By Danny Blitch, MPA, GPC
Everyone gets to the “place” in their career where they start thinking about the next step and what they want moving forward. This place is different for everyone and, for some, it might be immediately after landing their first grant job! Truthfully, most of us find our own way for years – go to workshops/webinars, learn from a retiring employee, lean on grant friends, ask lots of questions, and read – and by read, I mean – read a lot.
The next step could be to go back to school, leave your current employer, start your own consulting business, or maybe… get your credential. None of these steps are wrong, but there are more than a few reasons to get your Grant Professional Certified (GPC) credential. If you’re thinking I’m about to list a bunch of reasons for getting your GPC credential, you’d be right…
- A credential is evidence of one’s authority or competence in an area of study;
- The GPC illustrates you have an elevated level of grant-related experience and knowledge;
- A credential can lead to an increase in income and promote new opportunities for professional growth and advancement;
- The GPC is a tool used to set oneself apart from the competition and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace;
- Without a recognized academic degree for the grant profession, a GPC is the only independent measure available to determine a person’s grant-related competencies and skills.
The GPC credential will not only mean more money for you, but more grants (more money!) for your clients as well. Getting your GPC will strengthen your professional reputation and brand, helping you gain a competitive edge in hiring and bid award decisions.
“GPC-Land” – where Ethics Live
As a GPC you will be bound to follow the GPA Code of Ethics. Before I was certified, I spent too much time deciding how to handle quasi-ethical dilemmas. Now as a GPC – knowing my credential might be at risk – the decision is quick, painless, and easy for me. I can decide in a split second, move on to the other next call or email, and never look back! I call it “GPC-land” and it is a nice place to live.
To earn your GPC credential you need real-world experience and expertise. No one can sit for the GPC exam without at least three years of professional grant experience within the last five years. In addition, this experience must have led to real-world grant awards. This is no joke. All GPCs must have practical experience figuring out grants… and succeeding. The GPC credential can be a powerful affirmation and a real confidence builder!
Common Language of Grants
As a GPC, you share a common language; not necessarily from becoming a GPC, but from being a GPC. I now have language in common with so many of my peers. None of us are exactly alike (in fact, we are all quite different), but in being a GPC we share common experiences and, therefore, an understanding behind the grant-related language that is uniquely our own. GPC holders know what it took to #EarnGPC and therefore we speak our own special jargon.
High Paying Careers
As a GPC you can cash-in on other high paying careers. There are many examples of career hopping in both the fundraising and in the grants-only professions. There are many examples of GPC grant professionals who are now employed as City Managers, national-level trainers, project managers, and international development or fundraising professionals. GPC colleagues are employed as consultants in government and in the non-profit sector – including faith-based, technology, and research. A GPC shows potential employers you understand grants and may have an aptitude for a lot more.
Write Fewer Grants
It’s important to me that I can be picky about the projects I get involved in, and I have some “musts” that need to be met before I’ll say yes. (1) The proposed grant project must first be “fundable.” (2) The proposed solution must logically impact the problem identified in the needs assessment. (3) The solution must be an issue addressable by a grant, especially in the short-term. (4) The organization must be grant-ready and willing to do the work with me.
Successfully seeking grants is not a numbers game, but rather a fundable project/organization capacity game. #EarnGPC and focus on quality grant projects!
Grant Knowledge and Skills
The grant process can be complicated. Grant writers, grantmakers, project managers, accountants, and all manner of grant professionals make it look so easy! Show off your skills by earning your credential. The Grant Professional Certified (GPC) is the premier credential in the grant profession.
Three of my colleagues and I authored the book, Prepare for the GPC Exam: Earn Your Grant Professional Certified Credential. The book is a fun, upbeat “in the trenches manual,” published by CharityChannel Press.
Sales of the book support the Grant Professionals Foundation and the Giving Back GPC Exam Scholarships. Order your copy from the bookstore and use the code “gpc-prep-db” to receive a 20% discount: http://bit.ly/gpc-prep-db
Danny W. Blitch II (MPA, GPC) is an original GPC, receiving the credential in 2008. He serves as the Grants Manager for the City of Roswell, Georgia, where he is responsible for a municipal grant program which has been awarded more than $65 million in grants, as well as for private donations.