International Grant Professional Day #IGPD is a reason to celebrate our profession!
Can you say you have an international perspective when it comes to grants? I must say even though I work in the Federal grant realm, I wasn’t aware of the broad scope of people working around the world on grants until I started connecting with a variety of people working with USAID funding.
It’s pretty amazing once you start looking because there is a lot going on across the world to make people’s lives better through grant funding. For International Grant Professional Day, I want to introduce you to
CPA and highlight her work to help grant professionals in the Middle East.
I first met Pateel by email when she approached me about taking the MyFedTrainer.com Grant Management Boot Camp program to Beirut, Lebanon. (Now, full disclosure, I have had international training requests in the past from South Africa to Afghanistan, but going to Lebanon? That was a first!)
Do you even have those moments when your brain says the safe play is to ignore the email? After all, I didn’t know Pateel. But there was something about Pateel’s email that came across as genuine, so I looked up the company in New York she mentioned in her email for and sent them a note. To Pateel’s credit, they responded immediately that Pateel was the “real deal” and a valuable part of their international training staff.
That simple extra step started a connection with Pateel as I learned more about her efforts to increase the level of professionalism and knowledge in the Middle East.
Leading International Grant Professional
As I sit here writing this on International Women’s Day, I realize how blessed I was to grow up in a community of strong women leaders. And here was another amazing woman in charge of the CNAP (Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional) US training program in the Middle East. How could I not feel a connection as she described her vision for this new collaboration of expanding grant management skills starting in Beirut? She managed the ‘Train the Trainers’ programs at KPMG Beirut and has been a part-time instructor at the American University of Beirut since 1999. It was a chance to connect with another CPA leading grant professionals halfway around the world Grant Professional.
But even with Pateel’s list of accomplishments, I was certain there were some challenges working with nonprofits in other counties, so I asked her to share some of them with us in this article.
Challenges for International Grant Professional of Grant Development and Management
As you may imagine every country has laws and regulations unique to their location, but also we all share some universal difficulties. Here are three of the challenges and similarities Pateel shared:
Many nonprofits internationally follow the International Financial Reporting Standards called IFRS. As a result, nonprofits can struggle with reporting as they are not as familiar with the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) standards. I was reminded that no matter what country you are in, understanding the expectations of funders so that reporting can provide accurate financial results for the sponsored programs and projects is a key success factor in delivering the outcomes planned with the grants.
Many of us in the US are struggling with the big changes to federal grant compliance with the advent of 2 CFR Part 200. It turns out we aren’t the only ones. Pateel shared that the compliance requirements of US Federal grants are much stricter than the compliance requirements of European grants.
Fortunately, the renewed focus on internal controls with Federal grants uses universal concepts that are shared across most countries, so we can all use similar policies and procedures for this compliance requirement.
In the area of training, we are also very similar. Despite a large number of people working directly and indirectly on grants internationally, the approach to who to train and how much training is eerily familiar. Most training programs participants seem to lean heavily towards the finance staff with a small sliver of the people who work directly on the program Grant Professional.
In order to increase the skills and performance of grant professionals across the world, we need to ensure that the widest groups of people working with grants receive the training they need on the requirements to which they will be measured by funders. One example Pateel shared was the need to ensure that the staff at nonprofits outside of the US are literate in the requirements of US GAAP to meet the common expectation of US funding sources.
International Grant Professionals Connect with Others
As I head off to the Grant Professional Association (GPA) conference, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how I changed my attitude about grant management through the power of community.
Let’s face it.
We all are getting busier and busier in our daily lives.
And our investment of time with any group has to have some form of “payback” for our motivated self-interest to consider it a “win”.
Are you with me?
Benefit #1: Connection to Other Grant Professionals
It doesn’t matter if you are a grant writer, grant manager; small business owner or nonprofit promoter, connection to other professionals is an important part of expanding opportunities.
When you network, you increase your odds of discovering the right people, resources, and opportunities to catapult your career or business.
With social media tools like LinkedIn, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with the perfect contacts.
And it’s also a great way to give back and help others and mentor the next generation of professionals.
As Harvey Mackay famously said, “Dig Your Well Before You Are Thirsty.”
Benefit #2: Support from People in My Profession
Sometimes life takes unexpected twists and turns.
And it can be hard to keep headed in the right direction.
By networking with others in my profession I have found a supportive group to help me through the rough patches and challenge me to grow and develop.
Whether you work in a niche profession like grant management or a more mainstream career path, having others who understand what you are going through and give helpful suggestions is invaluable!
Benefit #3: Career Development and Relevant Training
Finally, connecting with professional organizations is a source of countless chances for career development and relevant training opportunities.
For example, in the GPA National Conference, there are over 70 workshops being offered with everything from Tribal Government Special Interest groups to using social media to grow your consulting practice.
In the NGMA annual conference, I know that I can get exposure to the thinking of the federal government behind many of the rules and regulations that grant recipients deal with every day as they manage their federal funding.
I know that by participating in my professional community I will advance my goals faster, become more valuable and connect with amazing professionals in my industry.
All is made possible by harnessing the power of community.
Want to Feel More Confident About Grant Management?
How about you?
Would you like to be a better grant manager?
We have another grant management training seminar coming soon.
Click here to get all the details!
Hope to see you there!
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
CEO, Compliance Warrior
Author of “Decoding Grant Management-The Ultimate Success Guide to the Federal Grant Regulations in 2 CFR Part 200” The 2nd Edition is now available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle versions.