A well-designed structure and mature grants processes will allow you to reduce administrative burden, effectively maximize grant funding, and effectively pursue new grant funding for current and future projects. After more 3,600 grant management system implementation, we have found that there are three general types of grant management structures. Here they are.
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
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 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
To learn how to implement a comprehensive grants management strategy adopted by thousands of government agencies - with all three structures represented - download our guide.
"Without a clear grant policy, activities are assigned to who is available rather than who is appropriate.
-James Ha, CGMS, CEO
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