How to measure the performance of a grant professional is a oft debated topic in grant writing circles. Measures, such as # of grants written, # of grants funded, % of grants funded, and total dollars received, are insufficient to measure the total contribution of a grant professional to the development team. After all, the best grant professionals do much more than write proposals. They build long-term relationships. They contribute strategic insights. They guide program and budget development.
So what’s an organization to do?
I like the solution members of the For GrantWriters Only Higher Education Supporters group came up with… tie their performance metrics to the professionals whose work they typically support, who are evaluated based on three things: research, service, teaching/outreach.
How could this work?
Research: prospect research and lining up needs with funding opportunities, robust research into the need for programs, and research needed to establish a reasonable set of program outcomes
- Qualitative outcomes: high proposal quality, compelling needs statement that supports all aspects of organizational development, quality program metrics
- Quantitative outcomes: # contacts made, # of new relationships established, % awarded based on total proposals submitted
Service (and I would add: Leadership): participation in administrative, financial, program development and fund development teams, participation in grant professional groups, continuous learning and application of best practices and new technologies, grant management
- Qualitative outcomes: well supported program need statements and clear program descriptions with aligned budgets, strategic program development, diversified funding base, testimonials
- Quantitative outcomes: # meetings with program/teaching staff, # of new programs supported, # of professional development meetings, client satisfaction ratings, # of missed deadlines
Teaching/Outreach: making connections with other community agencies to satisfy community needs and open up new funding opportunities, sharing knowledge of best practices with internal staff and other members of the development community, managing outside relationships with development consultants
- Qualitative outcomes: enhanced service to the community, opportunities to pursue new projects through collaboration
- Quantitative outcomes: # of new collaborative programs supported, # of professional development presentations, # workshops presented to internal staff
- Read the full discussion in the Higher Education Supporters group forum. Add your comments below.
What’s important here? Don’t settle for being evaluated on numbers alone. Be recognized for the full role you play in your organization. And acknowledge that all members of the team have a role in the overall success of the grant seeking program. You don’t work alone.