Useful Skills for Grantmakers

Publication date: 
June, 2012

There isn't one single college major or job experience that will fully prepare you for a career in grantmaking. However, there are numerous skills that will leave you better prepared to enter this field and be successful:

  • Expertise in a given programmatic area
  • Nonprofit experience
  • Good listening abilities
  • Good oral communication skills
  • Proven excellence in writing
  • Comfort with a behind-the-scenes role
  • Volunteer experience

In a corporate environment, the following additional skill areas may be useful:

  • Public Relations
  • Government Affairs
  • Community Relations

Straight From the Source:

We asked Human Resource professionals at our member foundations what qualifications are most important when they hire program staff. A few rose to the top of their list:

  • A good education; for specialized positions, a post-graduate degree
  • Strong writing skills
  • Additional evidence of engagement in the field though publications and presentations
  • Grantmaking experience
  • Organizational management skills
  • "Strong writing skills" were mentioned multiple times as not only one of the most important assets a candidate can bring to their foundation, but as an overall strength for job candidates seeking positions in any field.

Source: Philanthropy New York’s Grantmaking As A Career? Guide

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