Starting March 6, the UNM Foundation will host a Grantsmanship Training Program Senior, an initiative aimed at working professionals in the nonprofit arena.
“This workshop provides participants with high-quality, hands-on training in how to identify and secure grant funding for their work,” said Betsy Till, the senior director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the UNM Foundation.
Till said that after applying on a first-come, first-serve basis, participants will receive instructions from a trainer as well as engage in hands-on activities, group work and a collaborative writing and critique of a short grant proposal.
Barbara Floersch, the executive director at the Grantsmanship Center, said the workshop allows UNM staff and faculty members to use tuition remission, through UNM Continuing Education, as well as a limited number of partial scholarships for qualified agencies.
“Before this program was created, no training on grant proposal development existed, and many organizations — especially small, grassroots groups — lacked the skills to compete for grant funding,” Floersch said.
This changed in 1972 when the Grantsmanship Center launched its first Grantsmanship Training Program “to teach private and public nonprofits how to plan effective programs and how to get grant funding to support them,” she said.
Since then, the program has been polished, while an independent evaluator’s ongoing, eight year-long assessment has confirmed the program’s effectiveness.
“This training program is based on the Center’s Program Planning and Proposal Writing model, which is accepted as the standard in the field and is used by both foundations and government agencies to structure their application guidelines,” She said. “While there are now many workshops available in the field of grants development, when you check out the best ones you're likely to find that they are rooted in the work and the proposal model that originated with the Grantsmanship Center.”
As a course alum and someone who frequently writes grant proposals for work, Till said she continues to utilize her past experiences in her work.
“The combination of lectures, peer collaboration and hands-on activities was very effective training,” Till said, adding that she sees the Grantsmanship Training Program as valuable training for the local community.
Floersch, who has over 35 years of experience and has formulated hundreds of grant proposals, said she hopes participants leave the program understanding grants as tools needed for social change, with the ability to win grants by knowing how to present their case to interested funders who they can connect with throughout the process.
Grantsmanship Training Program graduates tend to “become catalysts for positive change within their organizations (and) leaders in the nonprofit field” and credit their successes to the program, she said.
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Floersch hopes those attending the program leave feeling “empowered.”
“By the time they leave they are no longer intimidated by the grant development process, because they have actually done it,” she said. “Because of the deeply experiential nature of this training, participants leave with confidence that they know what works in grantseeking, what does not work and why.”
Floersch does not see grants as “the answer to every funding need nonprofits encounter,” but she feels “grants are powerful tools for tackling pressing problems, innovating, building capacity and improving the quality of life.”
“When asked what I’m proud of about my career, I never think first of the money I’ve secured through grants,” Floersch said. “I think of the important work within the communities I’ve served and the good outcomes that organizations have accomplished.”
Floersch said she knows that, by helping staff at nonprofits, it is more than just about acquiring money.
“I am helping them not only raise funds and further their own career,” she said. “I’m teaching them how to make positive change.”
Elizabeth Sanchez is a reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Beth_A_Sanchez.