Find Your Grant People

Nov 2, 2023 | Grant Writing

woman looking through binoculars

My first job out of college was in local government, working as an administrative assistant for the city manager. Six months into the job I started helping one of the police officers who had a knack for grant writing. The officer took another job six months later, and shortly thereafter the city manager announced he was creating a full-time grants position, and the job was mine.

I loved the job, but for years, I felt like I was the only grant professional on the face of the earth.

Fast forward to a new job, the meeting of a few fellow local government grant administrators, and the discovery of the Grant Professionals Association (GPA), and suddenly it was like a whole new world was available to me.

Turns out, there are grant professionals the world over! Heck, there are so many people who don’t have grant anywhere in their title, yet they spend a portion of their working hours finding funding for their city, department, nonprofit, school, or insert whatever organization description you can think of here. Grant professionals ABOUND and finding my people was the greatest thing for this grant professional.

Here’s what it means to find your people.


First, you have advice, suggestions, and a listening ear only a phone call, text, or email away. For the longest time, my poor husband was the recipient of my grant-related rants, and while he’s a good listener he didn’t live in that world so there was only so much he could take. Trust me, there is nothing like having a fellow grant pro who has been there and done that to understand when you are on an elated high after winning that grant award or beyond frustrated that no one in your office understands a deadline.

Always Learning

Second, the training. Oh my gosh the training. As you are reading this, I’m currently at Grant Summit – the 25th Anniversary gathering of GPA. Together with over 1,000 of my peers I have my choice of sessions on indirect cost rates, federal appropriations, relationships between grant seekers and grant makers, ChatGPT, inclusive language in grant proposals, building your consulting business, logic models, and more. So. Much. More. Seriously, I want to attend them all. (Has ChatGPT figured out how to clone grant professionals yet? I kid. Sort of.)

Your Next Job

Third, you grow your career. I cannot begin to tell you how much work I have found thanks to the people I have met through GPA. Early in my career I met the owner of a training company at a conference and years later called him up because I heard he was looking for a new trainer. Got the job. When I first started my consulting business I reached out to several consultants I knew and offered to sub-contract when they had overflow work, and boy did they put me to work. I shared with people that I was consulting and asked if they would send clients my way. They did! Right now I work part-time at a consulting firm because a fellow grant pro reached out to see if I could help him find someone to work there. (I said, yes, me!) Seriously, grant people support the careers of others in a big way.

More than Colleagues

Finally, you will make some of your best and lifelong friends at GPA. At least I did. It was through GPA that I met Kimberly, and she’s now my podcast cohost and HayDay Services co-owner. And bonus, we love hanging out together, so work is always fun. Other friends have become regular travel buddies. Others I look forward to hugging and catching up with at our annual GPA gathering. And yes, I am an extrovert so I want to meet all the people and do all the things, but I think I can speak for my introvert friend Kimberly here and say that even though she doesn’t want to go and do as much as I do, she too has made incredible friendships through this organization.

For me, GPA is THE place for grant professionals. It has fueled my career and my love of grants. It has surrounded me with my people, and that means the world to me. I will always and forever sing GPA’s praises. Whether you join GPA or find another organization to help with your professional development, I highly recommend you find the place that brings you all the experience and happiness that you need for a successful career in the grant and fundraising profession. I promise, it’s worth every penny when you find your people.

Amanda Day
Fundraising HayDay

A podcast about grants & such.

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