News 5 June 2023

Emerging Trends in Grants Management

Writen by Kelvin Mwangi

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Grants management, in general, is starting to get recognized for being a well-defined profession. A lot of foundations are elevating the role.  Grants managers are coming up with great ideas on how to evolve the platforms in a way that makes them work better for everybody.

Below are some of the emerging trends in grants management:

1. Technology-Based Management

Without a doubt, organizational processes really depend on technology. Technology has contributed to the grants manager role being more visible in foundations. It has given them the courage to step outside of their current role boundaries. Data science is a field that most grants managers are dipping their toes into. For most foundations, grants management is a very administratively burdensome process. So, the grants manager has the difficult job of managing that whole end-to-end process of making sure that all the data has been collected, due diligence has been completed, and the information has been verified so the foundation can make the right decision about funding.

In addition, grant managers are starting to figure out how to mine that data and come up with new insights that are important for their foundations. Leveraging data to help foundations see new and exciting insights is indeed a key development for the future of grants management.

2. Localization

Many of the world’s top donor agencies have undergone a series of policy and procurement reforms over the past several years. One key element of these reforms is an increasing push to go local, moving funding, contracting, and leadership to the local level where development happens. However, there’s been a lot of uncertainty and debate around development localization and its business implications for donors, global implementers, and local organizations. For international donors, localization may help eliminate costly parallel systems, strengthen local institutions and delivery mechanisms, and achieve value for money, allowing developing countries to take charge of their own development. At the same time, local groups should be positioning themselves to take advantage of localization and secure more donor funding by actively learning global best practices to apply them effectively to local conditions.

3. Capacity Building

A capacity-building grant is a specific type of award meant to strengthen an organization’s systems and thereby increase its effectiveness. However, this term is a little confusing, so it’s not uncommon for grant-seekers to think the purpose of these grants is to increase service capacity and expand programming. Capacity-building grants are not about expanding an organization’s services, adding a new program, or renovating a building. They are about strengthening an organization’s infrastructure, management, and governance. Examples of such activities include external communication strategies, technology upgrades, board or staff development, succession planning, mergers or restructuring, evaluation of service effectiveness, assessment of management and governance systems, strategic planning, fund development planning, the establishment of a fund development program and establishing a volunteer management system.

4. Strategic Alliances & Partnerships

Partnerships have become increasingly popular among grantmakers. Funders and nonprofits view partnerships as an effective way to build organizational capacity. They also help in engaging new audiences, building organizational networks, and mounting programs that are too much for a single organization to do on its own. Additionally, the right partnerships can improve your chances of winning grant funds. Funders also argue that partnerships increase efficiency by discouraging duplication and encouraging grantees to pool resources.

5. Sustainability of Investments

Investors can use several strategies to build and diversify their portfolios to ensure financial success. One emerging trend changing the way businesses and investors think about investing is a concept known as sustainable investing. It has become increasingly popular due to demand from millennials and impact investors concerned with ethical investing or funding companies with intrinsic values that make a positive impact and drive change. Sustainable investing refers to a range of practices in which investors aim to achieve financial returns while promoting long-term environmental or social value. Combining traditional investment approaches with environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) insights has led to investors generating more comprehensive analyses and making better investment decisions. Sustainable investing has helped shape the world by contributing to positive social change.

6. Donor Shift

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the flow of donor agencies and NGOs, forcing them to introspect new ways to work with the communities. As the pandemic exposed the vulnerability of human life, it also led to the emergence of new donors and funding types.  In fact, their responsibilities have now increased more than ever as they need to address the unexpected challenges that came out of the pandemic. These challenges include disruption in food supply chains, increased poverty rate, fall in the quality of education, mounting inequality and discrimination demand, high level of unemployment, poor access to affordable healthcare, and loss of opportunities for the youth.

This article was written by Michelle Nthemba

Adapted from https://sbs.strathmore.edu/emerging-trends-in-grants-management/