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Dialing in Your Self-Assessment: A Guide to Grant Professional Development

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).Planning Your Own Pathway to Grant Guru

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.

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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:

·       Webinars

·       Mentoring

·       Local chapter meetings and regional events  

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:

·       Assel Grant Services

·       Grant Professionals Association’s Approved Trainers

· Grants Learning Center

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.

a.     US Department of Education

b.     Health Resources and Services Administration

c.     Office of Justice Programs

d.     Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration

e.     Institute of Museum and Library Services

f.      USDA National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Good luck as you pursue and grow in this wonderful profession!


About the Author

Julie Assel is President and CEO of Assel Grant Services, a professional grant services firm she founded in 2007. She has over fifteen years of experience in prospect research, proposal writing, and grant management. She is one of less than 400 grant professionals who hold the Grant Professionals Certified credential through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute, and one of just 25 GPCs who are also Approved Trainers through the Grant Professionals Association. Julie manages a deep training portfolio of over forty different training sessions annually through Assel Grant Services’ professional development programs. Her current portfolio includes training series on federal grants, grants and ethics, basic grant training, and more advanced topics related to grants. In addition to speaking at Grant Professional Association and Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter trainings, regional conferences, and national conferences, Julie also provides live and webinar trainings upon request to targeted audiences and the broader nonprofit field.

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