Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government spent nearly $971 billion in grants outlays in FY 2020 (up from $764 billion in FY 2019) in order to provide public services and stimulate the economy. The US government obligations for FY 2021 have already reached $1.27 trillion as of August 2021. With the increased emphasis on enhanced transparency and effective fiscal stewardship over the past few years, significant focus on grants management has been achieved via regulatory updates, new laws, and other grants management modernization efforts.
As a result, resources committed to grant programs are required to manage increased administrative tasks, in addition to meeting the grant mission. Per the 2020 Annual Grants Management Survey conducted by the National Grants Management Association, respondents indicated that nearly 30% of their time was spent in monitoring financial administrative requirements, while only 6% of their time was spent evaluating overall grant program outcomes and impact. Additionally, in a January 2020 Government Business Council report, nearly 33% of respondents indicated that lack of skilled personnel, followed by 26% citing outdated technology, as the biggest challenges impeding their organization’s ability to successfully administer grants. These survey results continue to highlight key areas where both grantors and grantees can benefit from additional oversight and mitigation actions.
We would like to draw attention to two potential solutions that may help an organization mitigate some of the above identified issues:
Changes of this significance can be overwhelming to implement. A key is to start with quick wins and achievable tasks, such as:
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This article is featured in the AGA October 2021 - The Washington Connection.
Special thanks to Vasanth Ganesan for contributing to this article.