Grant Professionals Are Change Agents

Apr 18, 2024 | Grant Writing

Image of a clear jar full of US dollars sitting next to a red felt heart

As grant professionals, we often see ourselves as mere intermediaries – facilitating the flow of funds from grant makers to nonprofits by carefully completing proposals, securing required documents, and reporting on outcomes.

As grant professionals, we’ve all grappled with the complexities of our roles. From deciphering unclear applications to navigating dysfunctional portals, the challenges can be overwhelming. The demand for clarity and parity in the grantmaking process can often feel like a daunting task.

But a new movement is gathering powerful momentum for change—More Than Grant Writers. In the most recent episode of the Fundraising HayDay podcast (LISTEN HERE), two founding members of More Than Grant Writers, Patrice Shumate and Liyen Chong, are here to help us all get more comfortable outside of our comfort zones and step into our power and knowledge.

“It’s a validation of expertise and influence,” Patrice explained. As grant writers, she explains in the podcast interview, we have deep insight into community needs, practical solutions, and the operational realities nonprofits face. Yet this knowledge often remains siloed within our profession. By coming together, we can leverage our collective power to advocate for more equitable, responsive, and impactful grantmaking.

The genesis of the “More Than Grant Writers” movement stemmed from a realization that grant professionals have a unique vantage point and voice that is critical for driving positive change in the philanthropic sector. When a panel discussion at the Grant Professionals Association conference highlighted troubling inequities in funder practices, Patrice, Liyen, and others saw an opportunity to mobilize their peers.

Patrice and Liyen gave great examples of shared advocacy, from submitting public comments on proposed policy changes to encouraging peers to provide candid feedback to funders. The key is recognizing that we don’t have to settle for the status quo, even if we feel constrained by our organizational roles. (To learn more about collective action, visit their new website HERE.)

Leanne’s challenge resonates deeply, “If we don’t speak up, who will?”

Whether we’re seasoned consultants or new in-house professionals, our perspectives are valuable. It’s about finding the right channels and using them to share our insights in a thoughtful, relationship-building way.

It’s time for grant writers to recognize their true influence and use it to transform philanthropy, not just follow the rules and hope for the best. The philanthropic sector needs our expertise, creativity, and courage to build a more equitable and impactful system.

Kimberly Hays de Muga
Fundraising HayDay

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