A place to share publicly releasable guidelines, policies, ideas, etc. regarding Grants Management.
G&A Professional Development
April 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm #70868
In my agency, we are looking at the type of training for both the specialist and the person on the ground with the grant or agreement that is needed to have the highest possible outcome. I would like to know what other folks feel, training wise, makes a qualified grants specialist and what types of training would best benefit the person who is actually performing the grant.
April 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm #70884
Management Concepts has a program that has been recommended to me.
April 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm #70882
I’m aware of them and I’ve used them. I wish they would allow a little more time for their certficate program. Most agencies do not have the funding to sponsor an employee for the cost of the certificate within a three year time frame. And they don’t deal with specific agency requirements though that course would probably be impossible to construct. But I am wondering if grants administration would actually become a full-fledge college emphasis field and that we will see grants administrators of the future with degrees directed towards grants policy.
April 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm #70880
Does your organization have an affiliation with colleges similar to DOD? They have sponsored claases in the past.
April 27, 2009 at 5:39 pm #70878
What kind of project are you doing with the grant?
April 27, 2009 at 6:37 pm #70876
You name it, the Forest Service does it, just about. Most of the grants are ecosytem related. The money can flow either way depending on the project. G&A Specialist are responsible for the paperwork but not for the project itself. While Management Concept works well for the Specialist, they don’t work for most project managers. And we have a whole level of specialists where the MC courses don’t work for them either as those agreements are extremenly specialized within FS authorities and exist outside of grants.gov. I’m actually looking for suggestions for the project faciliator to take that would help them better understand their role – similar to a Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative. Though, in the FS, the project manager has all the power and the G&A Specialist does not.
August 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm #70874
Cheryl A. FrancisParticipant
Emmanuel College has a Master’s level program for Sponsored Research Administration. Many of the faculty members are individuals who work in the field of grant administration for higher education, hospitals and governmental agencies.
November 24, 2009 at 10:30 pm #70872
David G. CassidyParticipant
The National Grants Management Association has started a Certified Grants Management Specialist (CGMS) accreditation, with an associated Grants Management Body of Knowledge. Might be worth a look!
November 30, 2009 at 7:35 pm #70870
Sounds like you have received some good ideas. You’ve asked a big question with several important facets.
Here are some of my suggestions based on experience as a Trainer, Grantee, Grant Maker, Grant Writer, Grant Manager, Grant Evaluator, etc. and having served on an Expert Panel at HHS on Training and TA.
My comments are primarily targeting federal grant-making, although some of my comments would apply to foundations and state and local government.
1. The Grant
The framework around grant-making needs to be a complete system, each part reflective of the whole. For example, if you want a grant program which focuses on collaboration to address community issues, then the grant needs to be written with that goal in mind. It needs to walk, talk and act like a duck.
Make sure there is congruence, in the written RFP, regarding the evaluation and training expectations. Most times evaluation focuses on quantitative data, which is good to know, but the bigger story is missing. This is a big mistake, we miss a lot of critical data and context of results, large and small.
Get together with other grant managers and find the best practices across agencies and use them to organize a better system. Think bigger about sustainability after funding, have a mind-set of spending the dollar once. Is it a punch in a down pillow and shows effect as long as there is a fist in the pillow? Is it likely that the pillow will puff back up after the funding is over? What new ideas might make the grant design and system more effective and useful? Is anyone else doing something similar (this is likely).
I like training and capacity building at every stage of the grant making process, everyone, even those who are not granted, are left better off for having responded to the RFP. Use the RFP as a tool, as well as a grant framework. Be available to grant seekers with information to help them write a better grant.
Most of the training and TA initiatives, attached to a grant program, follow a very typical pattern. Grantees organize a community team, come to a training event for several days, everyone gets fired up and excited and the expectation is they will bring it back to their community and share it.
Great idea, rarely happens, when they return to their communities. Depending on who is on the team, many members do not have the leadership or decision making authority in their own organizations to change policy or time in their job to do any kind of real training.
I wouldn’t call it training either. Much of the time it is sharing information on relevant subjects, with a variety of speakers and workshops. I have rarely seen a team get actual training, acquiring new skills and practice.
Usually, these events are “evaluated” as the event is closing or after each session. These results might tell you how lunch was or if the room was too hot or cold, rarely anything of real value. We found that post and posting again might give you some insight into what actually happened after the teams went home.
At every step of the way, I ask, “is this truly skill building or is it education (which is fine, just name it right), is this Capacity Building?”
I’d like to see grant specialists have the opportunity to be more involved with their grantees, to supply information, expertise, doing everything possible to make sure the grantee is successful, every step of the way. That is job one.
As a grantee, either Principal Investigator or Team Member or Staff Member, each of these people may or may not have any “power” in their own organization to change much. Do they have the authority to coordinate their effort with any other similar effort in the community really?
Can they use new technology to develop systems and policy in their own communities? How are they able to capitalize on the other grantees in the grant program across the country? Different communities may find they need different training and education, at different times, depending on the project and the community.
I could go on and on. You have probably already thought of this. I am interested in making grant-making and grantees highly effective. Grantees usually do not have all the information, education and skills needed to implement the grant without real support.
I believe in intermediary organizational support if possible.
I’d like to see grants developed and managed over a continuum – from the idea to the implementation. Evaluation is a constant activity and all planning would benefit if it was done with results in mind.
I’d love to look at the grant making system, look at what has really worked to meet expectations over time and what hasn’t. I also want to wrap social media around each grant program. It would make a huge difference in all ways.
One last thought, I would get rid of redundancy of grant programs in the system, across agencies, look to coordinate more and leverage our resources and stop funding the same thing over and over again.
I could go on, just thought I’d add these thoughts to the discussion.
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