ChristopherReyes's blog

Outcomes for Prevention Programs

Grants are social investments that are intended to produce positive change. Defining intended change is easier for some types of programs than others. If you’re working to improve the health of diabetics, the proposed outcome may be a specific degree of decrease in blood sugar levels of participants. But grantseekers often get confused when developing outcomes for programs that are intended to stop something from happening in the first place.

Who Will Do It?

The ubiquitous use of “we will” in grant proposals paves the way for grant-management nightmares. When the grant proposal does not assign tasks to specific positions, those tasks usually fall by the wayside when the intense work of program start-up gets underway. Here are a few examples of important tasks that often end up unassigned.

The 4 Cs of Grant Management

To manage grant awards effectively, you’ve got to know the rules. With private funders, the regulations and requirements can usually be adequately handled through good business and accounting practices.

But it’s different with government grants, especially federal grants. Uniform Guidance issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), along with agency-specific and program-specific requirements, demand that someone within your organization develop an understanding of the rules and regulations.

Good Work Requires Strong Infrastructure

Almost every nonprofit wants grant funding. And why not? Grants are a great resource for powering your organization’s work forward, but the infrastructure to support grant acquisition and management is commonly neglected. Large nonprofits, hospitals, and educational institutions typically invest in infrastructure to support the grants process, but in small and mid-sized nonprofits, grants work is commonly catch-as-catch-can, with various staff members taking on roles that can be matched with their skills and squeezed into their workload.

Program Start-Up Demands

When you win a major grant award, a tsunami of demands roars in with the money and all too often your buoyant “we won” high sinks beneath the stress. Project start-up is tough, and careful management is critical. The first step in avoiding mistakes is to fully grasp the importance of this stage in the life of the grant. Experienced administrators know start-up is a make-it or break-it time. Here are a few tips for a full-throttle blast off to a successful grant-funded program.

What's (New)ish with Grants

The field of grant development is dynamic. The basic elements of a strong proposal don’t change, but the environment in which funding decisions are made is in constant flux. The trends below remain current. Although not new, they point towards grantseeking realities we’ll be contending with over the coming year.

No Space for Letters of Commitment?

The grant application guidelines allow 15 pages of attachments, with ten consumed by required documents (IRS determination letter, board list, etc.). You’ve got 15 letters of commitment from diverse community groups pledging resources, volunteers, facilities, transportation, and other significant benefits. It’s a conundrum! The letters are powerful. Which do you use? Which do you leave out?

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