Government Grants 101: 5 Steps for Getting Government Grant Ready w/ Patrice Davis

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May 26, 2023

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If you're interested in securing government grants for your organization but are not sure where to begin, this webinar is perfect for you. Our expert speaker, Patrice Davis, will guide you through the essential steps to becoming "government grant ready" and show you how to identify and fill any gaps in your current grant-seeking strategies. Additionally, you'll learn about an innovative grant management tool, Instrumentl, that can save you valuable time and resources by streamlining the grant finding, tracking, and management process all in one place.

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Takeaways by the end of this Instrumentl Partner Webinar:

  • Comparing and contrasting what it takes to get grant ready vs. government grant ready so learners can ID gaps and tackle them throughout 2023
  • ​How Instrumentl saves you time and money in finding, tracking and managing your grants all in one place.

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Patrice Davis, a grant professional with 15 years of direct experience. After 10 years in the advertising and marketing industries, she changed careers and started applying for and managing federal and other government grants at national and local nonprofit organizations and a top research university.

​She was also a public health analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) At the CDC, she evaluated non-technical variables of grant continuation applications and coordinated reverse site visits for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I and II grantees.

​She has successfully managed primary and sub-awards from 18 local, state, and federal agencies and subagencies including:

  • ​Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS)
  • ​National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • ​National Science Foundation
  • ​National Institutes of Health (HHS)
  • ​U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • ​U.S. Department of Justice
  • ​U.S. Agency for International Development
  • ​City of Atlanta, Georgia
  • ​Fulton County, Georgia
  • ​DeKalb County, Georgia
  • ​Georgia Department of Community Affairs
  • ​King County, Washington

​Before launching Grants Works, she was the Senior Director, Federal Grants Programs & Performance for Boys & Girls Clubs of America where she managed a $54 million federal grant portfolio. She has conducted training sessions and webinars on how to find and apply for federal grant funding, 2 CFR 200, 45 CFR 75, and GSA travel cost guidelines. She is also the lead trainer for Grants Works Academy.

​She also served as a fiscal consultant during site monitoring visits of federal grantees.

​She has a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management from University of Denver and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Morgan State University. She is a member of the National Grants Management Association, Grant Professionals Association, Georgia Grant Professionals Association, Government Contractors Association and Atlanta Black Chambers.

​Patrice is an avid resistance training, running, and yoga enthusiast and a fan of foreign films and international fiction. She is also the founder of SeeCurrents®.

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Click the video link below to start watching the replay of this free grant workshop, or check out the transcriptions below the video.

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Government Grants 101: 5 Steps for Getting Government Grant Ready w/ Patrice Davis - Grant Training Transcription

Dionna: Alrighty. And let's move to the next slide, Patrice?

Patrice: Sure.

Dionna: Thank you. All right. Yeah, awesome. Alrighty. Let's jump right in.

Hello, everyone, and officially welcome to Government Grants 101: 5 Steps for Getting Government Grant Ready with Patrice Davis. This workshop is being recorded, and slides will be shared afterwards. So, keep your eyes peeled for a follow up email later in case you want to review anything from today.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Dionna Arimes and I'm the Partnerships Marketing Manager at Instrumentl, and I'm going to be your host for today. In case it's your first time here, this free grant workshop is an Instrumentl partner webinar. These are collaborations between Instrumentl and community partners to provide free educational workshops for grant professionals.

Our goal is to tackle a problem that grant professionals often have to solve but also sharing different ways that our platform can help grant writers win more grants. Instrumentl is the institutional fundraising platform. If you want to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place, we can help you do that.

Lastly, be sure to stick around for today's entire presentation. At the end, we will be sharing with you some freebie resources. So, stay tuned for those. More details to come after Patrice’s presentation.

Now, with all that housekeeping out of the way, I am so excited to introduce Patrice Davis. Patrice is a grant writing professional with 15 years of direct experience. After 10 years in the advertising and marketing industries, she changed careers and started applying for and managing federal and other grant, government grants at national and local nonprofit organizations in a top research university. She was also a Public Health Analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And at the CDC, she evaluated non-technical variables of grant continuation applications and coordinated reverse site visits for Small Business Innovation Research Phase 1 and 2 grantees. She has successfully managed primary and sub awards for 18 local, state and federal agencies and sub agencies.

And before launching grant works, she was a senior director of federal grant programs and performance for Boys and Girls Clubs of America where she managed $54 million in federal grant portfolio. She's also the lead trainer for Grant Works Academy. And we are so excited to have her here with us today.

We ask that if you have questions throughout this presentation to just add three hashtags before your question to make it stand out in the Zoom chat. And with that, Patrice, please take it away.

Patrice: Yeah. So hi, everyone. I just wanted to, first of all, say hello. Hello, hello.

As everything that Dionna shared is correct. And I look forward to sharing a bit of what I've learned over the years with you. And so, I've put together a pretty detailed presentation. And I'm looking forward to being able to answer some of your questions at the end and maybe answering some of the questions as I go through the content.

So as I said, drop your questions in the Q&A or the chat. We'll answer them at the end of the webinar. I have here that there are two polls -- or actually three. We added another one. We wanted to get some more information from you. And so, we also want you to enjoy and engage, right? And so, drop comments, drop your questions. Just know that you also are going to be learning -- and I put more about government grants because I don't want to assume anything.

Some of you on this webinar may already know about government grants. My goal is to provide at least a little bit more knowledge about government grants. And again, please wait until the end. Okay?

All right. So, here are the four learning takeaways. And I'm going to go ahead and minimize this so I can focus. You know how these Zoom tools move around?

What you're going to learn is what it takes to get grant ready versus government grant ready, the “why” and the “what” to government grant readiness, the ways your organization and team may need to adjust to effectively apply for and manage government grants, and why training is essential to government grant readiness. Number three is a surprise for some folks because they may not realize that the way they operated when they were managing foundation grants may need to be adjusted or modified in some way to be able to effectively manage, not maybe one government grant but once you start to really rack up three, four, or five government grants, things will more than likely have to change internally.

All right. So, the Grants Works team. So on the screen are myself and my team. So, of course, I'm the CEO and the Lead Trainer. Fun fact, I love international travel and international fiction. On my team is a lead grant consultant, Patrese Nelson. Fun fact, of course, she's an ordained minister and a published author and an auditor. And so, she's been fantastic, a fantastic addition to our team because she has grant accounting experience and auditing experience. She's done this for both projects internationally and nationally.

Jesse Adala, she has been with us the longest in September. Her first graduate degrees in textiles and merchandising, she actually taught fashion design. She now has a second graduate degree, a master's in environmental policy. And she helps us with a lot of the programmatic side of some of our clients that we manage grants for. And, of course, Michelle Jiang. She's our executive assistant. Fun fact for her, she's a future med student and a recent graduate of University of Texas, Austin.

So, about Grants Work. So, Grants Works is a government grant consulting firm. We, of course, have a Grants Works Academy as well where we have on-demand federal grant training. For one of our top training, we actually submitted it and we're expecting continuing ed certification. Some news on that very soon. And we'll certainly share that.

We offer grant management, grant compliance. But, of course, we also have grant accounting and auditing experience. We have managed grants, grant funded national international projects. Our combined experience is 25 years. And I've managed grants as a recipient, sub-recipient in pass through entities. And as I said before, and as Dionna mentioned, I also looked at review continuation applications when I worked at CDC. So, thankfully, that has given me a sort of perspective from three different points of view as a primary recipient, as a sub recipient, as a pass through entity with sub recipients, and as the grantor itself. My company developed a federal grant management training series for federal agencies. And there you are. We have some of our services listed there.

Dionna has already gone through my bio. This will be here if you guys want to take a look at it again. She did mention that I worked at one research institution. I actually worked at two institutions of higher ed. And so, I was able to, again, see how grants are managed at different types of organizations. Thankfully, that has also informed some of our work.

So in the first poll, we want to know who's in the room. If you can, please, let us know what your profession is. Are you a grant writer? Are you a development professional? Are you -- there it is. Thank you. Thanks so much, Dionna, for putting that poll up. Other nonprofit staff or executive government agency official, business owner or other. So if you can, please, let us know. Who's in the room? That will certainly help. As I adlib on a few of the slides, I'll try to add some additional context just to see how -- if I can add additional clarification based on who's in the room.

Dionna: Looks like most folks have answered that. If you haven't, I'm going to close the poll in about five seconds to get those answers in.

Patrice: Okay.

Well, so, so 46% of you are grant writers. 16% are development professionals. 23% are other nonprofit staff, or executive 9% are business owners, and 6% are others. So, the first three, I'm, of course, going to the content does, of course, answer a lot of the questions. But I'm going to now see if I can try to adlib a few other things that will be helpful for the majority of the folks that are in the room.

So, let's move on. Grant readiness is a capacity marker. It is not a checklist. And I think that's something I wanted to start off with because a lot of times, it is communicated as a checklist and may be seen as a checklist. But it really is a capacity marker.

Grant readiness means that you need to really evaluate your organization, your financial management system and your programs. And for those of you who have read about grant readiness, this part doesn't come as a surprise. What will come as a surprise is when you need to translate grant readiness. Well, not necessarily a surprise, but it may be new for some of you to translate grant readiness to then government grant readiness.

So as I said before, evaluating the organization is one of the five steps that we're going to present here during this webinar. So, grant and government grant readiness. We're going to focus now on the organization. By the way, each of the five steps will be presented as grant readiness and then the following slide will be about government grant readiness just so you guys can see some of the differences.

Now, let's jump into the organization. Grant readiness for the organization. And so, here are just a few of the items. Of course, you want to make sure that you have it in place. And, of course, some of this would apply for nonprofits and some will apply across the board. So you need to, of course, be able to meet the basic eligibility requirements for grant announcement.

And, of course, you need to have articles of incorporation. You need to have an employer identification number, also known as a taxpayer identification number. And I did check that they truly are the same thing, an EIN is the same as a TIN.

For nonprofits, you definitely want to have, of course, tax exempt 501 (c)(3) status. You want to, of course, make sure that they're -- you have services in place, programs, accomplishments. You want to be able to, of course, come -- you want to have that impact and then also be able to communicate that impact and, of course, outcomes. And you want to have policies and procedures, standard organizational policies and procedures.

Some of the best practices I have here are, of course, a strategic plan and annual grant strategy. So, the idea is that you're not actually applying for grants just because something showed up in your inbox, you're going to go chasing after it. If you decide to add something to an existing grant strategy, no problem. But it's when things maybe a little haphazard that that could be challenging. Certainly not impossible, but challenging. But having an annual grant strategy that you develop with, maybe your development team or grant writer, whoever it is, that will help you develop that would be really, really helpful. And, of course, from your annual grant strategy, you would, of course, develop a grant calendar.

All right. Government grant readiness. So the government grants readiness, when you're thinking about the organization, we have, of course, most of the items on the previous slide, plus, a login.gov account. So for the person who wrote, “Hey, I didn't know I needed a unique entity identifier to be registered in sam.gov because I'm applying for that state grant,” that is more than likely that state grant is a -- that state is a pass through entity. So, the federal government awards grants to states and/or sometimes to local governments such as your city government, like City of Atlanta, or your county government, such as Fulton County. And then those county or city governments actually sub award the grants to your nonprofit.

So, what does that mean? That means that your unique entity identifier, you need to have that because, again, the funds are federal. The source of the funding is federal. One of the things that -- and I can certainly go into more details about that later. But as long -- when the funding, the source of the funding is federal, you definitely need to have a unique entity identifier.

Some state and local government grants may still require you to be registered in sam.gov because they, of course, want to make sure that you're not that -- this fourth item on this list. You're not the barred, excluded or suspended entity. Those details are tracked in sam.gov. They also, of course, there's other things that they're checking off. I want to make sure that you're not -- you don't have any federal tax obligations that have been kind of sitting out there, right? You're not under an investigation for fraud. Those are the reasons -- those are part of the reason why, even if you're applying for a state or local government grant, you must be registered in sam.gov.

So for government grant readiness, the policies and procedures get a little bit -- they want a little bit more. So, you definitely need to have a conflict of interest policy and procedure. They want to make sure that if you're procuring services or products with a -- or even if you're sub awarding funds, that you are not supporting them to your cousin down the street. So, they want to make sure there's policies and procedures in place to make sure there are no actual or perceived conflicts of interest, right?

You need to actually have grant management policies and procedures. This is something a lot of organizations aren't aware of. They must cover eight areas such as procurement, federal financial reporting, if you have sub recipients, subrecipient monitoring, those are just three of the eight. Do they need to be eight separate documents? Maybe not. But they definitely need to address those eight areas.

A couple of few best practices, you definitely want to have updated job descriptions because some of these, especially the local and state government grants, sometimes even the state government grants, I mean, federal government grants, they want to see job descriptions. They want to make sure that's a real person, and for whatever reason, there's a -- a position is not yet filled and you have a TBD in your budget. Okay. What's the budget? What's the job description look like for this TBD? Right?

Resumes of key personnel? Sometimes, again, that's required for government grant applications. You need to have a grievance policy. How are grievances handled within your organization? And ethics hotline. Again, these are just some best practices just to consider.

All right. Let's go here. I'm trying to find my little thing here. All right. So with government grant readiness, what you can see is just to kind of sum it up, they want an enhanced governance structure. You need to be identified, verified, and registered in various government systems. So again, just want to kind of sum up what the difference is between grant readiness and government grant readiness.

And government grant readiness is a journey. And there are no shortcuts. So, I'm asking those of you who may be on this webinar who are thinking, “Wow, government grants require a lot.” There are a couple of things to consider. Number one, government grant readiness is not something that you will have after -- it takes time to plan it out, implemented as a team, and then determine. Basically, figure out what that goal is for you to get to government grant readiness. Number two, and this is an important number two. Because of all the funding that had been authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, even some by the Inflation Reduction Act -- well, let's focus more so on ARPA and some of the COVID-19 relief funding that was awarded by the federal government.

Many, many local and state governments received so much grant funding that, in some instances, a lot of the requirements that they would have in a non-COVID-19 times, for lack of a better way of describing it, those requirements, in order to facilitate a more efficient -- and let's use the word quicker distribution of award funds or grant funds, a lot of the requirements were sort of stripped away. But, of course, they did their due diligence. You better believe they probably still should double check that you were in sam.gov, and some of the other things that they just could not negotiate, right? Some of those things were still in place. But in terms of, you know, requiring so many of the other things that are required, especially from local governments and state governments, some of those things were temporarily waived, for lack of a better way of describing it. But you still have to have to have to have. Now that you've been awarded, they do still expect you to have that governance structure in place and a capacity to monitor the funding and everything else that that comes with.

So, step two is to evaluate your financial management system, not just your software, your whole system. So grant and government grant readiness, let's now take a look at the financial management system. Right? So, of course, with an annual operating budget and program and department budgets, there are some organizations that have their annual operating budget. But they may not have an actual budget for a particular program or a budget for a particular department. Of course, consistent IRS filings, a fundraising or a funding plan, list of past current and pending funding, and a viable financial management system. And you see the word viable there. Financial management procedures, your standard financial management procedures, and, of course, an annual audit or financial review.

Now, let's look at what it requires to be government grant ready as it relates to your financial management system. You need about 90 to 180 days of operating capital. Maybe it's 60, whatever it is. Here's why. Many of the government grants are cost reimbursement grants. What does that mean? For those of you who aren't aware, that means they may award you, let's say, a $1 million grant over one year or over two years. You then have to -- and let's say in month one, you accrue or incur, let's say, $50,000 of expenses. You actually are paying those expenses. The following month, you're preparing a report, a financial report, or a reimbursement request. And then you're going to actually do a drawdown of the amount you actually spent. So, you're actually being reimbursed for your costs.

So, of course, your systems need to be able to meet GAAP, Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles. And, of course, integrate internal controls. In other words, the person that's opening up the mail, and maybe there's a check that's been received, is not also the person that's recording it. And then also the same person that's depositing it. Obviously, there is no separation of duties there. Just something to consider.

Ability to segregate revenue and expense accounts. Prepare reliable financial reports. Track and identify indirect costs. Allocate related expenses to a cost match. And then, of course, be able to track and reconcile that cost match. A lot of people aren't aware that when you commit to a cost match or some kind of cost share, in many instances, the government will say, “Okay, that's great that you've committed to a $100,000 cost share for this $500,000 award we're going to give you. We want you to track and expend it at the same rate that you are tracking and expending federal funds.” And so, I just wanted to give you guys a heads up about that. And again, we're going back to the grant management policies and procedures. And I put that there as required. It's not best practice. It's not a should. It is actually required.

And single audit readiness. One of the things that Dionna mentioned at the beginning is that our company actually used to conduct site monitoring visits of state agencies that received HERSA funding. So HERSA, the Health Resources and Services Administration, would award grants to state agencies, as I said before, federal agencies award funds to state agencies. And then, so of course, the state agency would then sub-award funds to maybe hospitals or different nonprofits within their state.

And I have to tell you, one of the ways that -- one of the things that used to always be a problem -- but not always, was a problem in many instances, not all, was the lack of policies and procedures, because that's what you're being evaluated on. And the one that we -- that, unfortunately, on my site visit reports, included a lot of findings around sub-recipient monitoring. You're required to have those policies and procedures. And if you don't have it and you're tested, either by your auditor or by the agency itself, that could be -- it could result in a finding. So, just a cold. All right? So, I just want to make sure you all are well aware of that.

So when it comes to government grant readiness for your financial management system, what the government wants you to have in place, of course, tighter internal controls, you need to have the ability, of course, an oversight. And, of course, the documentation. And, of course, internal controls oversight documentation of the financial management infrastructure. Not just your software, the actual infrastructure. However your organization works together to make sure that you are financially -- you're managing your financial responsibilities appropriately.

So, of course, you're going to evaluate the program. Right? So grant and government readiness, let's look at the programs. So, some of these are not a surprise. Of course, the experience, you need to have the experience to do what you say that you plan on doing with grant funding, be able to evaluate the program, of course, be able to collect data, expertise of your program team, of course, have current output an outcomes data, have some sustainability plan in place. And, of course, potential to expand if that is something that you plan on doing either with that grant funding or down the road. And, of course, have realistic timelines in place.

Government grant readiness, however, they're looking at your collaborative partnerships. In other words, if they give you a $1 million grant, can they get 1.25 million in impact? Because maybe you have collaborative partnerships with other complementary organizations. And one of the things I often share with folks is that these are signed MOUSs. Number one, some agencies want you to upload those MOUs. They want proof that you have signed MOUs with complementary organizations. But you need to have signed MOUs, anyway, because it helps with accountability. It also helps with clarity.

Our organization is doing this. Your organization is doing that. And then as a result, the community, or whatever it is that's benefiting from your services, is all for the better because it's being done in a collaborative way. It's not everybody operating in their own silo, which, of course, may not be as effective as everyone kind of coming together and collaborating where possible.

You need to have reliable data collection methods. In other words, it needs to collect for the data points you say that you're actually going to collect for. If you say that the performance measures are this, how are you making sure you have data that can demonstrate that in a reliable way? And in some instances, do you -- where it's maybe required or where appropriate, are the program offerings research evidence based? And, of course, SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound. And, of course, documented processes. So, for example, do you have a process in place in the way you determine if a particular person, let's say you're serving people, what is their eligibility requirement to be able to be served by this program that is being funded by this federal agency? Right?

So, what is your documented process for that? Maybe your process -- maybe the federal agency is funding a program that requires the people that work with youth to have background checks. What is your policy? So, for example, when I was at Boys and Girls Clubs of America, one of the requirements was that the Department of Justice -- well, first of all, DGCA had its background check policy and procedure, anyway. But the DOJ who funded the organization then required heightened background checks. And so, we needed to then modify our policies and procedures, then communicate that modification to our sub recipients, which are, what, clubs around the country that received the funding. Not all of them, but the ones that were selected for funding. And then, I just want to make sure -- and so the documentation is really important. I do want to clarify that all clubs then had to adhere to this tightened background check requirement. And, of course, the capacity to monitor any sub-awardees and any grant-funded contracts.

So for government grant readiness, as it relates to the programs, what you just kind of sum it up, it's the expanded capacity to deliver what partnerships you have in place, enhance sustainability, and document processes. And as I said before, the capacity to monitor.

So, we're going to stop here with our second poll. I would love to know what percentage of you are actually managing government grants. And that's a grant from your city or county government, your state government, or, of course, the federal government.

Looking forward to seeing those results.

Okay. It looks like most folks have gotten their answers in. So, I'm going to end this in about five seconds. Three, two, one. Ah, 63% are not managing government grants. Hopefully, this webinar does not scare them away. But 38% of you are. That's good to know. This is fantastic. So, again, I'll try to see what I can do to clarify any of the remaining content for those of you who are not currently managing government grants.

All right. Step 4, evaluate the grant management processes and infrastructure. So grant and government grant readiness, let's look at the grant management processes. This is really important because as a matter of fact, one of our clients is a large organization. They've always had a good amount -- solid funding from foundations. They now find themselves with, I believe, it's 30 government grants from the city government, from the county government, and from the federal government. I have to say -- I say 30 because some of them are actually contracts. And because of some of the sub-awards from some of these entities, we're not clear that there's sub-awards. But just imagine what that entails, what that looks like. You're now managing that number of government grants. Your grant management processes will likely need to be modified.

So, your grant management process for grant readiness. So, of course, perspective matters. And this is really interesting because, of course, grant management -- as a grant recipient, must be different from grant management as a grantor, as the grant making entity. And this is important because one of the things we always talk about at Grants Works is creating recipient-centered training. So, the training we create is for the recipient, not the grantor’s perspective of what the recipient needs. And I'll give you, guys, some other examples.

So obviously, if you receive a grant, you're going to review requirements. You're going to collaborate and schedule. And if you're not, you definitely should be doing this. If you're a small org, I can certainly understand. You need to, of course, be able to collect data in a reliable way, document your performance and your outputs, monitor cost, prepare and submit financial and programmatic reports. And, of course, close out the grant. So, of course, close out planning and implementation. These are all things that one would expect with grant readiness, right?

Government grant readiness, however, means you need to analyze your award. You need to integrate whatever you learn from that analysis into your organizational systems and processes. The first two bullets sound a lot more complex than they really are. One of the things that, in the grant management space -- and I do want to clarify, I'm a grant manager. I'm not a grant writer. We have written grants for our clients sometimes by our company, sometimes by working with subcontractors. But the first two bullets sound more complex than they actually are, right?

Collaborate with all stakeholders. Have a center of accountability. You need to have effective financial management systems in place. You need to be able to monitor. If you have sub-recipients, you need to be able to monitor them. You definitely need to be able to monitor cost. You need to be able to monitor the program, the effect -- where your programs are. And again, internal controls documentation. And there it is, again, that last bullet, it's almost hovering around us, those written grant management policies and procedures.

All right. So, we're going to talk a little bit about Grants Works ASTACC Method. This is a method that I created about three years ago. But after thinking -- one of the great things, as I said before, having worked in a small nonprofit of about 23 people, a nonprofit that manages or receives billions of dollars in funding from, not just the US government, from European governments. And then, of course, doing this work in different parts of the world and then working for the youth development non-profit. As I mentioned before, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and working in universities, those different perspectives have helped me really see how grant management can be effectively managed.

Interestingly, one of the most effective places where they were managed, and they were effective in all those scenarios was in that small non-profit. It had about 23 people. You know why? Because 85% of their funding came from government grants. That means, like all the program folks, their salaries were a hundred percent covered with federal grants and state and local government grants. What does that mean? That means when we said we needed a report, no one was hesitating because the grants covered their salaries. And, of course, the grant covers, again, 80 something percent of that particular organization's funding came from government grants. And so, compliance wasn't something that we had to consistently champion for. Everyone understood how important that was because, again, their salaries are covered by it.

So, ASTACC Method. The first thing you do when you receive your government grant is to analyse. It starts with analyzing your award. You then need to systemize. I don't know if that's a word, but that's the word I'm using. You need to systemize, which means you need to integrate it into your existing systems or modify as necessary. It needs to be team-centered. Right? Don't leave it up to that one accounting person just because they're the one that tends to read our stuff, or maybe leave it up to the General Counsel. So, I've seen different things and I've worked with a number of clients. You need to have an accountability circle, as I said.

Who or what team is the lead on your grants? If I email a client, I say to my client, “Email me a list of all 20 of your grants.” There should be a person that has that chart ready to go because that chart should be -- or whether it's a chart, or maybe it's a printout of a dashboard, whatever it is, this should be readily available. Because if you're aware of what of all your grants and when they begin and when they end and what the award is, and what's the cost share, and what expenses are covered what with different grants, all of that can be determined when you have a person or a team who's the lead on the grants. And it should be collaborative. Again, I've seen several scenarios because of the monitoring and because of our work as brand consultants where maybe organizations leave it to the program teams to manage their grant.

And my position has always been that programs are subject matter experts in programs. And I'll leave it at that. And so, when it comes to making sure that your finances are audit ready, maybe making sure that your program folks collaborate with the teams that are responsible for that is a different -- a more effective approach. So, it should be collaborative within and across teams and any external parties.

And, of course, compliance should be the center of your government grant management, again, documentation, monitoring, financial stewardship. Not just the responsibility of the board, it’s across the board. And, of course, effective and written policies and procedures. And there it is, just sort of the unraveling of the ASTACC Method, analyze, systemize, team centered, accountability circle, collaborative, and compliance.

All right. Train your team. And you all have heard me say this, if any of you are familiar with some of the content that we put out at Grants Works, we always focus on training. One of the things I've shared in the past is that when I worked at that small-ish non-profit I mentioned earlier, I actually came from marketing and I advise some -- actually manage marketing campaigns. And so, then going into government grants, even though I was already pretty -- the organization, the numbers being kind of numbers focused and had some decent analytical skills, I didn't know what it really entailed to manage a grant.

However, what I was able to do and was willing to do was sit with that Notice of Award and sit with all the different -- the separate OMB. When there was separate OMB guidance, OMB circulars and read them and understand them and analyze them, and then figure out, “Okay, what does this mean for our organization?” And then be bold enough and have the courage to go to our executive director and say, “Hey, I'm looking at our policies. I'm seeing there's an issue here. Just those kinds of things I want to -- but then, of course, the training. And they paid for me. The small-ish organization paid for me to go get the training I needed. And it's so important.

So again, government grant readiness as it relates to training your team. So, on the right is an article I wrote for another organization. And as you can see there, it says managing federal grants don't neglect the training. And these eight bullets will explain why. Number one, it enhances the organization's capacity to find and apply for more government grants. It encourages collaboration because now folks have a better appreciation for the government grants that they have. It increases organizational preparedness for an audit or site visit. It improves the organization's ability to keep or renew the grant. And by the way, a lot of these bullets actually were in that article. And I've shared these bullets or some variation of these comments or phrases in our newsletter, or our posts on LinkedIn, or even in the blogs on our website.

And, of course, it cost less than a complex and costly audit. Right? So if you get the training on the front end and your team knows exactly what they're supposed to do, then you're paying your auditor less, or whoever it is you may be paying to help unwind some of the challenges that may have come about because maybe expenses weren't being monitored as well as they should have been.

It avoids misuse of federal grant funds. I forgot that that fourth bullet improves the organization’s ability to keep or renew the grant. It avoids a government investigation and it prevents grant fraud. I always suggest the fault school, the terms grant fraud. And you'll be surprised, right? Where a mayor of a city received a grant and did some untoward things with the grant funding or another organization received millions in grant funding from a city government, and unfortunately tries to squirrel it away. Not realizing government grant funds are taxpayer dollars. And so, just be aware of that. And because even that knowledge in and of itself just kind of ups the ante on why it's important or ups the ante on why it's important to, of course, manage those grant funds as well as possible or as required.

So this is the final poll, right? And I would love to know from those of you who are managing government grants, or even if you're not currently managing government grants, did you receive government grant management training? Yes or no?

And I'll answer the poll too.

Dionna: A five second warning, everyone. Get your votes in. Three, two, one.

Patrice: No, 89%. I love that. 11%. Okay, cool.

So, that's good to know. Looking at the number of participants and looking at that percentage, about 15 to 16 of you on this call have had government grant training. Please drop in the comments any thoughts you may have about that. And if we get a chance to highlight, put a spotlight on your comment, that would be really great. But I'd love to know, did you regret your training? The answer is probably not, no. But you never know. But I just wanted to make sure we get some insight from it for any of you that actually has had government grant management training.

So, here's the bonus content. And this was just putting some things out there. Number one, here are some common misconceptions about government grants. Number one, we can apply at the last minute. It's only due in two weeks, or it's only due in three weeks. And so, that is definitely a misconception. We can use the same approach for government grants as we do our grants from the private sector. That is not -- there is obviously a misconception as well. There may be differences.

I'm aware of a particular state and city government that offers grant funding. And the reporting requirements aren't as -- there are some differences there. But that particular instance is not necessarily the case across the board. Number three, we can just assign the application to that one person in a program or development team. I've seen that happen too. And it can be really, really challenging for that one person that's been assigned that. Number four, they're only focused on the strength of our proposal. We've missed a few required documents we’re okay. That is absolutely incorrect.

And many federal agencies, CDC being one, when I worked at CDC, we had a grant application come from one of the most prestigious universities. And that you all will all recognize their name. And they did not meet what's called a basic threshold. They didn't upload a few of those required documents and their application was not reviewed. Because if you don't meet the basic threshold, then it is more than likely -- and then this is for a research grant. It won't then be submitted to the next step, which is, of course, to have it reviewed by researchers with specialty in that particular area. Number five, grant management is only a post-award activity. That is incorrect.

As many of you know, if you read through a Notice of Funding Opportunity, they tell you some of the things you need to be aware of in terms of the systems they’re expecting, the reports they're requesting, they're going to expect. So some of these things, you need to be aware of on the front end. Even things like keeping your sam.gov, your entity registration up to date, just some of those small things.

Number six, we don't need to get training on how to manage the grant. It can't be that different. It is that different in most instances. Number seven, let's just focus on the budget and reporting deadlines. Absolutely not. As I've stated before, internal controls, oversight, monitoring is really, really important. Number eight, and this is something I'm seeing a lot of, the grant writer will manage this new government grant and they will find other funding opportunities and they will write more proposals. I know there are a lot of smiling grant writers right now who are on this call that are probably in that situation where organizations are expecting them to manage a government grant. They may not have the experience, nor the time. Because even if they don't have the experience, they may not have the time to devote to managing a government grant. Plus, find other funding opportunities. Plus, write more proposals. That is a lot. That's two people's positions. Right? And that's why it's important that organizations that may be at that tipping point look into hiring a grant manager or grant administrator. Or, hey, manage to hire a grant consultant, such as our company.

Number nine, we can just assign the management of that grant to that one person on the program or development team. So, I did want to let you all know a little about Grants Works Academy. It is, of course, grantsworksacademy.com. We have customized training that we offer for some clients that may have grants from only certain federal agencies and they just want us to develop training for their team, learn what their grants are, just develop that customized training.

We currently have one training that is rated four and a half out of five stars by over 344 people so far with, again, continuing ed certification pending. We do training, live training, live speaking. That's me there doing a presentation at the National Disability Rights Network 2022 Fiscal Meeting. I don't remember the full name of the conference. I think it's a fiscal conference. We also do webinars. The most recent one we did, a client transformation. Four case studies of clients who have gone through some transformations as a result of working with us, and we help them kind of enhance their grant management. And, of course, we have the federal grants simplified membership program.

And it gives you all the training here that you see on the slide. And you get that as soon as you become a member. You don't have to wait for it to be dropped to you. You have access to all this training. Number one is three modules. So, that's really three training sessions in one. How to apply for and manage federal grants? Your shortcut to finding mission aligned local, state, and federal grants.

Let's get grant ready. There's a whole section on getting government grant ready as well. And, of course, there's the link. And one of the things that we offer as a bonus is that you get a free one-on-one consultation within the first six months of your time as a member. And, of course, we're offering 20% off the annual plan to anyone participating in this particular webinar. You just have to use the word -- I mean, the code Instrumentl to get that 20% off.

All right. And so, that's how you can follow up with me. There's the email address, our phone number. And as Dionna shared at the beginning, we do have a giveaway, a couple of giveaways. So if you can bear with us just for a few more minutes, then we can provide some more insight on that.

Dionna, I believe you take it from here.

Dionna: Awesome. Thank you so much, Patrice.

If you actually want to move to the next slide?

Patrice: Mm-hmm.

Dionna: One more, actually.

Patrice: Okay.

Dionna: Oh. Uh-oh. It's not in there. That is okay. Let me screen share really quick.

Patrice: And I'll stop sharing.

Dionna: Thank you.

Patrice: I better share.

Dionna: Oh, no, you should be good. I can -- there we go. Okay.

One moment, everyone. Okay, here we go.

Alrighty. So just for sake of time, I want to make sure that we have as much time as possible to jump into the Q&A and really get all of Patrice’s incredible knowledge and be able to answer all the questions that we got through the chat. But I did really want to just chat about Instrumentl. And I did see some questions come into the chat as to where we can find grants at the federal and state level where we can manage our grants. And Instrumentl, really, is the best platform to do so.

And there are seven specific reasons here that I want to go over as to why it's the easiest to use. So first, we are the institutional fundraising platform because we are built specifically to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management all to the same place. So, you don't have to use multiple different platforms in order to do all these things. You can really just have a one-stop shop and center of truth to do all of those things at the same time.

We also include active grants, both at the public and private funding sources for 501 (c)(3). So one of the pains of finding a perfect grant is you realize that it's not actually open or the application just closed. That is not a worry at Instrumentl. We only include active grants for your matches. So, you never have to face that issue where you find the perfect grant and then realize you can't actually apply for it because it's not open.

We also have 990 reports and foundation reports at your fingertips. So, you can really dig into funder profiles and learn about funders. We have a very unique matching algorithm to show you good fit opportunities for your projects. So, we develop a list of matches that are based on your organization and the information that you give us. So, you're really finding the best fit matches for you.

We upload update deadlines automatically. So if we have a grant that the deadline changes on the funder's end, we automatically update that so you have the best up-to-date information at your fingertips.

We also have tasks, notes, and documents stored year by year in a place to really store all that information in one place. And ultimately, this leads you to saving three hours a week in increasing your grant application output by 78%, after a year. So, all that goes to show is that we really are a fantastic platform and that we hope you have the opportunity to use us.

And with that, I'm actually going to drop in the chat one more time, a link to try Instrumentl for 14 days free. And this is Patrice’s link to access that free trial. And I'm also going to pop in the chat the link to our blog and our best practices. So if you want to check out some videos that help really make the most of Instrumentl as a platform, we have some really awesome videos on there for you to look at.

And with that, I'm going to go to the next slide. And we want to thank everyone for hanging onto the end and for joining today's workshop live. As promised, we have some really awesome freebies today in case you're interested in participating. We're giving away our 10 best lessons from 10 grant writing experts' guides and then Grant Works’ Learn How to Apply for Federal Grants Workbook. All you have to do is click the link that I'm about to drop in the chat and fill that out. It should only take a minute or two and then you will get access to those two really awesome resources.

And before we jump into our Q&A, in case you enjoy today's workshop, you'll definitely love our next one on May 10th. It's five steps to building out your ideal grant team with interns with Marie Gress. And I'm going to also drop in our events calendar so you can easily sign up for that workshop as well as any other ones that might be of interest to you.

And with that, we're going to open things up to questions. We already have some really awesome questions that came through during the presentation that I have written down on my end. And so, we're just going to work our way through those. But if you have other questions, feel free to drop them in the chat. And if we don't get them today, you have Patrice’s follow-up information. And I'm also going to drop my email in the chat in case you have any Instrumentl’s specific questions that you'd like to ask that we may or may not have time to get to. So, have no fear. Your question will get answered. And with that, I'm going to go through and read out the questions for Patrice to work through.

First question that we got today was from Brian. And he asked, “Is it appropriate for grant writers to want a percentage of the grant amount?”

Patrice: No. Okay. So, Brian, thank you for asking that question. I get that question a lot. I do want to first say, though, that - and I forgot to mention this earlier that Grants Works is accepting new clients. If you are interested in government grant consulting, grant management. So, we actually manage grants as well for organizations that may not have that in-house capacity and, of course, grant management training.

So, Brian, I'm going to get to your question. So, it is not. As a matter of fact, according to the ethical standards of the Grant Professionals Association, it is not appropriate for grant writers to put their fees in the grant budget. Here's why. And I actually have a blog on this on grantsworks.com. Before the grant writer even starts writing the grant proposal or application, the grant writer is collecting information, researching information, getting your budget, getting your program information, getting data about your outputs, or outcomes. That's just the beginning, right, before they even start writing. So all of those things I just listed, that's hours and hours and hours of work. Right? So, then they start writing. And then they may have four or five or six versions of whatever they’ve written for your team.

Someone comes in at the last minute and says, “Let's make this other change.” So again, that's another, let's say, 10 to 15 hours. So, let's consider. It's about 30 to 35 hours, at least, to write a grant application. These professionals need to be compensated appropriately for their time. And so, you may not receive that award. So, they would have done all of that work. You may not have received the award and they wouldn't get compensated.

And so, that's why most grant writers, professional grant writers require payment upfront.

Dionna: Awesome. All right, jumping straight into our next question.

Question from Glenda. “What are the eight needed grant management policies including procurement, sub-recipient, et cetera, that you mentioned?”

Patrice: I'm writing them down. So procurement, subrecipient monitoring. If you have sub-recipients, Federal Financial Reports, inventory management, drawdowns, let me see. I'm trying to think of the other one. Oh, time and effort, that is extremely important. Unfortunately, a lot of people have gone -- have been convicted for falsifying time and effort, data, and then sending it to the federal government and then requesting to be reimbursed for time and effort that really didn't happen for the grant. So, that's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. I can't think of the other one.

Federal Financial Reports, inventory management, drawdowns, time and effort. I can't think of the other one right now. Oh, the really important one, cost allowability. So, what they want to know is how are you ensuring that the costs that are charged to the grantor are allowable? How are you ensuring that the time and effort charged to the grant are allowable and are accurate, and are allocable, and are reasonable? How are you making sure that the funds that you draw down from the federal government reflect actual, allowable, eligible costs? How are you making sure you're managing an inventory that's purchased with grant funds? How are you preparing accurate federal financial reports? How are you making sure that your sub recipients that are getting a part of this funding are being monitored and managed properly? And how are you actually making sure that your procurement process is free of conflicts of interest and are done appropriately? Again, how are you making sure that your executive director’s cousin down the street isn't the one that's getting this award and this whole entire procurement process is done in a fair way?

Dionna: Awesome. And it looks like we have a couple of requests for getting those down in writing. And so, what we can make sure to do is include that in the slide deck that's being sent out after. So, that seems like this list of eight are really hot topics. So, we'll make sure to get that information to you all after this.

But for the sake of time, moving along to our next question from Gigi, and this is in response to your section on grant readiness, the program, specifically, our program case study’s requirement.

Patrice: No, they're not necessarily requirements. But it's great to have them because you want to be able to pull in that information when you want to demonstrate your organization's effectiveness at whatever it is that you're applying for. But it's definitely a strong thing to have to be able to put in almost any appropriate proposal that you’re taking either community from A to Z or whoever it is you're serving from A to Z because of the programs that your organization is leading or providing.

Dionna: Awesome. Fantastic. And then moving into our next question from Angela, do you have an example of a grants management policy and procedure manual?

Patrice: As a matter of fact, this is one of the things we actually provide for our clients. We actually have provided policy and procedure writing services for our clients. We do not offer that anymore. But we do have templates that will be going on sale. As a matter of fact, members of the federal grant management -- the federal grant’s simplified membership are going to be -- we're going to be getting those templates out to them for them to purchase and download and then customize because we really, really -- for the clients that we've prepared them for, prepared really comprehensive policies and procedures. Obviously, it reflects their actual policies and procedures and processes.

So because it's customized, it's something that we provide a pretty good template so that you can then, of course, overlay it with your own internal processes. Maybe take out things that are not applicable, take out positions that are not applicable, so.

Dionna: Incredible.

And it looks like we are coming up on time. And I want to be respectful of everyone's time today. So if your question did not get answered, please do not hesitate to reach out to either Patrice or myself. We will make sure that you get an answer to your question. Otherwise, huge thank you to Patrice for joining us today and sharing all of your incredible knowledge. This was super, super awesome. And hopefully, folks got a lot out of this.

With that, we hope everyone has a fantastic Wednesday. Thank you so much.

Patrice: Bye. Bye, guys. Take care.

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