TRUST, RESPECT, ETHICS, GROWTH
I was recently working with a client who had an opportunity to apply for a million-dollar grant for capital projects. As many of you know, those are hard to come by, so you can imagine the list of projects that came to mind when senior leadership met to discuss what to apply for. As someone who believes strongly in a strategic plan, I directed the agency to review theirs; however, two particular capital improvement projects were equally important to the agency and they asked me, “Which project are we more likely to get other funding for?”
GREAT QUESTION! I love it when I have clients like this. This is my role. With our many disciplines as grant consultants, we are responsible for knowing funding trends, federal, state, and foundation opportunities, and where to find out what our clients need to know. When I did more research I found varying degrees of resources for both capital improvement projects and outlined the pros and cons of both, including return on investment considerations. This way, my client was able to make an informed decision in a strategic way based on facts instead of emotion or who in leadership positions might be speaking louder.
The next call was when I decided the next decision could not be mine. The COO called and explained that she had received additional information about one of their two projects, so she posed a question to me, on speakerphone, with her management staff listening in: “Which way should we go, Cyndi?”
I paused. Despite my urge to answer, I again explained the pros and cons of both and let them know that it would be unethical of me to choose one over the other as only they could decide which one would be their priority as an agency and make their decision based on their strategic plans. Certainly I could have justified one project over the other and in the end, in my opinion, they chose the most appropriate project to apply for, but it was their decision to make—not mine. It was mine to support them and from that moment on, we’ve been a team preparing a proposal that they are 100% committed to.
As consultants, and even as full-time staff in grant departments, we sometimes become invested in projects and certainly find ourselves in situations like this over and over again. For those of us who are GPCs, we are held to the highest professional and ethical standards which include values such as “choice,” “respect,” “conscience,” and “freedom”. In the spirit of the New Year and resolutions, I am reminded of these values I intend to uphold.
An article by Cyndi similar to the one above was published in the GPA Grant News on 1/19/16.