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Fanning The Flames Between Conferences


The cold November rain, nagging feelings of emptiness and a fistful of hotel and restaurant receipts points me to only one diagnosis—it's post GPA Conference blues that I'm feeling now!
 

I've been fortunate enough to attend eight annual conferences in the last 10 years.  The new ideas and information gleaned from sessions, keynotes, discussion dens, and human libraries have fueled many a grant planning meeting, needs statement, and reporting strategy.  Even more importantly, many colleagues I've met over the years have become working partners and even close friends—no small feat for this dyed-in-the-wool introvert.
 
GPA Annual Conferences can feel like a professional development vaccination—something that can protect that enthusiasm and boost your immunity to professional burnout.  But what about those long months in-between?  Or what if you work for a small non-profit or government agency that may have frozen or non-existent travel budgets that make regional or national travel impossible?  What's a grant pro to do?
 
Thankfully there are many low-cost or no-cost ways to stay abreast of the ever-changing world of grants. Some of my old favorites appear in the following list along with some new and very welcome additions from the last few months.
 
  1. GPA Chapter meetings.  With more than 40 local GPA chapters, there may be a monthly gathering of grant pros happening near you.  Check out the location map here https://www.grantprofessionals.org/chapters for more information.  Most chapters will let you visit once or twice before joining. Membership requires joining the GPA national and then paying the local chapter dues.  Membership scholarships are available in at least one annual grant cycle from the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF) http://grantprofessionalsfoundation.org/
     
  2. #grantchat.  Every Tuesday at noon, a diverse and gif-friendly cast of grant pro characters come together on Twitter for a series of themed questions.  Hosted by @grantchat, and managed by GPA Board President Jo Miller, (@jomillergpc ), this fun and informative tweetchat is sponsored by @SmartEGrants. You can also connect with the #grantchat community on Facebook.
     
  3. GPA webinars.  Included in your membership is a treasure trove of free webinars on everything from building budgets to A-133 audits to mentoring and all grant-related subjects in between.  Non-members pay $30 per webinar.  All webinar attendees can earn CEU credits toward maintaining the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) credential and also toward the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credentials.  Details are under the Education tab of the GPA website. https://www.grantprofessionals.org/webinars
     
  4. Regional GPA Conferences.  If your time and travel budget won't stretch to a four-day annual conference, consider attending a regional conference. For example, the Kentucky GPA Chapter will host a day-long event on March 27, 2019 featuring Vu Le, the author of the popular Nonprofit AF blog as the key note speaker followed by an afternoon of breakout sessions covering grant writing and fundraising.  Registration details and other information will be coming soon on the GPA calendar and on the Kentucky chapter's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kygpachapter/
     
  5. Fundraising HayDay Podcast.  Amanda Day and I created a podcast covering topics in grant development, writing, and fundraising because as residents of the “traffic-rich” metro Atlanta area, we were searching for grant-focused podcasts that were interesting and entertaining and couldn't find any. We hope you'll take a listen to all 14 episodes of Season One of Fundraising HayDay that are now available for free on Apple podcasts and Podbean sites: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fundraising-hayday/id1441248423?mt=2     https://fundraisinghayday.podbean.com/

Quality professional development can be yours all year long in-person and online, and can help keep those post-conference blues at bay. But if you've never attended a GPA Annual Conference before, put it on your calendar for November 6-9, 2019 at the Washington (DC) Hilton. And if your travel budget is tight or nearly non-existent, check out the conference scholarship opportunities with the Grant Professionals Foundation coming up in the first half of 2019.
 
What is your favorite way to stay current in the grant world between GPA Annual Conferences?

Kimberly Hays de Muga, GPC, is an expert grant professional, fundraiser and trainer. Her 20 years of fundraising experience includes raising more than $30 million from individuals, foundations and corporations for human service non-profits--everything from mobile food pantries to interfaith children's camps to general operating support for the largest pediatric hospital in the Southeast. Kimberly is the owner of Hays de Muga Consulting and is a national trainer with Grant Writing USA. From 2014-2018 she was the Development Director at thee Frazer Center. Previously she was the Senior Manager for Foundation and Corporate Relations at the Atlanta Community Food Bank for seven years. Prior to that, Kimberly was a senior grant writer for the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation for 10 years.  Kimberly is co-author of Preparing for the GPC Exam: Earn Your Grant Professional Certified Credential. She has presented fundraising and grant development seminars and workshops to small and medium non-profits across North Georgia that fight hunger, and is a popular speaker at national and regional conferences of the Grant Professionals Association. Currently chairing the Pioneer Awards Committee for GPA, she has served as Board Chair of the Grant Professionals Foundation and  past president of the Georgia Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association.

 

Comments

 
By: Amanda Day
On: 11/28/2018 07:54:50
Kimberly, great lineup of professional development. You know I especially love that last one. Your wit and charm shines through the words, as always.
 
By: Bethany Turner
On: 11/28/2018 09:29:23
Love this list, Kimberly. Thank you especially for including #grantchat. I love your description of the chat.

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