Getting Started in Grants

How Do I Get Started in Grants?

Employment opportunities for those with expertise in grant writing, grant management, grant administration, and grant evaluation are available through not-for-profits, universities, local and national government offices, schools, healthcare facilities and with private businesses.

How do you get the expertise needed to enter the grants profession?

The four steps listed below can give you the resources and path to help you enter and to have a successful and meaningful career in the grants profession:

1. Build on your existing skills & passion

Skills such as research, collaboration across multiple disciplines, writing, project management, and program evaluation are highly transferable. Use your experience and your passion(s) to guide you in building a grant career.

Do you have a passion for the arts? Do you find satisfaction in helping your local food shelf raise money? Do you have experience with research grants? Are you interested in sustainable community development? Volunteer as a grant writer and/or grant reviewer with a local nonprofit that aligns with your passion to get grant development experience and to build upon your existing skills.

2. Find your niche

Identify and develop an area of expertise. Whether you’re seeking a full-time job or want to be an independent grant consultant,  building your area of expertise will help you find work and target your professional development.

Do you want to work in a particular area, e.g. education, poverty, environment, early childhood development, or community development? Do you want to focus on a part of the grant development and management process or the whole process including funding opportunity research, application writing and development, project implementation, program evaluation, and grant management?

Your niche will change over time. Going into the grants profession with a concept of your ideal client or job will save you and the organization(s) you serve time and resources.

3. Get a mentor, find your people

Find someone who is working or has worked as a Grant Professional to mentor and coach you. There are many grant consultants who offer grant training, mentoring and coaching services, including Smartegrants, to help those entering the Grants Profession. Whether you’re transitioning from a previous career or you’re starting your first career, a mentor in the Grants Profession can help you focus your career goals, identify your niche, and answer questions when you’re negotiating a new job or a new contract. Connect with other grant professionals on Facebook and Twitter. Join the Grant Professionals Association (GPA)  local GPA Chapters, special interest groups and the National Grants Management Association (NGMA).

4. Develop a professional development strategy

Build your own Professional Development Strategy to increase your competencies and skills in the grants profession. Your professional development strategy builds on the steps listed above and formalizes your development. You may consider earning a degree in Grant Writing, Management and Evaluation and/or earning the GPC credential from the Grant Professional Certification Institute (GPCI). GPCI evaluates a candidate’s expertise and experience through the candidate application process, the candidate’s ability to write a grant application through a written exam, and the candidate’s knowledge of the core competencies through a multiple choice exam.

The bottom line

The Grants Profession is in a rapid growth phase. As a result, there are more opportunities to connect to other grant professionals and to build your skills and competencies. Becoming a grant professional is rewarding and challenging!

 Ways to Connect with SmartEGrants and Jo

Please connect with us on our GrantChat Community Facebook Page where we will continue the weekly dialog, share upcoming events, host live question and answer session, and build our professional networks.

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