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Grants: Who’s in Charge

Supervising any high-level staff member is a balancing act. Star performers need leeway, appropriate decision-making authority, and a degree of flexibility about when and how they work. Hold the reins too tight and you’ll stifle them. But if you hold the reins too loose, you can lose control of the organizational functions they handle.

Grants Specialist or Martyr-in-Residence?

Is your organization’s grants specialist constantly frazzled, working nights and weekends and juggling a schedule bulging with proposal deadlines, program development meetings, and report due dates? Do other staff members tip-toe around the specialist’s desk, forgiving occasional expletives, ignoring the candy wrappers and dirty coffee cups, and excusing missed calls and meetings. If so, that’s a big red flag.

Strong Proposals Have Strong Connections

A successful grant proposal sorts the details and moving parts of a complex plan into a precise description of how things will work. It’s somewhat like writing a brief explanation of how a Rube Goldberg machine works! Each piece of the plan must be distinctly articulated and the connections between pieces must be clear.”

Outcomes for Prevention Programs

Grants are social investments that are intended to produce positive change. Defining intended change is easier for some types of programs than others. If you’re working to improve the health of diabetics, the proposed outcome may be a specific degree of decrease in blood sugar levels of participants. But grantseekers often get confused when developing outcomes for programs that are intended to stop something from happening in the first place.

Government Grants—Tame the Red Tape

Before you can manage government grants successfully, you’ve got to untangle a snarl of red tape.