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Funder Cultivation Strategy: International Grant Professionals Day (#IGPD)


Funder Cultivation through #IGPD Education
 
International Grant Professionals Day (#IGPD) is a long-term strategy to cultivate funders, grow and maintain relationships, and educate others about the grant profession. Cultivation and relationship strategies, like so many long-term strategies, are multi-pronged. Education about the grant profession is a powerful tool and a terrific platform to start a conversation.  

Cultivation is the act of building relationships to raise funds. Cultivation is not only a term for farming vegetables or propagating flowers. In the context of grants, it is the process of identifying, seeking, and securing grant funds and donations.
 
A funder is a person or organization who gives money or financial support for something, especially in response to a grant application or donation request.
 
According to the Grant Professionals Association's website, International Grant Professionals Day is an annual celebration recognizing and appreciating all grant professionals. During this week, we take the time to celebrate the administrators, consultants, managers, grantmakers, and grant proposal developers for their beneficial contributions to people, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
 
Building a relationship with a potential funder can start a conversation about the importance of the grant profession and transition into a dialogue about International Grant Professionals Day!
 
Why is #IGPD Important to Grantmakers?
 
The International Grant Professionals Day strategy was launched in March 2015 to harness the power of grant professionals, grant businesses, and grant community partnerships. Since its founding, the IGPD Task Force developed from a simple idea of a celebration of the work done each day by professionals into an information-sharing forum. We are not done by any means. In fact, my goal for 2017 and beyond is to build this powerful community that now includes 30-plus businesses, nearly 50 local GPA chapters, and countless grant professionals all focused on cultivating and maintaining the relationships we need to perform at the highest levels.
 
IGPD, first and foremost, is an education tool to solidify the grants community. We must focus not on what we do not like, but instead, we must stay focused on what we love: grants!
 
Second, #IGPD represents a method for grant seeking organizations to engage and be engaged by grant professionals. Third, through a myriad of #IGPD related stories, celebrations and events we will educate our local communities about the profession. Fourth, over time the education of the professional can increase awareness of the grant profession worldwide. Fifth, with the help of our funder partners, grant professionals will address a pervasive need by improving the quality of grant proposals, and therefore finding funding for positive solutions to problems and issues entrenched in our society.
 
International Grant Professionals Day includes a plan: Educate grant professionals, share stories about the profession, cultivate relationships to get more grants, and make positive changes in society. Start a dialogue about #IGPD today!
 
How Can You Use #IGPD in Cultivation?
 
Occasionally, in our role as development professionals, we need an icebreaker.  Icebreakers are meant to be interactive and fun, and the goal is to help everyone get to know one another. Other times, you might want to structure the icebreaker into the topic of the meeting. You might desire an icebreaker to kickoff a meeting with a potential funder. When recommending icebreakers, I often suggest that you create a simple activity that will lead participants to the topic of the meeting.
 
Start with a fun question: “If you could live anywhere on this planet and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live?” Next add a more serious question, “If you were a city, which city would you choose to be and why?” Finally, some #IGPD questions “What are the issues funders' use grantmaking to solve?” and “Are you participating in #IGPD 2017?”
 
You can use these questions or create your own. I am confident when you use questions like these, the meeting will be memorable and the funder will generate creative dialogue you can refer to in the future. Have fun!
 
Funder Cultivation Strategy: Grant Community, You Can Help!
 
All grant professionals are called upon to celebrate one another! Celebrate the profession, celebrate funders and celebrate the work and outcomes of grant projects.
 
It does not matter where you are along the professional continuum. Every grant professional at any stage in their career can benefit from #IGPD as we learn from others and teach the world about our profession. People who are new to the profession, seasoned grant writers, grant managers and analysts, cross-over nonprofit fundraisers, and everyone in between can celebrate each other as we share our grant-seeking stories.
 
During International Grant Professionals Week March 6-10, 2017, you will see many blogs and articles from the GPA and our sister organizations, the Grant Professionals Credentialing Institute (GPCI) and the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF). Many of the authors are folks you know well; however, some are writing blogs for the first time. I encourage you to take a minute each day to read a blog. Make sure to comment, re-post, like, snap, re-tweet, and share!

Author: Danny Blitch, MPA, GPC

GPC Competency: 08 - Funder Relationships

 

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