GPA Think Tank: Members have spoken!

GPA_LOGO-smallThe first gathering in 2014 of the Grant Professionals Association, Chicago Area Chapter added a new component: a think tank where participants had the opportunity to share ideas for program topics they were interested in.

First we identified core drivers for grant professionals to participate in targeted learning experiences:

  1. To develop needed skills for advancement in the field
  2. To advocate for support from the organization they serve so they can perform their job in the best way possible
  3. To build relationships with funders and other professionals in the field
  4. To stay current with trends, technology, resources and policies in the field
  5. To promote ethical and fiscal stewardship in their practice

The think tank produced this list of shared priorities for program themes to be covered at upcoming sessions this year.

Organizational Development as it Pertains to Grant Seeking:

  1. Grant professional’s role in organizational development and strategic planning
  2. Gain deeper understanding of the motivation and incentive for grant writing
  3. Improving communication and buy-in from program staff (i.e. educating them about the grant process)
  4. Engagement with other fundraising disciplines
  5. Fostering a team approach to grant seeking

Strategies for Effective Program and Project Design and Development:

  1. Developing long term strategic action plans for which the proposal will be written
  2. Partnerships and how to make them work
  3. Identifying appropriate definitions of and interrelationships among elements of project design

How to Craft, Construct and Submit an Effective Grant Application:

  1. Storytelling with data
  2. Identifying and accessing the best statistical data sources (e.g. census)
  3. Perspectives from CFOs/CPAs on budgets and financial statements
  4. Tips for working with needs assessments, project objectives, project designs and methods
  5. Using asset-based language in pitching programs

Post-Award Grant Management Best Practices:

  1. Stewardship: Nurturing mutually beneficial relationships between fund seekers and funders
  2. Effective collaborations with other organizations appropriate to funders’ missions and goals
  3. Quality reporting and its impact on your next ask
  4. Ethics and authenticity

Other Themes:

  1. Career Building: Planning your next steps
  2. Access to funding forecast
  3. Trends in government and corporate funding
  4. Getting your foot in the door with difficult to reach funders
  5. Grant writing and management for specific fields (e.g. higher education)
  6. Managing under new leadership: How to communicate through the ranks

The Program Committee will be rolling up their sleeves this week to begin shaping this year’s entire series of sessions. Stay tuned!

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