I have high appreciation for professional people. Now before you think I am an elitist, white-collar snob, allow me to state that my use of the word professional is equally applied to anyone of any craft, trade, "profession", or art. The label must be earned through demonstration of diligent effort and adherence to principles. The title Professional is not awarded on sheepskin or vellum and it is not donned via fancy suits and ties.
I consider a professional person to be someone who earns the title. Professional people are not hard to identify because they stand out, there few of them.
A grant writer must act as a professional person or soon be out of work. Here are some areas in which a grant writer must earn their professional stature.
- Confidentiality – A grant writer sometimes privy to information that an agency shares with few employees. This information often includes needs data and fiscal information required to write applications. A grant writer often gains “insider” information about an agency that should never be shared. To do so only feeds the ever hungry gossip grapevine.
- Honesty – A grant writer must resist pressure to write inaccuracies or exaggerations about an agency to improve their appeal to the grant maker.
- Integrity – A grant writer must be reliable because they often work alone. Grant writers must possess the inner drive to complete difficult revisions and editing out of a desire to do a professional job of writing. A grant writer must charge fees that represent fair market value for services rendered.
- Expertise – A grant writer must complete highly technical narratives. A grant narrative requires excellent writing skills and technical ability to write with authority.
I was enrolled in a summer University course many years ago toward my Master’s degree. The instructor’s husband was visiting the class one afternoon and we met by chance on a balcony at break. We spoke of my future plans and he gave me words of encouragement. He urged me to set my mind on becoming a professional, “It doesn’t matter what you do, but be a Pro at it. If you do, you’ll be a huge success, because there are so few Pro’s out there.”
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Photo Credit - Ali Farid