By Katie Krueger (Guest blogger)
Professional organizations play a vital part in the growth of you and your field. They offer regular professional development, networking and a community of people to offer collaboration and support. Most professional organizations are national associations with local chapters. The national association offers benefits such as pertinent publications, a resource-rich website, national conferences, and a code of ethics that guides the profession. However, you will find the most value in the local chapters. Their education opportunities, networking, and support will be more accessible to you and more relevant to your work within the community.
Here are three professional organizations that could benefit your grant writing career.
American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP)
AAGP is the national professional organization representing the needs and concerns of grant professionals. Members include people who work in education, government, the nonprofit sector or private enterprises. Their mission is to "build and support an international community of grant professionals committed to serving the greater public good by practicing the highest ethical and professional standards." A membership in their organization offers you a subscription to AAGP's electronic newsletter, the AAGP Journal, participation in the membership forum, and reduced conference fees and other benefits.
Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
AFP represents nearly 28,000 members in more than 190 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. Their mission is to "enable(e) people and organizations to practice ethical and effective fundraising. The core activities through which AFP fulfills this mission include education, training, mentoring, research, credentialing and advocacy. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession."
While their focus is not exclusively on grant writing, this organization will help you round out your skills in fundraising, making you a more competitive candidate for advancement in the development profession. If your professional goals include growing beyond grant writing into a Development Director, for example, this is a great way to learn what skills you will need to do so.
National Grants Management Association (NGMA)
NGMA focuses on building the skills necessary to effectively implement grant programs after they have been funded. They help members understand issues ranging from the Federal regulatory environment to grant budgeting and financial management, to cash management, to intellectual property, to ethics and conflict s of interest. Their mission is to "connect professionals in the grants field to improve and unify the grants delivery process by bringing together the professionals involved in this process so that they may learn from each other."
Understanding what it takes to effectively manage a grant program will help you to write proposals with realistic and effective action plans, timelines, objectives, and evaluation methods.
As with any venture, the more you put in, the more you get out. With this in mind, you may want to consider volunteering for a committee or leadership role with in the organization you choose to join. Commit to those opportunities that you are capable of doing well but that will challenge you to grow.
Katie Krueger is the editor of Find Funding Magazine, an online grant writing magazine. Find Funding helps you write better grants and make more money. Article source here.