Over the years of my grant management career, I have found the following to be most useful to do my job the best possible. Hope these prove to be 3 tips you can take back to your office and/or share with those you know involved in Grants Management.
1. Anything and Everything you need to do or others need to do for effective grants management…Put it on a calendar.
In grants management, there are multiple deadlines. Those deadlines which are externally created AND those of which you should create yourself in order to keep yourself and others focused and on-task for completing the many duties you and others have to effectively manage grants.
If you do NOT have a calendar of some sort, you more than likely will be disorganized, miss deadlines, be rushing and in turn create stress for yourself and others, make errors, and you might stand a chance of ruining your reputation as a reliable grants manager.
I personally recommend Google Calendar as opposed to paper calendars or other types of electronic calendars. You can easily share the calendar(s) you create with others and if you use Gmail, of course, it integrates EVERY well with it to make your life as a grants manager so much easier and cleaner.
Look at your calendar every day and use it as a strategic planning tool for understanding what it is you should be focusing on due to many time-constraints. You want to be in the know of upcoming deadlines and plan your work accordingly.
Multiple articles could be written about strategic planning for grant management professionals, so I’ll leave it at this for now… Look at your calendar and plan accordingly.
2. Create structure and deadlines for all involved in effective grants management.
In grants management, you will often have to work with many stakeholders to achieve multiple objectives. DO NOT just sit back and think everyone knows what they should be doing, what they need to do, or when they need to do it. Of course, that statement depends on a lot of factors, but ultimately as the grants manager, things fall onto YOU to manage grants. Thus, you want to be CLEAR AND CONCISE about what everyone should be doing and by when.
This might include verbal communication as necessary, but one thing I’ve found over the years is that people forget if you stick only to verbal communication for grants management. Therefore, write an email noting a list of things for each person to do (if there are more than one) and when they need to be done by. Give specific deadlines. If they miss a deadline or are nearing a deadline but you haven’t heard anything from them, FOLLOW-UP.
All of this creates structure and clear communication for all stakeholders involved in the grant management process.
3. When someone asks a question about grant policy and guidelines, PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND RESEARCH. It’s also helpful to send a follow-up email with a link and/or picture of the direct source of where you found the information.
Grant managers WILL get many questions from multiple people regarding grant policies and guidelines. It’s important to always do a double-check of the answer before providing it to others.
This is because in the grants management world…. things can change. You may THINK you know the exact policy and guidelines word for word and you’re a top grant manager in your field so why look, but don’t make this mistake. RESEARCH.FIND the exact policy and guideline and send this to the person who asked you a policy and/or guideline question.
You show that you know what you’re doing, you aren’t just making things up all on your own, and it can be used as a great means to teach others. It’s important in grant management to always stay on top of the newest policies and guidelines and it’s important as well to ensure that others know that you do your job by the books.
Grants Management is a very policy and guideline-driven career. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything without doing your homework first.