Building Your Grant Writing Network: An Introvert’s Guide

Mar 21, 2024 | Grant Writing

Man with paper bag over his head and holding a pair of binoculars

While extroverts (like my podcast co-host and training partner Amanda Day) might thrive on large networking events and cocktail receptions, introverted grant writers (yours truly) can excel at building networks too. Our approach may be quieter, but it can be just as effective.

Here are three ways that introverts can excel in creating lasting work connections.

Mentorship and Volunteering: A Perfect Fit

As introverts, we often shine in one-on-one conversations or smaller settings. Consider seeking out a mentor in the grant writing field or becoming a mentor. This allows you to learn from someone experienced, ask specific questions, and build a valuable relationship over time. The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) has a strong mentorship program.

Volunteering is another fantastic option. Look for opportunities with GPA, the Grant Professionals Foundation, or with the Grant Professionals Certification Institute. Serve on a planning committee, review articles for a journal, score scholarship applications—find what feels good. You’ll grow skills while you work with other grant pros in small groups or one-on-one—all in a setting that feels comfortable.

Building Strong Bonds Within Your Organization

Don’t underestimate the power of fostering connections with colleagues where you live and work. Your local GPA chapter is a great place to start. Even introverts can benefit from a good work friend. I should know—that’s how I met Amanda! This kind of connection doesn’t have to be a constant companion. It could be someone who can offer a listening ear, proofread your work, or simply share stories about the joys of deadlines and grant management reporting. These small interactions can create a sense of belonging and support.

Connecting with Fellow Grant Professionals Online

LinkedIn and numerous online forums and groups dedicated to grant writing can be great places to connect. Platforms such as GPA’s Grant Zone, More than Grant Writers, and Community-Centric Fundraising allow you to engage in discussions, ask questions, and learn from others’ experiences, all at your own pace.

For more, check out some amazing thought leaders in the grants field who gave incredible advice in the latest episode of Fundraising HayDay. You can listen HERE. While many of our guests at the 2023 Grant Summit would call themselves introverts, their shared experiences and tips will work for us all.

Building a network doesn’t have to involve crowds and small talk. By focusing on genuine connections, mentorship, and online communities, introverted grant writers can build a strong network that fuels their success and helps them avoid burnout.

Kimberly Hays de Muga
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Fundraising HayDay

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