Grant Writing Basics: Understand the Funder before Writing

Whether you are writing an email, blog post, or lengthy proposal, you need to consider the question, “Who is my audience?” In the grants world, your audience will usually be the agency awarding funds and the people reviewing your application.

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The process of learning about a grant-making agency is closely related to evaluating mission alignment, so this next installment of the Grant Writing Basics series assumes that (1) your organization’s mission aligns with that of the grant-making agency and that (2) you are actively preparing to write a grant application.

Why Is It Important to Understand Your Audience?

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Connecting In the Discussion Forum | #GrantChat Highlights Part 5

Have you ever wanted to ask other grant applicants for help or resources? The new Discussion Forum is a place for Grants.gov users to do just that. We asked the grant professionals on #GrantChat how they think the forum could be useful to users.

connecting in the discussion forum with #grantchat

In what ways does the #grantchat community think the forum could be beneficial to federal grant applicants?

Continue reading Connecting In the Discussion Forum | #GrantChat Highlights Part 5

The Grants Community | #GrantChat Highlights Part 1

As our blog name suggests, we are all about connecting and supporting the federal grants community. On May 1st, we had a great time during the weekly #GrantChat on Twitter. In the #GrantChat Highlights 5-part series, we will recap key questions and share your contributions to the community.

Connect with the grants community on #grantchat

What is the “grants community”? What does it mean to you?

We refer to the grants community often, so it’s important to reflect on and define what we – and other members of the community – mean:

Continue reading The Grants Community | #GrantChat Highlights Part 1

Grants Management: Bringing Insight from the HHS Conference to You

Over 77,000 grants awarded to more than 11,000 recipients—a total exceeding $480 billion in FY 2017 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—is significant. As Andrea Brandon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of HHS’ Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability (OGAPA), explained at the conference, this makes HHS the largest grant-making agency in the U.S. and globally.

Grants.gov Community Blog subscribers may recall the invitation to attend OGAPA’s 2018 Grants Management Conference on January 9, 2018. While OGAPA hosted hundreds of attendees—both federal grantors and some applicants—there were many of you who could not make it to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Natcher Conference Center.

Photo of an ice-breaker activity to warm up the 2018 Grants Management Conference crowd

Today, we look back on two key themes from the conference. Over the coming weeks, we will share other updates and information about grants management and the federal grant lifecycle from the conference.

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4 (More) Key Competencies for Grant Professionals

Chief Financial Officers Council logoIn October we shared 5 Key Competencies for Aspiring Federal Grants Management Pros based on the U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council’s Financial Assistance Management Career Roadmap. Today, we are continuing with 4 more important elements to your career progression.

For all grant pros, these competencies represent important concepts and responsibilities to know and practice along your career path.

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5 Key Competencies for Aspiring Federal Grants Management Pros

A job in Financial Assistance Management might not have topped your career wish list when you first entered the job market (unfulfilled professional basketball aspirations notwithstanding). But some people who take a government job or work for a nonprofit eventually stumble into a grant manager role – and they end up loving it.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) defines federal grants management as work that “involves implementing and managing federal grants and cooperative agreements and providing grants-related assistance and services.”

Chief Financial Officers Council logoIf a grants management role sounds like it might be up your alley, the CFO Council has identified nine functional competencies that are standard performance requirements. Below, we have highlighted our five favorites (and summarized the other four).

1. Accountability

  • Ensures that effective controls are developed and maintained to assure the integrity of the organization
  • Holds self and others accountable for rules and responsibilities
  • Can be relied upon to ensure that projects within areas of specific responsibility are completed in a timely manner and within budget
  • Monitors and evaluates plans, focuses on results, and measuring attainment of outcomes

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Join Grants.gov on #GrantChat Today at Noon!

There are lots of online resources available for those new to federal grants as well as for those that are more experienced. Grants.gov Community Blog and the #grantchat community on Twitter are focused on bringing those resources to you.

Today, GrantChat.org has invited us to be a guest on their weekly #grantchat Twitter discussion. Here is a preview of today’s chat discussion topics:

Continue reading Join Grants.gov on #GrantChat Today at Noon!

What Is a Grant Manager? (Part 2) Grant Recipients

The grants lifecycle is complicated and requires an array of skills to manage. That is why grant managers are so important. In Part 1 of What Is a Grant Manager? we discussed federal grant managers, and in part 2 we will focus on the staff who manage grants received from federal agencies.

First, the job title “grant manager” is not necessarily the title everyone will have, but to keep it simple we use this term to refer to the grant professionals working to plan, write, implement, and report on federal grants.

Continue reading What Is a Grant Manager? (Part 2) Grant Recipients

What Is a Grant Manager? (Part 1) Federal Agencies

To make sure grants are awarded and implemented effectively, grant managers perform a wide range of duties. As a result, the job title “grant manager” can refer to many different job responsibilities depending on the size and type of an organization as well as the size and type of a grant.

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Before distinguishing between specific types of organizations or grants, there is a higher-level distinction to make when answering the question, “What is a grant manager?” These grant professionals, after all, can be found at both grant-making organizations and at grant recipient organizations.

Continue reading What Is a Grant Manager? (Part 1) Federal Agencies

Grant Writing Basics: Ensure Mission Alignment before Applying

The mission of a public, private, or nonprofit sector organization is the ultimate driver of their actions. To translate often lofty and theoretical missions into specific actions, organizations set goals to direct their organization’s activities toward accomplishing the mission.

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When it comes to federal grants, no one works alone. Government grants involve at least two parties—the federal awarding agency and the award recipient. So, to promote the public good and to accomplish the goal of the grant program, it is critical that the award recipient and federal agency share the same mission and goals.

Continue reading Grant Writing Basics: Ensure Mission Alignment before Applying