Tree Foundation of Kern

Grant Administrator

To obtain funding for urban forestry projects, award funding to applicants and report back to a grantor how the money was spent and what the results are.

For those with an eye for detail and a love of paperwork and organization, grant administration can be a rewarding career.

Grant administrators can be found within small, private organizations or large federal agencies working to select projects to receive funding and maintaining accurate records of how the money is being spent and the benefits gained from the grant.

Writing skills, a head for numbers and the ability to meet deadlines are a must in this busy career.

"To be a grant administrator, you need to be a good writer and know how to prepare documents and reports that are visually impressive," said Felix Posos who worked as a grant administrator for California ReLeaf. "It helps to get involved at the grass roots level to see how urban forestry grant money gets spent so that you can get good at donating it."

Administering grants demands focus, discipline and the ability to work well alone. Site visits to charitable organizations give the grant administrator a chance to see first-hand the benefits he has helped to create through his job. "If you don't have this personal involvement, you lose sight of your purpose," Posos said. "The work becomes a job, just number crunching without compassion."

"In reporting back to the grantors, you need to be resourceful and creative and find alternatives and solutions to get the job done," Posos said. "You need to focus on what the funding is doing for people and be able to communicate that. You need to justify everything. The details can become tedious, but it's part of the job."

Nancy Lollar works as a grants manager for the U.S. Forest Service overseeing more than 50 funded projects each year with a $2 million annual budget.

Lollar, who began her career as a secretary with the Forest Service, now coordinates a team of six program managers who select projects and decide on the level of funding for each grant given. Lollar reviews each grant application making sure they follow outlined procedures and meet all federal requirements.

Once grants are received, organizations are required to provide regular reports that detail how the funding is being spent. Lollar provides support and technical assistance to organizations, helping them through the reporting process and making sure all the legal requirements are met. "You need to be well organized and like reading through tedious rules and regulations to do this kind of work," Lollar said.

Requires: Computer skills and grasp of numbers, and good communication skills

Salary: Non-profits typically start at $25,000 and top out at $35,000 Government agencies pay more with benefits.