International Grant Professionals Week - March 16-20, 2015

Herndon, VA.  March 12, 2015: Altum has partnered with the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) to announce the establishment of International Grant Professionals Week March 16-20, 2015. Grant Professionals Week recognizes and celebrates the work of grant professionals, who serve as administrators, consultants, managers, grant-makers and writers.

Every day, grant professionals work diligently, usually behind the scenes, to seek grant opportunities, administer projects and implement important programs for the benefit of society’s disadvantaged and underserved people. These talented professionals are dedicated to providing the highest standard of ethics, quality program development, thoughtful project implementation and wise financial stewardship. Often, those standards extend beyond the mere financial and include capacity support, long term solutions to challenges, fundraising assistance, expert project management, sustainable programming and so much more.

Grant professionals do much more than write grants – we are community leaders! We are managers, administrators, consultants, grant-makers, and we write grant proposals!” stated Debbie DiVirgilio, President of GPA.

Monday through Friday of Grant Professionals Week will address different aspects of the grant profession.

  • Monday, March 16th – Grant Profession Education & Awareness Day
  • Tuesday, March 17th – GPA Chapter and Community Event Day
  • Wednesday, March 18th – International Event Day
  • Thursday, March 19th – Thank you! Grant Entrepreneurs, Partners and Volunteer Day
  • Friday, March 20th – Grant Professionals Appreciation Day

IGPWeekLogo

Grant Professionals Week is an important part of the month of March 2015. The Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI) has launched a campaign to bring awareness to the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) credential. March 1, 2015 will launch the “31 Days of GPC”, showcasing a daily video of a GPC explaining the importance of the credential and how it has benefitted his/her career. In where there is no recognized academic degree, certification is the only authoritative, independent measure available by which to determine a person’s experience, skill and knowledge base.

“International Grant Professionals Week is a terrific complement to GPCI’s “31 Days of GPC” event. We are proud to be a part of recognizing the grant professionals whose experience, qualifications and skills are paramount to sustainable programming at non-profits word-wide,” declared Amanda Day, President of GPCI.

For more information about GPCI, the GPC credential and the 31 Days of GPC, please visit the GPCI website at www.grantcredential.org.

GPA is a professional organization that builds and supports a community of grant professionals committed to serving the greater public good. We have partnered in this effort with GPCI, the grant profession’s organization that is dedicated to promoting competency and ethical practices within the field of grantsmanship, and the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF), the fundraising partner ensuring the resources are available to train, credential and advocate for all grant professionals.

For more information, visit the International Grant Professionals Week web page at: www.grantprofessionals.org/grantprofessionalsweek.

Contact for more information about IGPW:

Kelli Romero, Membership Director
Grant Professionals Association
[email protected]
(913) 788-3000

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About Altum

Altum offers industry-leading grants management, performance management solutions, and strategic communications. Since 1997, Altum has provided innovative software products and services to philanthropic and government organizations. Altum’s products include proposalCENTRAL®, an online grantmaking website shared by many government, nonprofit, and private grantmaking organizations; Easygrants®, a highly configurable e-Grants solution that meets the unique needs of grantmaking organizations; PhilanTrack® for Grantmakers, web-based grants management software that streamlines the grantmaking process; PhilanTrack® for Grantseekers, web-based grants management software that helps grantseeking organizations manage everything from finding new funders to writing grant proposals and progress reports; Infor PM, the industry-leading performance management solution; and QlikView, the industry-leading, self-service, business intelligence solution. Altum is proud to have made the Inc. 5000 list four years in a row (2008–2011).

Founded in 1997, Altum is a privately held corporation headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington, DC, with an office in Rockville, Maryland.

About Grant Professionals Association

Grant Professionals Association, a nonprofit membership association, builds and supports an international community of grant professionals committed to serving the greater public good by practicing the highest ethical and professional standards. GPA is THE place for grant issues. We provide professional development by way of an Annual Conference and Webinars, professional certification (GPC), Journal and E-Newsletter, local Chapters, member benefits and more! www.GrantProfessionals.org.

Author: Dahna Goldstein
March 12, 2015, 01:37 PM

Streamlining Grants Management - Assessing Project Streamline

Project Streamline

As regular readers of this blog know, we at PhilanTech are fans of Project Streamline, the initiative of the Grants Managers Network dedicated to streamlining the grants management process.

After five years of learning and sharing tips to simplify and streamline grantmaking, Project Streamline is taking stock of how well its messages have been received and implemented by the grantmaking and grantseeking communities.

Project Streamline is asking for input from the grantmaking and grantseeking communities in two surveys (one for each audience).  Please take a few moments to help assess how well these initiatives are taking root:

The deadline for the surveys is December 15th.  We'll share the results when they are published next year.

 

 

Author: Dahna Goldstein
December 06, 2012, 04:27 PM

3 Tips for Presenting Grant Information

Driving from San Antonio to Austin after the Grants Managers Network (GMN) conference last week, I saw a sign on the highway that read, "Travel time to LP 1604, 16-18 minutes."

Without contect, that piece of information is meaningless.  How far away is LP 1604?  How long should it take to get to LP 1604?  (And what is LP 1604?  I figured that one out... LP 1604 is a highway loop (the LP stands for loop) that circles San Antonio.)

The problem of presenting information without context brought to mind Cole Nussbaumer's session at GMN entitled "Storytelling with Data: Visualizing Philanthropy."  Cole is the People Analytics Manager at Google and the data guru who writes about analytics at Storytelling with Data.  She addressed how grants managers can better use visuals to present information about grants, programs, outcomes, etc.

Cole provided compelling before and after images to demonstrate how some basic design principles can make grant information both more accessible and more meaningful:

Before:

Animal Care Services   Before

After:

Animal Care Services   After 1

Note how much easier it is to understand the story being told in the "after" image.

Here are 3 tips for presenting grant information:

  • Simplify.  If a specific piece of information isn't necessary to tell the story you want to tell, remove if from the chart or graph.
  • Focus attention where you want it. You have many tools in your toolbelt to help focus attention - color, contrast, size, even text.  In the "after" example above, the use of color and bold text makes it very clear where the viewer's attention should be focused.
  • Help your viewers draw the conclusions you want them to draw.  Don't assume all viewers will interpret the information the same way you do, or the way you intend them to.  If you want to highlight a conclusion that is supported by the data you're presenting, use text to make that conclusion clear, and support it with the visuals.

For more tips about creating compelling visual representations of data, visit Cole's blog.

What are your favorite tips for presenting grant information?

Images from Cole Nussbaumer's blog at http://www.storytellingwithdata.com/2012/03/lessons-from-gmn.html
Author: Dahna Goldstein
March 29, 2012, 10:27 AM

Moving Your Offline Grants Management Process Online

There are those who insist on dividing people into two groups: cat people and dog people; iPhone people and Droid people; Justin Bieber fans and everyone else; and, of course, people who divide the world into two groups and people who don’t.

While I’m generally in the “people who don’t” category, there tend to be two types of foundations that evaluate online grants management systems: those with completely offline grants processes (paper, fax, and sometimes email) and those with existing online processes (another commercial grants management vendor, a homegrown solution, or simple online forms for LOIs or eligibility).

I’ll address the latter category (those that already have online processes) in a future blog post.  This is about those foundations that are considering moving an offline process into an online system.

The vast majority of the 86,000 foundations in the U.S. don’t have an online grants management process (many of them don’t accept proposals at all, another topic for a future blog post).  That means that they are frequently using paper or some combination of Microsoft products (generally Word and Outlook, and sometimes Excel or a homegrown Access database) to track grantees, proposals, deadlines and to manage contact information, reporting to board members, viewing the foundation’s history with a given grantee and more.  It also means that grantees and applicants are either submitting hard copies of proposals and reports, or that the foundation accepts electronic copies of proposals and reports as email attachments.

color coded paper

Leaving aside for the moment the environmental concerns with having grantees print many copies of their grant proposals to submit via mail, this offline process is often inefficient.  I hear frequently from foundations that the major reason they want to move online is to save time for their staff members or board members who are processing grant applications.

Moving from a completely offline process to a completely online process is a big step, but it’s one that’s right for many foundations.  There are a few things that are important to remember when considering going online:

  • You’ve probably gotten used to the offline way of doing things.  That’s ok and totally understandable.  Change can be hard, and even a bit scary since it means jumping into an unknown and unfamiliar process.  The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, but it’s important to acknowledge that it will take some getting used to and ensure that the resources are in place to help you do so;
  • The online process won’t be exactly the same.  Perhaps you have a color coding system that you’ve been using for years.  The online system may not have that, but it will have other features that will help you categorize information in ways that will support your decision making, reporting, analysis, and post-grant monitoring and evaluation;
  • The online process will enable you to do things you haven’t been able to do before.  Word and Outlook weren’t specifically designed to manage grants.  The online grants management system was, and can therefore support parts of the process by default that you may have had to creatively manipulate using Word or Outlook.  For example:
    • Automated email reminders to grantees prior to due dates;
    • The ability for grantees to update their own contact information if they move or if they have a new Executive Director;
    • A complete view of any grantee – their grant history with the foundation, the proposals they’ve submitted, upcoming due dates for reports – all within one or two button clicks;
    • Reporting features that enable you to create board packs by clicking a few buttons;
  • Some of your board members might not be ready.  If that’s the case, you can request additional training for them, or you can ease them into it by first exporting reports from the online grants management system with them, before setting them up with their own accounts;
  • It will save you time.  And you’ll probably have easier access to information.  All grant and grantee-related information will be in a centralized location that you can access securely from any computer.  And the system will help you pull together information you would otherwise have to manually collect and enter.  Grantees also enter their own information (everything from contact information to the content of their proposals), so your data entry time is minimal;
  • Your grantees will thank you.  Grantees increasingly want their funders to be online.  It’s easier for the grantees to access information (because they can access it from anywhere at any time); it’s easier for them to enter information; all the information is available to them for the lifecycle of the grant (they can log in and see what they submitted in the proposal and when the next report is due); and they get automated email reminders prior to due dates.  And with PhilanTrack, they can manage all of their grant information for all of their funders (whether or not their other funders are using PhilanTrack), which helps them save even more time that they can dedicate to programs and services – and to making your grant dollars go further.

Are you considering switching from an offline grants management process to an online grants management process?  Contact us to see a demonstration and learn more about how we can help.

 

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrismetcalf/8384724/

Author: Dahna Goldstein
March 15, 2011, 03:03 PM

What I Learned about Grant Management in 2010

blackboard

It's that time of year - the time for "the top" of the year lists.  I'm sitting on a plane, reflecting on the past year, and the six months since this blog started, and figured I'd contribute my own list, in the form of things I've learned and observed about online grant management this year.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Foundations are increasingly using online LOIs.  This is both an indication that more foundations are moving their grant application processes online, and, I think, a reflection of the current state of the economy and potentially the start of the implementation of some of the recommendations of Project Streamline.  To the first point, some foundations that have not yet moved their whole grant process online are still requesting online LOIs.  As indicated in an earlier blog post, I think this is a good trend for a number of reasons.  In terms of foundations that are still requesting multiple paper copies of applications, perhaps LOIs are a gateway to moving the whole process online;
  • Despite some progress, online grant applications - and reporting - continues to be a challenge for foundations.  The Technology Affinity Group's bi-annual survey of foundations indicated online grantmaking and donor services remain the top technology issue that foundations are unprepared to address. While more foundations indicated that they had adopted online systems (40% indicated that they had an online application, though not necessarily a complete online system), the majority of foundations still do not have online systems;
  • 2010 was a rough year for nonprofits.  That's not news at this point, but one of the things that really struck me in the State of Grantseeking 2010 survey that PhilanTech conducted with GrantStation was how many really small grants fund an average nonprofit (a “typical” nonprofit in the survey receives grants between $7,310 and $50,000, but 161 organizations – 20% - reported that they had received grants under $1,000).  Given the effort (time = money) involved in putting together a good grant proposal, then the effort (time again = money) involved in reviewing and approving a grant (not to mention monitoring the grant and evaluating impact), the inefficiency of many small grants is striking.  Small grants aren't likely to go away (and, in some cases, shouldn't), but the sector as a whole, as well as the individual foundations awarding those grants, has a responsibility to ensure that the cost of managing the grant doesn't outweigh the benefit to the grantee and its constituencies;
  • Foundations are gradually starting to share more information online.  Of the 77,000 foundations in the U.S., only 29% reported having a website or an annual report.  While that number has increased, the relative absence of online information, particularly given the ubiquity of the Internet, mobile devices, etc., creates an information barrier for grant seekers, and ultimately makes grant research more costly for those organizations.  This year saw some progress on that front, with more foundations publishing not only their guidelines on their websites, but also information about past grants, information about the issues they fund, resources for grandees and other organizations and people interested in those issues.  Some foundations have even embraced social media as a tool to further their missions and those of their grantees.  The Foundation Center's Glass Pockets initiative highlights some of these efforts and tracks the progress of the sector as a whole - and is itself a commendable step in increasing and embracing transparency in grantmaking.

What did you learn about online grant management in 2010?  What are your predictions for 2011?


Author: Dahna Goldstein
January 03, 2011, 04:19 PM

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