Professional development. Everyone says you should do it, but how do you make it count and not just a checkbox in your annual review?
Recently, I presented a webinar on how individuals who work in the grant field can align their professional development with the competencies and skills required for a national credential, the Grant Professional Certification (GPC), from the Grant Professional Certification Institute (GPCI).
Participants told us the number one take away from this webinar was the Self-Assessment Tool. This assessment does not just focus on knowledge, but instead uses adult learning theory to look at knowledge, experience, and comfort. This encourages you to take your expertise beyond mere knowledge, to the application of skill and emotional response. These are the aspects that really influence how we push ourselves towards continual improvement, whether we are willing to apply for that federal grant, that next job, or to pursue credentials. You can download the self-assessment worksheet and get started by filling out this form.
So, where do you start? After identifying the skills and competencies you need to focus on using the self-assessment tool, what next? Below are four ideas with examples of resources you can use to put together your best professional development plan yet!
1) Check out the training providers approved by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute. Their trainings have been reviewed for alignment to the GPCI competencies and skills. For example, Foundant Technologies has several educational webinars recognized by GPCI for continuing education points.
2) Learn more about the resources provided by the membership association for grant professionals –Grant Professionals Association. In addition to their annual conference (named the Best Nonprofit Conference in 2018), they also provide:
3) Research other training options which first align to the competencies (for the basics) and then to the skills (for advanced practitioners) so you can continue to grow in your pursuit of excellence:
4) Finally, serving as a peer reviewer for grants is a significant way to improve your grantsmanship. Below are some federal agencies that need reviewers. If you don’t see the agency you are most interested in, please review the agency’s website.
Good luck as you pursue and grow in this wonderful profession!