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PEAK Grantmaking

Creating the Agile Grants Management Team

Today’s environmental, political, and talent management challenges make organizational agility critical to grantmaking. Agile organizations are able to engage cross-functional teams, focus and re-focus staff as demand changes, and coordinate people across projects and departments—productively and efficiently. Personalized learning, based on competency models such as PEAK Grantmaking’s Grants Management Professional Competency Model, make organizational agility possible by ensuring that teams are prepared to serve their organization’s grantees and missions effectively.

A competency model defines the role each team member needs to perform as her or his contribution to the organization’s strategy. The model also describes what success looks like for each role.

Once team leaders understand the functions their staff members should perform, they can determine where skill gaps exist and how to close those gaps. This process is employee development, and when directly mapped to a competency model, it produces competency-based learning.

For example, if one component in a competency model calls for assessing an applicant’s financial health, a training course or checklist for a financial health assessment would help staff meet the organization’s skill and knowledge expectations in this area.

Grantmaking organizations focused on organizational agility use PEAK Grantmaking’s Grants Management Professional Competency Model to assess the capacity and nimbleness of their teams’ members. Leaders at these organizations review the competencies to identify where their team members possess solid skills and where they need additional experience or training. To fill the gaps, some team leaders redistributed responsibilities among staff—in some cases moving responsibilities to different departments—and others created a case to hire additional staff, while engaging current staff in professional development planning. Regardless of the tactics to achieve agility, the foundation is understanding competencies.