The impacts of COVID-19 across city, county, and all local governments are not diminishing anytime soon. By now, these workforces are adapting to the ins and outs of teleworking and virtual town halls, figuring out how to prepare for the latest in federal funding packages, all while trying to maintain the business of government for the communities they serve.
The last thing governments need is grants approvals slowing down due to paper processes or hold ups for “wet” signatures. That’s why, especially in the midst of this pandemic, we’ve seen many governments pushing to take, not only their workforces, but also their grants processes to completely virtual environments.
In short, now is not the time for government services to come to a standstill. Here are three processes your agency or department needs to update through virtualization and automation to make sure you’re getting the funding you need to deliver the important missions you do. You can read more on this and how automation can help you maximize grants here:1. Tracking Grant Funding
Scouring grants.gov; reviewing whether a federal award fits your needs and whether your agency or department fits their criteria; and reading the fine print for a single Notice of Funding Opportunity can take hours.
Replacing this tedious, manual process with a cloud-based search engine can give you instant access to all available federal, state, and private-foundation grants for all public entities. Imagine the right grants being delivered straight to your inbox instead of having to spend hours looking for them. Additionally, automating the process with search engine tools can help you tag COVID-19 related grants, law enforcement, public safety, or other relevant grant funding for your sector or specific needs.
2. Creating Budget Plans
Managing budgets and cost data in disparate spreadsheets and trying to manually calculate your costs wastes time and hinders efficiency. Furthermore, it can be especially difficult using these older spreadsheet models to set accurate rates and realize full funding for services rendered. This is because these older models are more prone to formulaic error.
Automation and virtualization allow you to import all your cost data and Excel spreadsheets into one place. Teleworking doesn’t have to be an issue when you can edit and review data from one centralized workspace while enabling everyone to simultaneously collaborate in real time. With built-in error checks (think of Microsoft Word spelling and grammar check) you can also ensure utmost accuracy. Lastly, budgeting and cost allocation in the cloud allow you to run scenarios and calculate costs on demand so you can have defensible and print-ready cost allocation plans.3. Checking for Compliance
With more administrative and compliance requirements for COVID-19 grant funding, preparing for closeout and the Inspector General can be more stressful than ever before. Not only do you have to ensure all the paperwork is in order and all the boxes checked but failure to fully document everything in your reports can result in audit findings–and more costs for your agency down the road.
By moving grants processes to the cloud, you ensure compliance is built in from the get-go. That means being able to update grants and reporting in real time while signing important documents virtually rather than running around trying to find the right person to sign paper documents.
Taking Local Governments to the Cloud
While the federal government has been ahead of the curve in terms of teleworking and employing remote technologies, the impact of COVID-19 on local governments varies to a large degree. It’s clear that some cities and counties are more prepared than others. This article from GovTech has some great insights on assessing whether your agency or department is ready to optimize the business of government in virtual environments.
With stay at home orders well underway, you need to continually assess your network and technologies' ability to support your agency's work. First, conduct a network assessment for your agency to make sure your network can handle video conferencing and teleworking. Enabling seamless communication and collaboration will be vital to ensuring processes, especially managing grant funding, go smoothly. Secondly, take inventory of your technology stack to ensure you have the right equipment– from laptops to phones to VPNs, email, and more.
Ultimately, COVID-19 has changed the way the world does business for an undetermined amount of time. Local governments cannot depend on traditional processes if they hope to optimize incoming grant funding. By taking your grants management to the cloud, you can adapt processes, maximize efficiency, and ensure citizen service delivery goes uninterrupted.
Ready to automate your grants management and cost allocation?
Reach out to one of our grants management experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.