August 25, 2015

Finding Your Path Just Got Easier

About a year ago, I (virtually) sat down with my staff and told them I wanted to build an interactive program that would help individuals who are trying to develop their grantsmanship skills. I thought, this idea might engender some interesting conversation. I had no idea how quickly the staff would latch on to it!

Why was their reaction to this idea so positive?

Because we had all been experiencing the same thing over and over. GrantStation Members (about 30,000) were hungry to learn more.

Grantsmanship is somewhat of a mystery to many individuals, and most people assigned with the task of grant research, writing, or management—not to mention strategic planning—are often looking for guidance.

So, the good news was we had identified a real need. Our challenge became how to build something that will actually help individuals improve their grant seeking skills?

Introducing the PathFinder

After much contemplation, planning, testing, and programming, we launched a new public website called the PathFinder in late June.

The PathFinder is designed to help you develop your own career path as a grant professional. The PathFinder library profiles top quality resources that can strengthen your ability to secure and manage grant awards.

To get started, you can browse the library, search the resources, or use the Find Your Path tool to develop your own learning plan. You can get a full tour of how this site works by watching this short introduction video.

Whether you consider yourself to be a novice, somewhat experienced, or a professional, I believe you will find the resources—all vetted and profiled by GrantStation authors—to be of high quality and useful.

The resources themselves are arranged so you can view items that are timely, such as an upcoming webinar, or you can look at resources that are a “quick study.” There are also a number of resources that we have tagged with the label “deep dive.” These resources include Certificates and Degree programs.

This site also allows you to come back, after you’ve used a resource, and rate it. Once you’ve read a book or a report, taken a webinar, or attended a training, please come back and rate the resource so others can learn from your experience.

Resources to Make You Smile

There are numerous resources profiled on the PathFinder, including reports, webinars, conferences, certificate and degree programs and much more. However, some of my favorites are the interactive tools.

For example, there is a tool developed by the Independent Sector called Charting Impact. This tool provides organizations of all sizes with a method to communicate their goals, strategies, and outcomes in a consistent format. Responding to five simple questions creates a unique report that shares concise, detailed information about plans and progress with key stakeholders, including the public.

Another tool I just love is the Evaluation Plan Builder, offered via Innovation Network (or InnoNet). This program evaluation tool can be used for both outcomes evaluation and implementation evaluation. You have to register first, but then the tool is free to use. It is part of the Point K learning center.

There are a number of no-cost, interactive tools profiled within the PathFinder. I encourage you to check them out, play with them a bit, and see if they work for you and your organization.

Final Words

Each week you may want to check out the Featured Resource on the home page, as we try to spotlight resources we don’t want you to miss. And, if you know of an excellent resource you would like us to post, please email it to Patricia Summers.

We’d love to get your feedback, so please do let us know if you find this new resource helpful.

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Cynthia M. Adams
Cynthia Adams has been a fundraiser for over 40 years, mainly in Alaska, working directly for nonprofits and as a fundraising consultant. Her life’s work has been to help create opportunities for all nonprofit organizations to access the wealth of grant opportunities across the U.S. and throughout the world. GrantStation was conceived from this basic philosophy, and though it is a small company, Ms. Adams says it operates much more like a nonprofit organization, serving its thousands of Members with resources to help make their work easier.
Interest Categories: Fundraising
Tags: Fundraising, grantmaking