Grant Professional Certified

Grant Professional Certified

In this our third Link Party blog, we’ll discuss the eight competencies of the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (the elements upon which the exam for GPC certification are based). Click on the links in this blog for more great information from my esteemed colleagues Jana Jane Hexter, Diane Leonard, Heather Strombaugh and Mark Whitacre. You can also read our two previous Linky Party blogs here and here for more information and additional links.

What Your Grant Professional Knows Could be Worth Millions!

Do you engage a grant professional – staff or consultant – when you develop your strategic plan(s)? If not, you may be missing out on one of your greatest assets.

 Grant professionals are positioned to support your organization’s strategic plans and to aggressively prepare you for the right funding opportunities and partnerships. Engaging your grant professional in the planning process eliminates wasted time and energy ‘chasing the money’.  Experienced grant professionals who have obtained their GPC can take your organization to the next level in grant funding, program development and organizational stability.

Grant Professionals who have earned their GPC have proven experience and are competent in the fundamentals of grantsmanship, including strategic planning, program design and organizational development, as evaluated and documented by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute.

Earning the GPC endows the practitioner with a nationally recognized credential of expertise as a grant professional.  The GPC is designed to identify individuals with broad‐based knowledge and real‐world experience in the field of grantsmanship. There are 8 core competencies evaluated by the GPCI.


Strategy, Design and Development – Grant Development Core Competencies 

 Competency 2: Program and project design and development

Your Grant Professional Certified works with you to develop the project idea by  with your to identify the gaps in services and the need for the project. Once the need is established, goals, objectives, the approach, outcomes, impact, partners, resources and timeframes are developed. Once you and your grant professional have established the program and project design basics you are ready to find funding sources. Competency 3: Identifying and Matching Funding Resources – Diane’s link

For this section of the Grant Professional Certified the competencies evaluated concern the Grant Professionals ‘s ability to identify, ensure  and articulate the project’s fit with your organization’s mission, strategy and philosophies.

 What Your Grant Professional can do for Program and Project Design:

 Identify methods of soliciting and incorporating meaningful substantive input and contributions by stakeholders, including client groups, beginning with the development of a new concept or program.

  1. Identify methods of building partnerships and facilitating collaborations among applicants.
  2. Identify strategies for educating grant applicants about financial and programmatic accountability to comply with funder requirements. (Also see Competency 6: Grant Management by Jana)
  3. Identify structures, values, and applications of logic models as they relate to elements of project design.
  4. Identify appropriate definitions of and interrelationships among elements of project design (e.g., project goals, objectives, activities, evaluation).
  5. Identify design and development decisions that are data-based (e.g., descriptive, qualitative, environmental, statistical).
  6. Identify existing community resources that aid in developing programs and projects.
  7. Identify effects of accurate and defensible evaluation designs in program and project success and sustainability.

 Competency 4: Organizational Development

Your grant professional is a matchmaker. Your grant professional is building a ‘business plan’ that will introduce your organization to a grantor with a goal of building a mutually beneficial relationship.

Your grant professional must have a comprehensive understanding of your organization to clearly show that your organization is well-managed, that it has strong transparent fiscal management, that the project will provide essential community services, and that you have a verifiable success record in managing resources and meeting your objectives.

 To build a plan to fit your organization’s needs and support your mission, the grant professional will perform regular assessments of your organization’s capacity to seek grants and provide you with clear actionable steps to:

1) increase your grant readiness,

2) build your grant strategy in your overarching organizational strategic plan, and

3) assess and provide updates to your grant seeking policies and grant management practices as it relates to your industry and types of funding.

For this section of the Grant Professional Certified the competencies evaluated concern the Grant Professionals ‘s ability to identify, ensure  and articulate the organization’s grant and project development strategy  with the organization’s overarching grant readiness and strategic plan(s), mission

 What Your Grant Professional can do for Your Organization:

  1. Identify methods for coordinating organizations’ grants development with various available funding streams.
  2. Assess organizations’ capacity for grant seeking.
  3. Assess organizational readiness to obtain funding for and implement specific projects.
  4. Identify methods for assisting organizations to implement practices that advance grant readiness.
  5. Identify values, purposes, and goals of fund-seeking entities’ overall strategic plans in the grants process.
  6. Identify methods of conducting mission-focused planning and needs assessments with applicant organizations.
  7. Identify strategies and procedures for obtaining internal institutional support and approval of decision-makers for grant-seeking activities.
  8. Identify appropriate methods of working with local, state, and federal agencies and stakeholders to support grant seeking.
  9. Identify and address practices of grant seeking that are outside the boundaries of applicable laws and regulations.


What it Takes to be a GPC

In order to become a certified grant professional, I had to demonstrate my competency in 8 areas as defined by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute.  These eight competencies are critical to the work I do, the work I do with my team and the work I do for my clients.  Those of us that have earned out GPCs are so passionate about our certification and increasing awareness of the competencies, that five of us decided to write about each competency.  You can see pieces about each competency through their links below:


1: Effective Grant Applications – Diane H Leonard, GPC #Grantchat 07/22/14 Topic 

2: Program & Project Design & Development – Jo – #Grantchat 07/29/14 Topic

3: Funding Resources – Diane  #Grantchat 08/05/14 Topic

4: Organization Development – Jo Miller, GPC   #Grantchat 08/12/14 Topic

5: Ethical Practices – Heather Stombaugh – #Grantchat 08/19/14

6: Grant Management – Jane Hexter #Grantchat 08/26/14

7: Cultivate & Maintain Relationships – Marc Whitacre #Grantchat 09/02/14

8: Raise the Level of Professionalism – Heather Stombaugh #Grantchat 09/09/14

 Fast Facts About GPC 

  • The creation of GPC was started by the Grant Professionals Association in 1999.
  • The first GPC exams were offered in 2007. Since 2012, the GPC exam is  available through electronic testing.
  • As of December 2013, there are 346 GPCs in 43 of the United States and Ecuador.

What are your thoughts about the competencies required of those working to become certified grant professionals?  Do you agree that they are all critical skills for grant professionals to hold?  Do you think that there are any competencies that are overlooked in this list of eight?

If you would like to have more dialogue about these 8 competencies for certified grant professionals, I would encourage you to join me (@jm_grants)  with my co-moderator Diane H. Leonard (@dianehleonard) during #grantchat (a weekly Twitter chat for grant professionals on Tuesdays at 12pm ET) as we complete an eight week series discussing one of the competencies each week.  You can find more information about the upcoming chats and take a peek at the previous week’s dialogues here.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Jo, great thought piece as always! Both parts of the post were a great pre- and post- #grantchat primer for the community after discussing competencies #2 and #4 in detail. Looking forward to discussing the rest of the GPC competencies on #grantchat with you in the upcoming weeks. Hoping that we’ll see the number of conferred GPCs continue to grow as the understanding of the competencies and exam process grows!

    • Jo Miller, GPC, CSMS says:

      Hey Diane – Thank you! Yes, the #Grantchat discussions have been fantastic in building on our Link Party posts about the 8 competency categories examined for the Grant Professionals Certification. As a Grant Professionals Association Board member I am constantly impressed with the organization’s efforts and progress to build awareness about our profession and to instill standards, share best practices and promote professional development for the Grants Profession. The GPC is a big part of that process. Thanks for your comments!

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