The increase in federal funding programs over the last few years has made transforming old processes and systems critical for grants programs. Maintaining compliance with federal guidance has become even more challenging because most grant programs are managing more funding while being under-resourced at the same time.
This problem doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. This year, 52% of public workers said they had considered leaving their positions (MissionSquare Research Institute). Much of this is due to burnout, and most interventions focus on employee appreciation and compensation.
These are great ideas, but we want to help you address the underlying causes that contribute to grant professionals burnout so you can support and retain your team members.
To keep up with compliance and reporting demands, grant professionals need to ensure their operating procedures are effective, that staff have the capacity to implement those procedures, and provide support that encourages grants staff to stick around.
Digitally transforming your grants program by implementing supportive grants management technology like AmpliFund is a way to quickly create capacity, create more effective processes for your grants program, and support your team.
Digital transformation is not just about replacing old technologies with new ones.
Instead, digital transformation allows your organization to become truly data-driven and to revolutionize the way your team operates.
For example, grant making organizations that rely on email to collect applications for review will often try to improve the process by having applicants send everything to one email address because it is a small change that is easy to implement. This sounds like a good solution on its surface, but they still end up having to keep track of all applications using a different process or in a separate system.
By trying to improve this process using incremental changes, grants staff end up waiting for months, or more, to see if those small changes have made a positive impact or created new challenges. In the meantime, the review process continues as it was before, and there are few opportunities to reduce daily workload.
Leading change through digital transformation sounds more difficult at first, but it actually speeds up application collection and review - even accounting for time spent implementing and training staff to use new technology.
That’s because grants management software centralizes all the tasks and materials related to the process in one location.
For example, with AmpliFund your applications are posted online, and applicants submit them within the AmpliFund Applicant Portal. Reviewers can then score applications and communicate with one another right in the system so review is faster and more efficient. Once you make awarding decisions, you can even turn an applicant into a recipient in the system with just a few clicks without having to rely on an extra system or method.
A digital transformation with grant management software introduces efficiency by design, and this directly translates to huge savings in time and effort for your team. On average, AmpliFund users can expect to reduce time on administrative tasks by 72% or more.
Onboarding new team members is necessary, but knowledge transfer and training take time, effort, and capacity even under the best circumstances.
If grants professionals want to revolutionize their approach to knowledge transfer and increase capacity, digital transformation is a fast and efficient way to do so.
According to the Harvard Business Review, digital transformation can make the biggest impact “in the process of capturing or creating digital records of people (e.g., what they do, who they are, what they prefer, etc.).” Essentially, the knowledge your team members have can be the “data” grants management technology captures and automates.
With technology you can build custom workflows to create a digital record of a specific team member’s responsibilities and tasks which can then be automated. This creates capacity for staff, facilitates faster onboarding, and allows other resources to step in seamlessly, if needed, to keep your program on track in the event of turnover. This can be accomplished even if team members are filling multiple roles.
The insight and oversight you gain through digital transformation puts your organization in a position to onboard new employees faster in the future. In the long term, it also frees up your team members to concentrate on the more fulfilling aspects of their roles instead of struggling with administrative burden.
Creating a Plan
You can start to improve your processes today even without technology by beginning to document specific tasks, role responsibilities, and documents that could be streamlined with technology later on. You will want to prioritize what information is the most critical for your organization first, and then start planning to create efficiencies in your operating processes.
Here is a small list of considerations to help you get started.
- Identify members of the team involved in your grants process (internal and external).
- Identify the tasks they perform and have oversight on.
- Think about what the organizational impact would be if these people left tomorrow.
- Consider how you could automate the workflows associated with their role(s).
- Brainstorm about how you could standardize forms, documents, or other materials associated with their role or your overall grant portfolio.
- Automate these processes and documents with software to ensure they “stick.”
Digital transformation seems like a huge undertaking, but with the right guidance and plan it can help reduce burnout, improve your operations faster, and help train and retain your team.
AmpliFund transforms your operations, so you and your team have the right data, at the right time, in one place. To see if your organization is a good candidate for introducing grants management technology, check out our Grants Management Response Readiness Checklist.
Photo by doble-d from Canva
Topics: See Your Impact