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How Local Governments Can Effectively Manage Grants

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Local governments are tasked with finding, evaluating, and solving problems within their communities. Largely, these problems require outside grants from state or federal government, and sometimes private organizations, to address the problems in a timely and effective manner.

Local governments are also sometimes grantors as well, offering funds to organizations within the community to address problems that impact everyone. Managing both kinds of grants is a uniquely complex process that requires a great deal of attention and organization.

Here is how local governments manage their grants and a few ways that they could potentially improve their process.

1.  Trust

Whether awarding or being awarded a grant to address issues within their municipality, governments are obligated to prioritize compliance when it comes to the allocation of grant funds.

That means that those put in charge of the funds must embody a great deal of trust, transparency, and accountability when it comes to managing and reporting the use of funds. They need to be able to track the flow of grant money, while also being experts in the terms and conditions of the grant to avoid violations.

2.  Observation

Observing the date and implementation of the grant is largely related to the above, but the important difference in this discussion is the idea of investing in management tools, like a grants management system that can streamline the process of monitoring grant revenue and providing immediate, accessible information.

Grant management software is not only efficient and saves time, but allows for an ideal level of transparency, in that different team members have access to the same information and can coordinate in a synchronous way.

3.  Budgeting

If the local government was the grantor of the grant in question, chances whoever received the grant included a structured budget plan within their application materials. If the local government was the grantee, then they provided a budgetary plan to the grantor as well.

This budget becomes a contract between the two parties, and adherence to its structure and stipulations is crucial to the management process.

4.  Reporting

A team of people will be assigned and responsible for the ins and outs of managing the grant, and this requires regular meetings to discuss the implementation and management of the funds.

Once again, transparency and specificity are crucial elements of addressing the status of the grant.

5.  Consistency

Local governments receive grants for harrowing circumstances, often related to disaster and emergency management after destructive weather or things like chemical leaks and poor water quality that negatively impact residents on a large scale. Because these events happen more often than we would like them to, grants are not as uncommon as one might think, given that it takes a large sum of money to address disaster relief on the local level.

Consistency comes into play because disorganization and mismanagement of grant funds put regions at risk for losing additional funding, or being subject to additional oversight at the state or federal level that results in a headache for local officials who know their towns and constituents better. Being consistent with the management of grants is crucial to the assurance of aid in the future for local cities and towns.