Grants Management Professional Competency Model

Grants management professionals need to be experts in their work to help grantseekers best achieve their missions. These professionals need to be able to connect the dots across knowledge, relationships, and systems to improve grantmaking decisions and design. They need to understand and be able to advocate effectively for good practices in their organizations.

PEAK Grantmaking’s Grants Management Professional Competency Model defines the professional knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of grants management professionals, regardless of their area of specialization, the size of their organization, or their role within the field. By identifying both the functional responsibilities and the knowledge needed for success in every area of grants management, the competencies provide a comprehensive look at the profession. This Model offers everyone working in grants management a direction for professional success. Explore the model below!

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Questions on how to use the Model? Got Feedback? Contact Elizabeth Bicer, Education Director


Phase I: Pre-GrantApply Values, Mission, And Goals

Apply the grantmaker values, mission and goals to ensure alignment of application process and guidelines.

Direct Service Function Performance Indicators

  • Provide applicants with guidance to submit a complete and timely application
  • Track application invitations and responses

 

Management Function Performance Indicators

  • Develop and maintain guidelines and applications in collaboration with program staff and other relevant stakeholders
  • Determine applicant eligibility for support
  • Incorporate perspective of the applicant and their operating environment into the application process

 

Policy Function Performance Indicators

  • Consider the external environment in establishing the application process and guidelines
  • Create grant application policies that align with organizational policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
  • Determine grantmaker information needs
  • Incorporate analysis of grants history and current budget and programmatic priorities into application process and guidelines

 

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Phase I: Pre-GrantDesign & Implement Review Process

Design and implement the review process to support an informed grant decision.

Direct Service Function Performance Indicators

  • Review the application for completeness and eligibility
  • Correct existing or enter additional data into the grants management system
  • Provide reviewers with access to the application
  • Document and track application review notes and/or ratings
  • Document and communicate decision

Management Function Performance Indicators

  • Incorporate perspective of the applicant and their operating environment into the review process
  • Collaborate with applicant and relevant stakeholders to develop proposal
  • Confirm the integrity of grants management system data used for review
  • Provide reviewers with information that supplements the application
  • Assess applicant’s financial health
  • Analyze applicant alignment of budget with work plan
  • Verify grantmaker is in compliance with internal policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
  • Provide decision makers with relevant information

Policy Function Performance Indicators

  • Create proposal review and decision policies that align with organizational policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
  • Incorporate analysis of grants history and current budget and programmatic priorities into review process
  • Incorporate context, risk, theory of change, performance measures and portfolio analysis into the recommendations to decision-makers
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Phase II: Award & MonitoringEstablish Mutual Expectations

Establish mutual expectations between the grantmaker and grantee to support success.

Direct Service Function Performance Indicators

  • Communicate the grant terms to grantee

Management Function Performance Indicators

  • Collaborate with grantee and relevant stakeholders to develop grant terms
  • Develop the special conditions and requirements of individual grants
  • Structure payments to ensure grant goals achieved
  • Develop grant-related template
  • Verify grant terms comply with organizational policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements

Policy Function Performance Indicators

  • Align core elements of grant related templates with organizational policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
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Phase II: Award & MonitoringMonitor Grantee Activity

Monitor grantee activity to support grantee success and determine compliance with grant agreement.

Direct Service Function Performance Indicators

  • Provide grantees with guidance and support
  • Carry out the monitoring strategies (e.g., site visit, desk monitoring, phone calls)
  • Communicate grantee activity to internal and external stakeholders
  • Collect, review and disseminate reports and supporting materials
  • Track and document grant reporting and activity
  • Review requirements for completeness
  • Collect missing requirement information
  • Send payments to grantee
  • Document the review and findings

Management Function Performance Indicators

  • Troubleshoot and track grant challenges
  • Revise grant terms
  • Incorporate perspective of the grantee and their operating environment into the monitoring process
  • Verify grantmaker is in compliance with internal policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
  • Create the monitoring plan and strategies (e.g., site visit, desk monitoring, phone calls)
  • Analyze grantee spending against budget and work plan
  • Make decision on releasing payments contingent upon grantee monitoring

Policy Function Performance Indicators

  • Create grant monitoring and compliance policies that align with organizational policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
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Phase III: Post-GrantDetermine Success In Meeting Goals & Objectives

Review grant to determine grantee performance and compliance with grant agreement.

Direct Service Function Performance Indicators

  • Collect, review and disseminate reports and supporting materials
  • Review requirements for completeness
  • Collect missing requirement information
  • Determine if requirements were satisfied
  • Document the review and findings
  • Communicate grantee activity to internal and external stakeholders
  • Communicate with grantee about the grant closing

Management Function Performance Indicators

  • Incorporate perspective of the grantee and their operating environment into the review and close-out process
  • Analyze whether intended outcomes were achieved
  • Verify grantmaker is in compliance with internal policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
  • Analyze grantee spending against budget and work plan
  • Determine post-grant action

Policy Function Performance Indictors

  • Create grant close-out policies that align with organizational policies, U.S. law, and applicable donor requirements
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Communications

Listen to others and communicate effectively.

Performance Indicators:

  • Translate technical and policy information into clear and concise content
  • Provide diplomatic and accurate customer service and technical assistance to applicants, grantees, staff, volunteers and external stakeholders
  • Express ideas clearly and concisely in written and verbal communications
  • Tailor communications to effectively reach intended audiences
  • Listen with the intent to understand
  • Give and receive constructive feedback
  • Ensure that regular communication takes place within area of responsibility
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Promote equity, diversity and inclusion in grantmaking practices.

Performance Indicators:

  • Foster an environment of valuing, encouraging, and supporting differences
  • Incorporate diverse perspectives in decision-making
  • Eliminate barriers to equity, diversity and inclusion by applying an equity lens to reveal biasness in an issue or situation.
  • Communicate issues of race, class, gender, power and other forms of oppression or isms.
  • Communicate in a culturally appropriate and inclusive manner
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Ethics, Integrity & Accountability

Act with integrity and accountability.

Performance Indicators:

  • Act honestly and transparently
  • Treat others fairly, equitably and with respect
  • Approach relationships with applicants and grantees with sensitivity to the power inequity
  • Take responsibility for and seek to remedy mistakes
  • Follow applicable codes of conduct and/or standards and established policies and procedures
  • Anticipate, identify and mitigate breaches of confidentiality and security
  • Anticipate, identify and mitigate ethical dilemmas, including conflicts of interests.
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Financial Management

Implement financial policies and controls to ensure effective and efficient deployment of financial resources for grantmaking.

Performance Indicators:

  • Keep current on and follow fiscal guidelines, regulations, principles, and standards
  • Adhere to internal controls that detect and prevent misuse of funds
  • Seek ways to improve internal financial controls
  • Apply creative solutions to unusual circumstances
  • Plan and monitor grantmaking budget
  • Monitor and report financial data to drive effective decision making
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Knowledge Management

Capture and apply knowledge to promote learning and improvement.

Performance Indicators:

  • Evaluate grant results to inform future grantmaking and funding priorities
  • Document lessons learned and apply that knowledge to improve the grant making process
  • Establish and follow document retention processes
  • Identify and share knowledge and resources and encourage the same of others
  • Foster a culture of transparency
  • Foster a culture that encourages the sharing of information
  • Establish systems for data collection, management, analysis, and sharing
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Process & Change Management

Plan and monitor processes efficiently and effectively to contribute to grantmaker's strategic goals and grantee’s success.

Performance Indicators:

  • Continually assess efficiency and effectiveness of grants processes and make improvements as necessary
  • Use sound judgement to balance efficiency and effectiveness
  • Anticipate and be responsive to changes in the environment
  • Assess effectiveness of processes (e.g., collecting feedback from internal and external stakeholders)
  • Make timely, informed decisions that take into account the facts, goals, constraints, resources and risks
  • Inform others involved in processes about new developments or plans
  • Approach work collaboratively
  • Document processes as a resource to the organization
  • Establish goals, plan work, track and communicate progress for specific projects
  • Anticipate and manage changes, as needed
  • Apply creative solutions to unusual or challenging circumstances
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Staff & Volunteer Development

Build the capacity of staff and volunteers to be successful in their grantmaking role.

Performance Indicators:

  • Identify gaps in learning and provide opportunities to address those gaps
  • Design and provide training on grant making processes
  • Provide staff and volunteers with new experiences to develop their capabilities
  • Provide guidance and feedback to help staff and volunteers accomplish a task, solve a problem, or strengthen knowledge, skills, and competencies to improve personal and organizational performance
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Strategic Management

Promote organizational mission and goals and inspire colleagues to achieve them.

Performance Indicators:

  • Embrace and support the organization’s mission and goals
  • Motivate internal and external stakeholders to support the organization’s mission and goals
  • Serve as an influential voice for grantmaking strategies and initiatives within the organization
  • Align grantmaking operations with the grantmaking program’s and organization’s mission and goals
  • Develop goals for grantmaking operations
  • Advocate for sufficient resources to be allocated for the grantsmaking function
  • Advocate for organizational policies that align with and support the grantmaking function
  • Foster an environment that values new ideas and innovation
  • Design processes to manage changes in the grantmaking systems
  • Conduct long term planning to ensure success and sustainability of organization’s grantmaking
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Cross-Cutting Competency:Technology Management

Apply technology solutions to grantmaking to support grantmaker, applicant, and grantee success.

Performance Indicators:

  • Keep current on new technology
  • Assess the need for and recommend new technology solutions
  • Lead or support implementation of technology solutions
  • Align technology solutions with effective processes
  • Develop and maintain processes that ensure integrity of data
  • Integrate security best practices into technology tools
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