10 Professional Development Strategies for Grant Professionals

Recharge your grant work, and get ready for the grant writing challenges ahead in 2019 with these strategies from Dr. Judy Riffle.

When I first started working on grants as a school district employee, I wish someone had suggested quality professional development opportunities which would hone my fundraising skills. Do you wonder where to look to improve your skills?

“Learning is like rowing upstream. As soon as you stop, you begin drifting backwards.” Wonderful wisdom from Hayes McClerkin in his book, Shortcuts to Life’s Secrets.

After many years in the grant profession both as an employee and a consultant, I can share these ten strategies to energize you in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Network, learn and find like-minded grant professionals. The Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference (GPA) 2019 will be in Washington, D.C. November 6-9 where there are many invaluable opportunities. You can attend in person, or virtually. GPA also hosts frequent webinars throughout the year.
  2. Seek professional development funding opportunities. If you need help paying for conferences like the GPA, check out the Grant Professionals Foundation conference scholarships, which open May 1.
  3. Check out in person workshops, conferences, webinars, forums and publications. The expert attorneys Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC offer federal education and workforce development grant knowledge and training opportunities.
  4. Spend time building skills. Consider attending the 2019 Nonprofit Storytelling Conference in San Diego October 28-30, purchase the session videos to share with others, or both.
  5. Serve as a grant peer reviewer. This is the best way to learn what funded grants look like, and a great way to hone collaborative and leadership skills by working on a grant review committee.
  6. Write some blog articles on topics you wish you were more knowledgeable about. GPA and other organizations always need more authors.
  7. Share your knowledge and teach. Present or co-present a workshop or conference session.
  8. Read online. I like the Charity Channel, The Nonprofit Times, GrantSpace and GPA.
  9. Learn about grant management. The National Grants Management Association has resources, including an annual conference.
  10. Sign up for helpful publications, like Blue Avocado, a magazine for nonprofits.

We always have more to learn. What will you learn in 2019?

About the Author

Dr. Judy Riffle owns Santa Cruz Grants & Consulting, LLC, and has raised over 18 million dollars for various schools, school districts, and nonprofits. Funded and managed grants include school formula grants such as Title I, Title IV, IDEA Basic, and Title III LEP. Funded competitive grants include: McKinney-Vento Supplemental Education for Homeless Children & Youth, State Tutoring, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, school improvement, CA Community Colleges Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation, New York Learning Technology, Arizona Pilot Program on School Emergency Readiness, USDA Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program, USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine Program, Baptist Community Ministries, Safeway Foundation, Tucson Electric Power, Cox Charities, Del E. Webb Foundation, and Arizona Disabled Veteran Foundation. Dr. Riffle is a former teacher, education specialist, new teacher mentor, and administrator with degrees in special education, Deaf education, and educational leadership. Besides being a member of the Grant Professionals Association, she also serves as Vice-President for the Green Valley Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce Foundation and has a special interest in school safety and mental health. Since December 2016, she has written monthly grant related articles for educationgrantshelp.com.

Read more grant professionals advice from Riffle:

The Education Grant Professional’s Must-Have Books

About the author


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