5 Things That Scare the Bejeebers Out of Grant Professionals
Grant professionals are often the major breadwinners for nonprofit and public sector organizations. So it stands to reason that if they fail in any significant way, it can cause a devastating impact. This article is going to look at 5 areas of concern, and address them in a calm and sensible way that will hopefully result in a giant collective sigh of relief from anyone who has anything to do with the grant process.
Scary Thing One: Screwing Up Funding
Nonprofit organizations and the public sector are struggling not only with the administration of the grant process but that many institutions are not earning the full value of every dollar allocated to their programs. For example, in a study released in August 2008, U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that in 2006 about $1 billion in undisbursed funding remained in expired grant accounts in the largest civilian payment system for grants--the Payment Management System administered by the Department of Health and Human Services for 12 federal entities. By creating a process and implementing a system, seemingly little things like missing a grant extension deadline or not allocating the right expense item can be avoided. Getting a handle on the little things can help to ensure institutions don’t leave money on the table.
Scary Thing Two: Being Audited
Recent changes in government grant allocation rules have had major implications, in some cases shifting the onus of the auditing process on the receiving organization itself instead of on outside regulators. Grants with complex elements (ex. sub-recipients to manage, very involved grantor reporting requirements, etc.) can be vexing to even the most experienced grant professional. Since being audited ranks only slightly higher than root canal surgery in the realm of desired ways to spend time, one reasonable approach is to simply expect them and to be as proactive as possible.
Grant management software can relieve this burden by creating an organized and transparent system for the grant data relevant to the audit.
Scary Thing Three: Change, and the Possible Disruptions Caused by Adapting to It
In the dark ages before the advent of grant management software, resourceful grant professionals were forced to devise clever processes and cobble together workarounds based on the tools they had on hand.
Chances are there are several disparate systems and processes in place across your organization. There’s also probably a formidable pile of spreadsheets and binders large enough to be seen from space. The problem here is twofold. First, there’s a lack of awareness about available technology solutions that can streamline each stage of the grant process. And second, in many cases, people have invested a lot of time creating a process that works specifically for them. Naturally there’s a reluctance to try something different, especially if there’s a learning curve and a time investment involved.
Grant management software will save organizations time and frustration in the long run. The best software providers have an excellent knowledge of the challenges grant professionals face, and the workarounds they’ve created to make due. But as complexity grows, and more competition for fewer dollars develops, organizations that streamline their processes with effective software will have a distinct advantage. The time spent to create or crystallize a grant process that becomes the internal standard for the organization should be seen as an investment that will save time and effort going forward.
Scary Thing Four: Being Responsible for the Decision to Invest in Grant Management Software
OK, just go on in there and tell everyone on your team that you’re going to change the way they do their jobs. Then explain to your boss that you’ll need money to invest in this “solution” that he’s never heard of before. Sound like a plan?
It all comes down to a choice. Do you keep doing things the current way, or do you jump on the opportunity to improve? Technology isn’t going away, and early adopters will reap the benefits while others clamber to catch up. If you’re a decision maker for your organization, then you owe it to you and your colleagues to do some serious thinking about grant management software.
Do your homework.
- Look for products that are endorsed by professional organizations you trust.
- Sit in on product demos.
- Ask for specifics on how the software can address your organization’s pain points.
- Get references from their customers.
- Ask the software provider about their competitors.
- Find out about their support policy.
- Learn how often they update their products and determine how committed they are to incorporating your feature requests and suggestions in future releases.
Scary Thing Five: Not Being Needed
Smart, passionate people are always needed. Increased efficiency doesn’t always translate into lost jobs. It can mean that people are now able to do a higher volume of work. Instead of organizing mountains of spreadsheets, they can focus on finding new funding sources, manage more projects and spend more time building relationships with grantors and partners.
Bonus Scary Thing: Spiders
Even though they have nothing to do with grant management, they are awfully creepy, right?
To learn more about Grant Management Software, take a tour of AmpliFund Full Cycle today.