5 Vital Topics for Today’s Grant Managers

May 27, 2024

Grant management is increasingly influenced by advances in technology, the strategic use of data, the integration of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) principles, and the increasing prevalence of remote work. And as always, funders have to keep compliance at the forefront of their minds.

These factors not only redefine how grants are managed but also challenge traditional practices, pushing the sector towards more innovative and inclusive approaches.

This article explores these critical topics and how each is transforming grant management and improving outcomes.

1. Technology in Grant Management

The adoption of digitisation and advanced technology is transforming grant management by streamlining processes, enhancing communication, and increasing accessibility to funds.

For example, the government reported that their Find a Grant service has improved access to grant funding, centralising the advertisement of most general grants. They expect the service to have advertised a total of £40bn grants across 15 departments between 2023 and 2025.

Cloud-based solutions are particularly crucial, offering scalable and secure environments for storing sensitive grant-related data (including financial and personal information), while providing grant managers with access from any location.

Other notable developments include the use of AI bots for grant management, which is somewhat thought-provoking.

2. Data-Driven Decision Making

Data is a goldmine that organisations can tap into to enhance their decision-making processes and discover trends that may not be visible otherwise.

Collecting data effectively is also vital for transparency. The government reported that their Government Grants Information System (GGiS) has improved the quality and completeness of grants data, enabling them to publish accurate statistics about annual grant spend, which contributes to their Transparency Agenda. They also state that the Department of Education provides the largest volume of data.

Going back to using data for decision making, analytics provides beneficial insights throughout the grant management lifecycle. Below are just a few examples of the insights funders can gain.

Planning and the Application Stage

Here, data analysis can identify current funding trends and historical success rates, which helps prioritise grant opportunities that best align with organisational goals.

The application process can also be improved to create a positive experience for grant seekers. For example, by analysing trends relating to previous application processes, organisations can refine application guidelines. This might involve identifying areas where applicants frequently struggle and adjusting instructions or requirements to be clearer or more aligned with the intended outcomes of the grant.

The Review Stage

Applying analytics during this stage can include using historical data to set benchmarks for successful applications, providing reviewers with a data-driven framework for evaluating new submissions.

Funders can also use analytics to detect bias in past review processes and adjust criteria to ensure equity and fairness in future schemes. 


Real-time dashboards can continuously reveal the progress and expenditure of ongoing projects, allowing for immediate corrective actions if deviations occur.

Also, measuring ongoing projects against predefined performance metrics helps assess their effectiveness so that grant managers can make informed adjustments to project scopes, if necessary.

Efficiency Tracking and Continuous Improvement

Efficient tracking of how personnel, time, and financial resources are used throughout the grant management process is essential. Analysis can then reveal areas where resources are over or underutilised, providing an opportunity to adjust accordingly. This maximises productivity and minimises waste at every stage of the grant process.

3. Equality and Inclusion

Equality, inclusion, and the prevention of unconscious bias continue to be central themes in grant management. Funders are implementing practices that promote inclusivity, from application to the review process and beyond, and programmes are increasingly being designed to ensure that funding opportunities are accessible to all, particularly underrepresented and marginalised communities.

For example, in a recent article on how government policy is shaping UK grantmaking,  we discussed the UKRI’s funding allocation for the next few years and touched upon their strategic objectives.

Well, they also have a dedicated EDI strategy that sets out several objectives, including to increase the diversity of people able to apply for, participate in and benefit from their investments in research and innovation.

Part of this involves including a diverse range of individuals and perspectives in their governance structures, as well as improving their EDI data collection and analytics procedures.

How to Support EDI Objectives in Grant Management

As well as bringing diverse perspectives into teams and key management roles, funders can actively identify grant opportunities that support diverse communities and initiatives, ensuring equitable access to funding.

Community engagement is also vital, helping funders to truly understand the needs of underrepresented and marginalised groups, ensuring their voices are heard and considered in project implementations.

Again, data is essential here. Aside from detecting bias in past schemes, as mentioned, funders can also use analytics to assess the inclusivity of grant applications and outreach efforts, with a view to remove barriers for underrepresented groups.

Our grant management software actually has an EDI feature, which recently had an important update. The tool captures anonymous EDI data in accordance with the GDPR, analyses the demographics of Flexigrant users, and monitors progress towards EDI targets.  

We also added the EDI data table to Insights, our analytics tool. This improves visibility into EDI data, making it easier to make evidence-based decisions.

4. Grant Compliance and Risk Management

Compliance is a complex and burdensome, yet essential part of grant management. Laws to comply with include the Data Protection Act, the Equality Act, the UK Bribery Act, various financial regulations, and for charities, the Charity Commission’s Guidelines.

Risk Management for Compliance Purposes

Managing compliance-related risks in grant management is essential to ensure that both funders and grantees adhere to all relevant regulations and standards. Here’s how organisations can effectively manage compliance risks.

Identifying and Assessing Compliance Risks

The initial step involves identifying all potential compliance risks associated with the grant. These vary based on the type of grant, the regulatory environment, and so on.

Common risks include poor data security practises; inaccurate, incomplete, or untimely reporting; and the misuse of funds. 

After identifying all potential risks the specific organisations/scheme faces, they must assess the likelihood and impact of each one in order to prioritise them, which would typically be done using a standard risk assessment framework.

Organisations can then direct resources to mitigating the risks that have the potential to cause the most detrimental effects.

Risk Mitigation

To mitigate risks, funders must develop and implement robust compliance frameworks that include:

  • Clear policies and procedures: Establishing strict guidelines for conducting all aspects of grant management in a compliant manner.
  • Training: Regular training sessions for all employees involved in grant management to ensure they understand compliance requirements and the importance of adhering to them.
  • Regular audits: Implementing routine audits of grant-related activities and finances; this helps to identify any areas of concern early on – while there’s time to take action.
  • Transparent reporting mechanisms: Creating and maintaining reliable reporting systems to document the use of funds and project outcomes accurately and transparently. Not only does this provide continuous oversight and early insight into potential concerns, it also makes it easier to actually provide the required evidence to the relevant bodies.
  • Reviews: Post-project reviews or periodic evaluations during the lifecycle of the grant help assess the effectiveness of compliance risk management strategies.
  • Using grant management software: Using specialised software can greatly enhance an organisation’s ability to manage compliance risks. Such tools automate many parts of the compliance process, provide reminders for reporting deadlines, ensure proper documentation, and help maintain an audit trail.

5. Remote Work and Virtual Collaboration

The shift to remote work and the integration of virtual collaboration tools have changed grant management practises forever. This has brought about several substantial benefits for the sector.

Enhanced Efficiency and Flexibility

Video conferencing tools, cloud based software, and real-time document collaboration platforms have become essential in maintaining the continuity and efficiency of grant management processes.

These tools allow team members to collaborate effectively regardless of their locations. This ensures that decision-making is swift and that project timelines are adhered to, enhancing the overall productivity of teams.

Having these systems in place also makes it easier to manage international grants successfully.

Expanded Talent Acquisition

Another significant advantage of the shift to remote work is that funders are no longer limited to hiring close to home and instead, can attract the best candidates from around the globe.

This is particularly beneficial where specialised skills in areas such as international law or specific research fields are needed. It also makes it easier to develop diverse teams.


Grant funders have many tools available that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their processes. From grant management systems to analytics to virtual collaboration tools, they can be better equipped than ever to continually improve their operations on all fronts.

Aside from improving efficiency and reducing admin costs, these technologies help funders achieve several other key objectives – ensuring EDI, staying compliant, and attracting international talent.

To find out more about how our market leading software can provide all of the above, contact us today to request a demo.

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