Special Analysis 14-04
June 11, 2014
Summary 

A state that chooses to create a grants office typically does so with the primary goals of managing and maximizing federal grant funds. While these are important objectives, the benefits of a grants office extend beyond these dollar-driven missions.

  • A grants office can ensure that the state‚Äôs policy goals are understood by state agency personnel who are best-positioned to pursue grant funds to help meet those goals.

  • For state agency staff, there will be a place to turn when federal and state auditors ask compliance questions related to federal grants. Compliance rules are complicated, and in 2014 all administrative circulars are being replaced by new guidance. Even experts will have to update their grants management skills

  • A grants office can give local governments and nonprofits a single place to go to identify grant opportunities from all funding sources, and to receive technical assistance.

  • Local governments, nonprofits, and others can work with a grants expert in each state agency who can provide subject-specific advice. They can also identify people in their own communities already working in the grants field who are potential partners or resources for technical assistance.

  • A grants office can provide free training for anyone, not just staff in state agencies, on how to find, win, and manage grants. By providing this training, peer interaction will increase across agency and jurisdictional lines, further improving the odds of program success.

  • Congressional and legislative staff can benefit by having a place to direct constituents seeking advice on where to look for funding.

  • A grants office creates a pool of experts across state agencies to tap when a new priority requires significant grant writing (e.g., Affordable Care Act [ACA]) or grants management services (e.g., American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA]).

  • A grants office can be part of a system for reviewing requests for letters of support on grant applications.