HHS Conference Affords Glimpse Into ‘Reinvention’ of Federal Grants Management

As federal agencies continue their move towards a more data-centric approach to grants management, areas like grantee risk assessment and performance evaluation are positioned to reap the early benefits of the ongoing data revolution in government.

On June 6, attendees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grants Management Conference in Shady Grove, MD were given glimpses of how data can be leveraged to help achieve mission objectives more effectively and efficiently.

Imagine creating efficiencies and reducing administrative burden by 1% annually and utilizing those funds for mission objectives.At HHS, improving efficiency by even a single percentage point can mean billions of dollars saved, said Michael Peckham, who heads up the Reinvent Grants Management initiative at HHS.

In fiscal year 2018, for example, about 67% of all federal grants came from HHS, totaling about $509 billion. Peckham, citing a study by the Federal Demonstration Partnership, said that an estimated 44% of awarded grant funds are spent on grantor and grantee overhead.

“Imagine creating efficiencies and reducing administrative burden by 1% annually” and utilizing those funds for mission objectives, he said.

In fact, a range of data-related reforms are already being rolled out and tested within HHS. These efforts are laying the foundation for the more efficient and effective use of federal grant funds in the coming years.

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Shared Services: Using Grants.gov Web Services With Other Grant Systems

If you have spent a year or more in the federal grants world – whether as an applicant or as a federal employee – you may have noted the wide range of federal grant systems that are used across the government.

It is lesser known among grant pros that Grants.gov has created a range of web services – often called application programming interfaces (or APIs) outside the grant world – that system administrators can use to link their grant systems to Grants.gov.

S2S Illustration

An example of this from everyday life is a blogging platform that gives users the option to publish a blog post via a third-party email client (by sending an email to a specific address).

Similarly, Grants.gov can integrate with other grant systems to streamline workflows for both applicants and grantors. Grants.gov refers to this type of integration as System-to-System (S2S).

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New System Enhancements for Users at Grant-Making Agencies

Recent updates to the Grants.gov system have brought welcome new features for users at federal grant-making agencies. These enhancements are discussed in detail in the online user guide. Below, we provide an overview of the changes, along with links to help resources.

New: Login with your PIV card

Grantors can now link a PIV or CAC card to their Grants.gov account. Doing so will give users the option of accessing their account with either the PIV/CAC card or their username and password.

Help Article | Video

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User Story Collection: How the Federal Grants Community Uses Grants.gov

The characters in our User Story blog series don’t have super-powers. But, the wide-ranging ways they use the Grants.gov system reflect time-saving and efficiency-building methods that real-world users can employ.

Grants.gov User Story Series

Here, we collect the user story narratives we have published so far in 2018.

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Grantor User Story: Retrieving Submissions & Assigning Agency Tracking Numbers

The application deadline for Trish’s grant program has come and gone, so now she is ready to get those applications into the application review process. Trish would also like to add agency tracking numbers to give her applicants the opportunity to see the status of their application. (If you missed previous installments of Trish’s story, click here and here)

Trish user story: I need to retrieve all opportunity submissions and assign tracking numbers to each.

Retrieving the Submissions

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User Story: Federal Program Manager Prepares for the Closing Date

The clock is ticking down for Trish, a program manager at the Department of Health and Human Services, and for the organizations who are preparing to submit grant applications.

You may recall, in Part 1, we explained the process that Trish took to publish a new grant opportunity on Grants.gov. Since then, she has been focused on preparing for the peer review panels and other responsibilities. But now it is time to begin preparing for the posted grant’s closing date.

Trish - Federal grant manager - As the close date approaches, I need to be able to prepare for the review process and help my applicants.

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Pop Quiz: Do You Really Know What a Grant Is?

Thousands of you have read the What Is a Grant? blog series, but did you retain the information? We hope to make all the teachers out there proud with a friendly pop-quiz.

Instructions: Click the response you think is correct. Every response provides feedback. You may use the blog search for hints.

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Top 5 Blog Posts Halfway through 2018

As 2018 continues to zip by, let’s take a look back at the top 5 most read posts published this year on the Grants.gov Community Blog.

#5 – Video: Can I Get a Federal Grant for My Small Business?

“The promise of “free money” to launch or grow a business is alluring. But, is there any truth to the idea?” – February 21, 2018

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Federal Program Manager – The Beginning of Trish’s Grantor Story

Trish: As a federal program manager, I need to publish a grant forecast and Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the public to apply for.

Before anyone can apply for this HHS grant, Trish needs to coordinate the design and posting of the FOA. To allow prospective applicants more time to plan, Trish would also like to publish a grant forecast.

Continue reading Federal Program Manager – The Beginning of Trish’s Grantor Story