What Motivates You As A Grant Writer?

What Motivates a Grant Writer?

What excites you? What inspires you personally? What motivates you professionally?

Those are some pretty tough big picture and self-awareness questions that many of us adults are often thinking about and watching how those answers shift during the different seasons of our life or our career. There is no right or wrong answer. There is no perfect answer that is an indicator of success in your personal or professional goals. That is part of what I think makes this topic so interesting!

It is no secret among colleagues or my clients that I am an avid runner. When I am stuck on a particular narrative or mulling over a new project within my business I will often say that I am going to “run on it” rather than the traditional “sleep on it.” Running motivates me in countless ways. Running in high school and college brought on stress relief and motivation for class projects and mid-terms. As a new young proffesional in the field of philanthropy it motivated me to pursue professinal development goals and instilled confidence in my new hands-on experience and knowledge. As a parent and business owner it now motivates me to always look at the road ahead both literally and metaphorically as a means to process goals and challenges. It also motivates me to think differently about a new logic model or a need statement or about a new idea for a blog post.

As a result of my personal reliance on running as a motivating factor in my life, I have also realized that when motivation is lacking at any point during the day, I am better off if I get up and move around for a few minutes – walk to the Keurig, do a few stretches, or hit my treadmill desk for awhile rather than force myself to muscle through a drop in motivation on a project.

Running isn’t my only answer though. I love to keep track of quotes and images that motivate me both professionally and personally on my Motivation Board on Pinterest so that when my motivation is feeling like it needs a boost for the day – whether for a tough grant narrative, a new client meeting, or a tough sprint workout I can read some of my favorite quotes and get a quick pick me up and boost of confidence. One of my favorite motivational phrases that you’ll find on that board actually comes from SmartEGrants owner Jo Miller!


Short, sweet, and to the point. Targeting progress not perfection is an excellent mantra both professionally and personally. Both Jo and I have been known to type or say “#TPNP” at each other in conversation since she first introduced me to the phrase. These phrases and hobbies that each of us personally develop are important to celebrate as part of our professional motivation and how we define and succeed in our life as a grant writer. I think it is so important to share and talk about how our unique and varied lives as a grant writer are structured and motivated that I started posting images using the hashtag #lifeasagrantwriter to bring a central theme to this ongoing conversation about motivation.

What images do you have that inspire your #lifeasagrantwriter? I invite you to start sharing your images on your social networks of choice. Then you can check out everyone’s posts on the #lifeasagrantwriter tagboard here on an ongoing basis.

Smartegrants can help you advance your skills in grants. Are you interested in advancement in the grants profession? The Grant Professional Certification Institute’s GPC is the credential in the grants profession. Download your infographic to get your roadmap to the GPC.

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Diane H. Leonard, GPC is President/Owner of DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services which is focused on increasing nonprofit capacity related to grants. An approved trainer for the Grant Professionals Association, Diane loves talking about all things #grants, #1000Islands, #Running, and #Coffee!

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