the next time you see them or when you address an email to them. Get comfortable using it.
- When filling out grant applications, be sure to double-check the name and spelling of the grant maker.
By using the name a donor/supporter prefers, you are showing them you care about them and what their requests. A name is a fairly simple thing, but it can do wonders in securing support.
Your Turn: What name do you prefer to be called?
Preemptive Love Coalition, a nonprofit providing lifesaving heart surgeries for Iraqi children in pursuit of peace, this Valentine’s Day is inviting its supporters to throw lifesaving parties. Hosts will be given what they need by Preemptive Love to gather their friends and throw a party to raise money for lifesaving surgeries. $250 provides one lifesaving surgery.
Preemptive Love is a nonprofit organization I keep up with. And when I received the email about this campaign, I was intrigued. I personally do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. In high school, I called the holiday Forced Romance Day, and that still sums up my feelings on it. (Read more here.) But I am not against adding some meaning to the day by participating in a campaign like Preemptive Love’s.
How do your supporters feel about Valentine’s Day? Do they wish they had a way to add more meaning to the day?
How can you frame the campaign around love?
Your turn: Has your nonprofit ever ran a campaign for Valentine’s Day? How was it received?
Be sure to:
Generally this blog is geared towards grant writing and social media for nonprofit organizations. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, I want to interrupt the previous scheduled programming to tell you about 7 ethical gift ideas for Valentine’s Day.
As people who work and volunteer in the nonprofit sector, I assume you have a heart for improving lives. It is the theme that accompanies the nonprofit sector. It is certainly why I chose to make my career in the nonprofit sector.
Well, there are also many social businesses which are also in the business of helping improve lives, and I think they deserve our support especially on very commercially driven holidays.
Show those you love how much you care by giving gifts that help improve lives.
So here are 7 ethical gift ideas for Valentine’s Day:
- 31 Bits Box of 5 Valentines – 31 Bits is jewelry made out of recycled paper by impoverished Ugandan artisans. This limited edition gift pack includes 5 Valentines that say “I LOVE YOU TO BITS”, 5 Bracelets in the Valentines colors shown, and 5 cloth bags.
- Gadanke Couple Journals - Gadanke journals are American-made journals to help you capture your story. There are several journals just right for couples. And they are made from 77% recycled content.
- ecocentric mom Organic Tagua Heart Bracelet – This one-of-a-kind bracelet has been handcrafted from a Tagua Tree Nut which has the same appearance, density and feel of animal ivory without causing any harm to animals or the South American Rainforests where it is harvested and gathered. The colors are dyed using certified organic vegetable dyes from Italy.
- Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate Hearts – These organic, ethically produced chocolates are perfect for everyone you want to wish Happy Valentine’s Day.
- Divine Chocolate Heart of Gold Gift Set – This gift set is perfect for the chocolate lover in your life.
- YumEarth Organic candy (not chocolate) – Looking for candy that is not chocolate, look no further. YumEarth treats are made with all-natural ingredients, no artificial colors or artificial dyes, no gluten, no peanuts, and no tree-nuts, just award-winning taste.
- Make something yourself – Who doesn’t love a homemade gift?
So, What ethical gifts will you be giving this Valentine’s Day?