The 3 Types of Grant Structures in Local Government:  Which One Are You?

Posted by Sherie Sanders on Apr 5, 2017 6:05:00 AM

chess_MkrvCI9O.jpgIn our Definitive Guide to Grant Funding, three types of grant structures in local government are identified, along with the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of each.  In order to improve the grant process, it is always wise for organizations to assess their current situations and know their strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, knowing where you fit in the three categories below will help you improve your capacity to seek and manage grants in an increasingly competitive environment.


In decentralized organizations, each department works independently from the others as they pursue their own goals. There is no grants team or staff dedicated specifically to grants.

  • Greater autonomy for individual departments
  • Each department's resources and needs are considered when pursuing or managing grants
  • May be duplication of efforts from different departments
  • Lack of or inconsistent communication between departments may lead to lack of transparency in the organization as a whole
  • Finance departments may be especially vulnerable to lack of communication regarding grant requirements such as matching funds


Centralized Reporting

In this model, the departments also work independently, but do report their grant activity to leadership and any key stakeholders.

  • Each departments still maintains basic autonomy
  • More transparency at the organizational level
  • Senior managers and finance can be more prepared when it comes time for grant administration
  • There still may be considerable duplication of effort
  • Internal reporting may increase the paperwork burden on employees
  • Logistical challenges if different departments do not use the same processes, systems and templates


Centralized Office

Centralized offices have dedicated grant staff or teams that work with departments to consider the impact the grant will have on the entire organization.

  • Eliminates duplication of effort among departments which reduces costs and frees up their time for other functions
  • Standardized reporting
  • Leadership has a single point of contact
  • One place for training and support
  • Department needs can take a backseat if not communicated well
  • Some employees and/or departments may resist institutional knowledge sharing
  • Grant team members must have successful working relationship with departments in order not to be viewed as superfluous


Which One Is Best

Although there are pros and cons to each one, research findings highlighted in the Definitive Guide to Grant Funding identify the last as the most efficient in terms of efficiency, transparency, and accountability. If you have not yet downloaded it, click below to learn more about the advantages of having a centralized grant office.

Building a Grant Funding Strategy for Cities and Counties



Without a clear grant policy, activities are assigned to who is available rather than who is appropriate. James Ha

Topics: Grants Management Best Practices

Building a Grant Funding Strategy for Cities and Counties


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