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Who Are The Grant Professionals?

One of my daily struggles is helping people understand the work that grant professionals do and how it is so much more than writing.

As I see it, grant professionals are involved at every point in what I call the “Grant Continuum” which starts with an organizational assessment to determine if the organization is ready for grants and continues through researching opportunities, preparing a proposal. If there is a good match with the funder, they are managing the grant funds and completing the reporting requirements for the grant. Clearly, there is writing involved, yet there is so much more in terms of collaboration, evaluation, budget development, program design, fund management, and report development. These are skills that every grant professional uses on a regular basis.

The GPA Board of Directors

The GPA Board of Directors recently discussed this question. One common theme from the conversation was the diversity of backgrounds in the grant profession and that most people did not start out intending to be a grant professional. Grant professionals come from all types of jobs including teachers, firefighters, authors, social workers, and military veterans. Another common theme was around the sectors and industries where grant professionals work. Most people equate grant professionals with charitable nonprofit organizations, however, we know that there are grant professionals in all the sectors of our economy, including those who work in all levels in education and government. 

Salary Survey (Infographic)

As many of you know, GPA conducts an annual compensation survey. As a part of that survey, we collect information about those who participate. This provides information for the survey results including data by several demographic categories and job responsibilities. The top five responsibilities were: Writing Grant Proposals, Researching Grant Opportunities, Managing Grants, Coordinating Projects, and Networking. This year, GPA developed an infographic to give people a glance at who a grant professional is - their background, education, where they work and what they earn.

Grant Professionals Certification Institute

Our colleagues at the Grant Professionals Certification Institute ( have developed a list of core competencies for grant professionals which form the basis for the exam for the Grant Professional Certified credential. These core competencies include the following functions:

  • Craft, construct, and submit a grant proposal;
  • Effectively design programs and projects;
  • Matching funding resources to meet specific needs;
  • Practice ethical grantsmanship;
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with funders;
  • Knowledge of post-award grant management practices.

Once again, credentialed grant professionals do much more than write. It is easy for me to see that grant professionals are so much more than writers, even though writing is an important and critical skill for grant professionals. I do, however, have the unique perspective of getting to know GPA members and learn from you. I get to find out what you do and the types of organizations and people that benefit from your work. Knowing that, makes my struggle a little easier when I encounter someone who asks “What is a grant professional?”  


So who do you say you are?

Leave a note in the comments below.