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Demystifying Grants Management - What is it and how to do it.

How Grant Management Can Help Your Organization

Grants are an incredible tool to have in your back pocket when you need help funding a project. They are essential for providing public service benefits, contributing to innovative research, and stimulating the economy.

Applying for, accessing, and allocating grants is a seemingly endless process with lots of minute details that can get lost in the shuffle. Because of this, it’s important to follow a stringent grant management process. Grant management refers to the organizational actions taken by grant seekers and grant makers to help simplify and organize this multiplex operation.

So, you may be asking, what does grant management encompass and what are some best practices? And how do you even get started? Don’t worry – we’ll cover all of this and more below.

What is Grant Management?

Grant management is defined as the administrative and logistical efforts that go into applying for, accessing funds from, and fulfilling the requirements of a grant. This process includes everything from initial funding to close out. For both Grantees (Grant seekers) and Grantors (Grantmakers), this process involves a lot of detail-oriented organization skills, all of which can be improved and streamlined by using helpful management methods and tools.

The organization is imperative because a grant is essentially a contract – it is an agreement between two or more parties. Therefore, you must withhold your end of the agreement by following through with all items including how you use the funds, implement various procedures, report requirements, and meet deadlines.

This is where grant management comes into play. This process helps administrators and program directors allocate grant funds to the most appropriate projects while also maintaining and documenting all necessary grant requirements. Whether you are a Grantseeker looking to streamline the application process and fund allocation or a Grantmaker hoping to improve the grant award process, all parties will benefit from efficient and effective grant management.

The Phases of Grant Management and Tips for the Process

The lifecycle of a grant consists of three separate stages: pre-award, award, and post-award. Each phase should be carefully managed for the grant process to go smoothly from start to finish. Grant management is essential to the overall success of new grant funding and can assist you with organizing information to efficiently apply for grant proposals and remain compliant.

The checklist provided below is a great way to get started with a grant proposal:

  • Gather relevant information – Collect information on spending and revenue, organization size, and volunteers for the application process

  • Seek funding opportunities – Search the grant database for eligibility requirements and new potential grant opportunities

  • Apply to relevant grants – Find grants best suited to your organization’s financial needs and ability to meet eligibility requirements

  • Execute funding – If awarded the grant, use the funding for high-priority projects being sure to adhere to any award restrictions

  • Close the proposal – Carefully and deliberately store files in a secure location for future use and ease of access

By following this regimen, you’ll simplify the grant management process and stay on track when you apply for a new program.

Next, we’ll cover each phase of the process in detail to ensure a thorough grant proposal.

1. Pre-award phase:

This phase refers to any tasks that are completed before an award recipient is chosen, including planning, collecting internal data, finding grant opportunities, and submitting applications for grants. This is the first step in grant management, and it is imperative for the organization throughout the remainder of the process as it involves collecting information and sharing it with the Grantmaker/Grantor. You don’t want to waste time in the application phase, as it only prohibits you from applying for additional grants. Once applications are in, grantmakers will evaluate the projects and choose the organizations they wish to support.

Tips for Grantseekers/Grantees: When working on your application, be sure to pay special attention to the organization’s mission as the best grant proposals effectively show how funds will be used to support the company’s purpose while also making a positive impact. Grant writing can be incredibly time-consuming. So, avoid spending too much time on one piece and missing deadlines by developing and adhering to strict timelines.

2. Award Phase:

After you’ve submitted your application, you will either receive an acceptance letter or a rejection letter. If you’ve been awarded the grant, you’ll be provided with a list of terms and agreements which you must sign and return. Once this is complete, the funds will be provided to your organization.

Tips for Grantseekers/Grantees: Be sure to communicate the terms and conditions of the grant with your greater team. Review the contract in its entirety so your organization can properly fulfil it. When the time comes for program evaluations, you’ll want to have all of this information carefully documented so you can track your progress and avoid breaching the contract.

3. Post-award Phase:

This phase includes the implementation and completion of the grant contract. Effective grant management and reporting are key, as grant-making organizations will review grants to ensure compliance. If you keep track of grant reports, best practices, and the entire grant management process, you’ll likely find the post-award phase to be a celebration of your successful collaboration.

Tips for Grantseekers/Grantees: This phase is when you get to share how you’ve made an impact with your grant funds. Gather all the information you can to make your case as to why your program was a success. The metrics you’ve been tracking throughout the grant management process will provide a visual representation of your efforts.

What Happens if a Grant is Mismanaged?

By now, you probably understand why it is important to have effective grant management for organizational purposes. Now, let’s talk about the risk that comes with losing track of grant applications, grant funds, or other important documentation.

Below are just a few of the things that can go wrong throughout the grant management process if you don’t follow the proper steps:

  • Missing targets and deadlines

  • Losing track of the timeline

  • Misusing grant funds

  • Denied future funding

  • Lawsuits

Finally, the whole point of grant management is to help you make better use of grant opportunities through efficiencies. However, it’s a lot to manage, and without processes and organization, you could find yourself in some serious trouble – both internally and externally. The best way to ensure grants are managed effectively is by implementing grant management software within your internal processes.

If you feel overwhelmed by the process, there are some tools and applications available in the market to help you manage Grants through their lifecycle. In our upcoming blog, we will be doing a deep dive into the Grant Management Solution available in Oracle Cloud. we will go further into detail about how the Grants Management Solution within Oracle Cloud will help relieve some of the post-award stress of grant funding and manage the grants all the way through to their closure.

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