Habits of successful fire grant professionals

The consistency of these habits will help you achieve your desired grant seeking success


By Diane H. Leonard, GPC


What title is on your business card or your email signature? Is the word grant in your title?

Whether your answer is yes or no, it doesn’t matter. You can be a successful professional (whether you want to call yourself a grant professional or not is up to you).

Here's what I have found to be the habits of a successful professional (who works on grants) whether they are formally called a grant professional or not, whether they are focusing on grants occasionally, part-time or nearly full-time.

Daily habits

  • Read Digest.
  • Read the Federal Register (only the sections for the federal agencies you are watching for regarding funding).
  • Filter all funding-related newsletters and trade publications into a pending email folder to read in-depth once a week.

Weekly habits

  • Read the newsletters, trade publications and funding opportunities you have set aside in the pending email folder.
  • Dig deeper into funding opportunities that might be a good fit for your organization and create a summary sheet of the opportunity to share with your colleagues and discuss further.
  • Check deadlines for grant applications on the grant calendar for the upcoming month and ensure all components will be ready to submit in advance of the deadline.

Monthly habits

  • Check deadlines for grant applications on the grant calendar for the upcoming quarter and alert colleagues as to the upcoming application(s) and the information you will need from them.
  • Look at upcoming webinars from grantmakers or other professional development opportunities.

Annual habits

  • Review demographic information for the target audience you serve. Do you have the most recent census data? Has a new needs assessment been done for your community that you can cite?
  • Are all of your federal and state registrations and pre-qualifications current? Is the contact information and leadership information current?
  • What is the grant calendar (plan for the applications you plan to submit during the year) for the year ahead?
  • What professional development opportunities do you anticipate participating in over the next year that will help with your grant writing related skills?

I know from talking with colleagues that the list of what are your key daily, weekly, monthly and annual habits are unique to you. Creating consistency in your habits, so that whether your grant seeking responsibilities are part-time or full-time, in your title or not, the work you are doing is based on the best practices for research, relationship building and writing. Ultimately, the consistency of these habits will help you achieve your desired grant seeking success.

About the author
Diane H. Leonard, GPC is an experienced and highly respected grant professional who has provided grant development counsel to nonprofit organizations of varying size and scope for more than a decade. Diane founded DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC based in Clayton, NY in 2006. Diane began her career in philanthropy as a Program Officer for the Michigan Women's Foundation, a statewide public foundation. Diane is an active member of the Grant Professionals Association and is proud to have earned her Grant Professional Certification, a credentialed certification conferred by the Grant Professional Credential Institute. 

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