It’s important to understand that grants mean change and that there is a predictable process to change within an organization. I learned when I was in a leadership position that it’s difficult to change a light bulb without stepping on someone’s toes so major changes require determined effort and planning.
There are a bunch of other “thangs” still in play, like all the reasons you needed the funding. All the needs are still there, just as real and ever more pressing. Only now you’re expected to solve them, you have to put staff and processes in place to do that. It’s a lot of work.
Realizing that getting the grant doesn’t solve the needs is when people in the change process enter into the “informed pessimism” stage where all the difficulties involved in making the change emerge. There are a plethora of challenges including new staff who need training, integrating new programs and staff with existing ones, etc. New staff in a new program tend to get overwhelmed and need a lot of direction for a while. Plus, they’re people so they need to be supervised, and list could go on and on…
Then as things get sorted out a little bit the bell curve usually takes an upswing. Optimism returns little by little as problems are sorted out, needs are being met, services are delivered, positive feedback and data are encouraging, the change becomes incorporated into the organization.
In planning a grant program, consider these important aspects of the change process:
- Does the model fit your agency culture?
- Do you have the right people for the work?
- Do you have a plan for giving clear roles and responsibilities to everyone involved?
- Are you prepared to give proper authority to those involved to ensure performance?
- Prepare a plan to help existing employees adapt and grow with guidance.
- Prepare a communication plan that encourages input and keeps people informed.
About the time you sort out all the change a grant creates, it is probably nearing the end of its funding cycle. When a funding cycle ends, you may need to seek other funding, reduce the program scope, or phase out the program entirely. Change is a natural cycle that grants create for an organization. Boards and leadership need to understand how to lead a change process in order to successfully manage grants.
Other posts you'll enjoy:
One Grantee's Rocky Road of Grant Implementation
Evaluating When a Grant is Right for Your Organization
Image Credit - Ehsan Namavar