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The New Normal: Modernize and Standardize Your Grants System

by James Ha on July 18, 2018
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anne-arundel-county-marylandState and local governments are modernizing their grants management systems to maximize grant revenues, reduce costs and decrease administrative burden on staff. Anne Arundel County, Maryland recently implemented its own modern grants management system to standardize its processes and better leverage grant funds to help serve residents.

Why Modernize?

Anne Arundel County’s departments and offices handle $47.8 million in operating and capital grants from federal, state, local and private sources. County employees handle grants management along with their other job duties. By modernizing and standardizing the grants process throughout county government, Anne Arundel is improving grant performance and improving the use of tax dollars to better serve the needs of its residents.

The early benefits from modernization are good. By simply upgrading its grants management system, Anne Arundel County expects to save more than $375,000 annually. Within weeks of starting implementation, the County was able to streamline its processes leading to a 57% reduction in forms and elimination of shadow systems. The County recently completed its implementation on time and on budget. Read the full comments from Anne Arundel County Executive, Steve Schuh. Read the article from Eye On Annapolis.

Why Standardize?

Anne Arundel County Grant Officer, Sandy Smolnicky, shares her thoughts on why the County selected a SaaS grants management system and the anticipated outcomes. 

eCivis: "Why did you investment in a SaaS solution versus a custom solution?"

Sandy Smolnicky"eCivis had all of the features that we needed, "out of the box", making it faster to implement with much lower risk than custom development. After performing some analysis of grants management systems on the market, we found a system that addressed executive management objectives (improved transparency, and efficient oversight of grants and alignment with best practices) while being able to facilitate the identification of grant opportunities, streamline the application process, manage awarded grant funds, and provide flexible custom reporting. The support with training-on-demand was identified as a critical component to our ongoing success."

eCivis: "What are the outcomes you expect from implementing a full-lifecycle grants management system?"

Sandy Smolnicky"Anne Arundel County has already experienced a fortification of our internal communication pathways and consensus on a singular grants management process. Immediate clarity occurred as we streamlined multiple isolated grants management systems into one county-wide system. We anticipate increased transparency with regard to how grants are used and managed. Moving forward, we will experience increased collaboration among departments on grants which will lead to an alignment of grant seeking with executive vision and priorities. Grant seekers will comply with internal controls while at the same time reduce time consuming cumbersome paper grant routing for approvals and gain time to manage their programs. The research tool will assist with the expansion of our portfolio of grants and help staff fill in funding gaps. By making training in best practices, and stages of the grant life cycle, accessible and practical, we will professionalize our staff. Once professionalized, our grants management tasks will be in alignment with best practices and elevate - the often hidden - importance of grant impact on the quality of life for Anne Arundel County residents."

Cloud First + Standardization

A growing trend in state and local government IT modernization is consolidating grant management systems to drive standardization and improved collaboration throughout the government enterprise. The move to SaaS grants management systems is rapidly being adopted by state and local governments because of its value, ease of implementation, ability to compliment financial systems and low risk. Here are the innovative state and local governments that have made early investments in SaaS grants management software and their demonstrated results.

  • Detroit, MI – 88% reduction in audit findings, zero questioned costs and over $202 million in grants and donations. Learn how.
  • State of Arizona - $500K in reduced administrative costs annually. 24% increase in Federal grant revenues. Learn how.
  • Denver, CO – Improved compliance to Fiscal Accountability Rule (FAR) 9.1 to 90%. Learn how.

Anne Arundel County is in good company. State, local and tribal governments across the country have recently made the decision to modernize their grants management process with a focus on standardization.


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Topics: Grant Articles & News, Grants Management Articles