With 2017 in the rearview mirror, let’s pause to look back on what was a significant year for federal grants. With important developments and growth in the grants community in 2017, this post takes note of key points worth remembering and helpful resources, not just from us, from some of you in the grants community.
#1 – Get Your (DATA) Act Together
This would not be a real grants ‘year in review’ for 2017 without starting with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act). Coordinating across all federal award-making agencies and the diverse applicant communities to standardize and improve the quality and transparency of federal financial data? That’s big.
If you are completely unfamiliar with the DATA Act, welcome to the party—start with this basic update. You should also do a web search for trainings and updates about the DATA Act to hear from a variety of stakeholders on what it means for the grant community.
To get you thinking about possibilities in the future, HHS’ Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Grants and Acquisitions Policy and Accountability (OGAPA), Andrea Brandon, posed this question at the DATA Transparency conference in September this year, “Do we need [nonfederal entities] to actually complete an SF-424 or do we just need structured data sets that come through a particular portal?”
#2 – Not Taken for Granted
Over $700 billion in grants and cooperative agreements were awarded in FY 2017. The DATA Act gets another nod here, which led to the new beta USAspending.gov to improve the quality and transparency of federal spending data. If you are interested in more spending data, check out the USAspending.gov Agency Profiles and Spending Map.
As a note, that number does include Medicare and Medicaid funding in the form of formula grants, but there were thousands of discretionary funding opportunities posted on Grants.gov for which many of you applied for—and it is a competitive process.
Of course, we need to mention at least one grant-writing tip here—do not eliminate yourself from the competition by not checking that you have followed all the basic requirements.
#3 – Grants Community Growth with More Events and Training Resources
Anecdotally, 2017 certainly seemed like one of the most prolific with regard to grant events and training resources available to the community. If anyone out there would like to investigate this by the numbers, let us know what you find.
#GrantChat – Talk with fellow grant professionals on a range of topics relevant to your work. This is a great way to hear tips, share resources, and get to know your professional peers online.
Resources By You, For You – Here’s a sampling of grant resources for you to review: eCivis blog, Grant Professionals Association Resource Center, Grant Training Center, Grant Writer’s Blog, GrantSpace by Foundation Center, GrantStation Insights blog, Learn Peak Grantmaking, Management Concepts Applying for Federal Grants & Cooperative Agreements, National Grants Management Association Annual Grants Training, NIH Regional Seminar & Extramural Nexus blog, SmartGrants Blog, the bmtconsulting blog, The Grant Plant Resources, Thompson Grants Federal Grants Forum, or check out our Where to Find Free Online Resources for Federal Grant Applicants Part 1 and Part 2 for more.
#4 – Did the 2017 Grants.gov Plan Happen?
Last January, we shared high-level plans for 2017, and we are happy to say that we were able to stick to these plans. Admittedly, #1 and #3 from last year’s plan go hand-in-hand, but here’s a link to Grants.gov Workspace resources just in case you haven’t read about it yet.
We are proud to have received awards confirming the direction of the program. FedHealthIT 100 awarded John Enggren, the Grants.gov Program Manager, for developing Workspace and his efforts of “driving change and advancement in the Federal Health Information Technology and Consulting Market.” In June 2017, Enggren and the program also received recognition at the 2017 AFFIRM Leadership Awards Celebration for Workspace.
Now that we have looked back on 2017, be among the first to read about Grants.gov’s plans for 2018 by subscribing to the Grants.gov Community Blog.