The Role of the Grant Lifecycle Manager

The Role of the Grant Lifecycle Manager

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Every project needs a leader, and the grant lifecycle manager guides grant-seeking teams to success. This person facilitates a wide range of tasks across the entire grant lifecycle, helping to secure funds and effectively further their organization’s mission. Whether you’re considering a position as a grant manager or want to improve your knowledge of the grant process, our guide on the role of the grant lifecycle manager will show you exactly what it entails.

What Is a Grant Lifecycle Manager?

As the name implies, a grant lifecycle manager oversees the entire lifecycle of a grant. Some organizations will call this person a grants manager, grant administrator or award manager. You’ll find these professionals in grant-seeking organizations, such as nonprofits and state, federal, local and tribal governments.

Their primary goal is to secure funding that supports the organization’s mission. Within that goal are many smaller requirements, ranging from building relationships with other entities to managing a team of employees and volunteers.

The grant lifecycle manager typically reports to a high-level professional, such as a chief financial officer or director. In smaller organizations, the tasks of a grant lifecycle manager might fall to another professional, like a program director.

A grant lifecycle manager covers all stages of grant-seeking, including:

  • Pre-award: During the pre-award phase, grant-seeking organizations must find promising opportunities through grants that align with their goals and capabilities. Then, they must complete the application on time and track its status.
  • Award: The award stage mostly focuses on logistics, including corresponding with grantors, signing agreements and receiving funds.
  • Post-award: After disbursement, the grant manager ensures a smooth implementation plan for compliant and effective use of funds. The grantee must monitor and evaluate outcomes and budgets, submit reports, work with auditors and close out the grant.

Grant managers might also analyze the overall process to find areas for improvement, like process changes or new technology.

Job Duties of a Grant Lifecycle Manager

The grant lifecycle manager’s job duties include many elements requiring a diverse skill set. Below are some of the primary job duties of a grant manager.

Oversee the Entire Grants Management Process

Supervising the stages of grant management requires an overarching view of the timeline and staff. A grant manager will organize the different steps into an actionable plan, oversee a budget, help the team succeed and evaluate the program’s outcomes.

They shape the team’s direction and decide which strategy to pursue. This person may also serve as the face of the organization for tasks like accepting an award, communicating with grantors and signing documents.

Oversee the Entire Grants Management Process

Some supervisory duties that fall to the grant lifecycle manager may include:

  • Determining strategy: A grant manager often takes responsibility for decisions, so they may need to balance competing priorities. For example, they might weigh the costs of hiring a new team member with the potential benefits of receiving more grants. Since they oversee so many aspects of grant management, this person can make informed decisions with a broad perspective on the organization’s needs, goals and current standing.
  • Managing the project: The grant lifecycle manager provides leadership and guidance throughout the project. They must supply the team with appropriate resources, like transformative technology solutions and training. Grant managers might also conduct some HR tasks like assigning projects and making schedules.
  • Evaluating program performance: The grant manager explores the team’s success by tracking awards and denials and analyzing data. For instance, they might assess which factors lead to more wins or explore ways to improve outcomes with awarded funds.

By taking care of the nitty-gritty details, like deadlines and requirements, a grant manager paves the way for their team to focus on deeper projects, like writing a compelling story and crafting the perfect proposal. This role provides the foundation and support for the entire team.

When grant management is a one-person operation, these tasks help the individual set themselves up for success. For instance, having a clear strategy and deadlines can allow a grant professional to switch gears and focus fully on the writing process.

Meet Requirements for Specific Grants and Regulations

Applying for multiple grants means juggling many requirements. Grantors can have diverse demands that vary between programs. Grant-seekers must also meet regulatory stipulations, which can vary at state and federal levels and come from organizations like the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The grant manager stays on top of these requirements, including documentation, deadlines and registration demands. For example, federal grants ask applicants to meet the OMB’s Uniform Guidance, which sets a standard to reduce administrative burden and risk for fraud and waste.

Some organizations must meet demands from industry-specific legislation, such as the Education Department General Administrative Regulations. Individual grants add further requirements, like specific outcome measurements and reporting frequencies.

These requirements apply throughout the grant lifecycle. During the pre-award phase, grant managers ensure the proposal has all the required information while being tailored to the selection criteria of a specific grant. After receiving an award, they secure compliance in areas like disbursement, expense reporting and progress reporting.

Meeting these demands helps reduce risk for the organization, preventing lost awards or fines. A grant lifecycle manager may also negotiate the details of a grant’s terms and conditions, such as reporting frequencies or budgetary restrictions.

Monitor and Report on Program Activities

Grant lifecycle managers monitor, evaluate and report on several aspects of a grant, including outcomes and budgets. They collect and present information to:

  • Grantors: Grantors expect updates on the program, so the grant manager submits financial and programmatic reports. The grant manager may meet with grantors for on-site visits and respond to audit requests.
  • Internal stakeholders: A grant lifecycle manager often provides reports and updates to internal entities, like board members, accounting teams and executive leaders. This information keeps everyone on the same page and may help drive strategy decisions.
  • Regulators: Regulating bodies could request documentation or audits to ensure compliance. The grant manager responds to these demands, promptly supplying materials and corresponding with officials.
  • The public: Sharing grant outcomes and insights with the public can help offer transparency and build trust. Grant lifecycle managers might talk to journalists or create reports to share on the organization’s website or social media channels.
Monitor and Report on Program Activities

The grant manager also sets the stage for effective reporting by establishing processes for measuring outcomes and monitoring finances.

Manage Relationships With Grantors

Maintaining good relationships with grantors is crucial for long-term success. Meeting requirements already supports healthy partnerships with grantors, but grant managers can build stronger connections through regular communications. They might send updates to the grantor or thank them in press releases, for instance.

By fostering good relationships, a grant manager can boost their chances of success the next time the grantor opens applications. A history of positive exchanges and successful programs shows the grantor that an organization is easy to work with and capable of meeting the grant’s objectives. Relationship-building is especially important for recurring grant programs.

Important Skills for a Grants Manager

With so many tasks to accomplish, grant managers need a broad set of skills, such as:

  • Writing and editing skills: Strong analytic and persuasive writing skills help grant managers secure awards, and they may need to edit submissions from other staff members.
  • Communication skills: As they are in a management role, this professional should also have skills in spoken communication to work with employees, grantors, regulators, stakeholders and others.
  • Strategic thinking and critical analysis: Grant lifecycle managers have many decisions to make. Strategic thinking and critical analysis can help them evaluate many different factors to make informed, effective choices.
  • Problem-solving: Similarly, this grant professional must know how to solve problems that show up, often under tight deadlines. Staying cool under pressure and managing priorities are essential.
  • Leadership: Grant management usually involves a team, and the grant manager helps the team succeed. For instance, they might encourage collaboration, solve conflicts or help employees grow in their careers.
  • Organization: Juggling the work of a grants management lifecycle requires excellent organizational skills. This person should be detail-oriented and excel at prioritizing the most important tasks.
  • Technical: Being a strong applicant means meeting the grantmaker’s requirements. Submission errors, poor communication or delays due to technical issues can impede those efforts. While a grant manager isn’t an IT expert, they should have a good understanding of technology.
  • Project management: Grant managers rely on many project management skills, such as adapting to new situations and working efficiently. They should understand processes like data collection, scheduling and working with deliverables.
  • Financial management: Budgeting and accounting are both significant parts of a grant lifecycle manager’s workday. These skills can help ensure accurate and effective financial management.

Building these skills usually calls for a history of experience in the field, specifically grant writing, fundraising or compliance. Most organizations also look for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an area like public relations, nonprofit administration, business, finance or journalism. The diverse job duties of a grant lifecycle manager allow people to enter the field from many backgrounds.

Resources Used in the Grants Management Lifecycle

Grant managers use several resources to support their day-to-day workflows and achieve the best chances of success. Since these resources usually cost time and money, using them effectively is an important part of optimizing the grant management process.

1. Training

A solid understanding of the grant management process can help team members perform their jobs well. A grant lifecycle manager might implement training activities to help their staff excel and boost win rates. These trainings could range from casual meetings run by the grant manager to formal training events and certifications.

Some topics covered in grants management training might include regulatory and legislative requirements, writing skills and performance measurements. Teams often benefit from training in various parts of the process.

2. Grant Databases and Research Tools

Before you can apply for grants, you’ll need to find them. Grant managers often turn to grant databases to help them uncover opportunities. For example, the United States government runs, which compiles grant opportunities for government-funded programs and projects. You can find similar websites for grants outside of government. Many industry organizations and local or state governments also list grant opportunities on their websites.

Grant Databases and Research Tools

After finding potential programs, grant lifecycle managers might research potential grantors to ensure a good fit between the two organizations. They use resources like, which allows you to dive into historical data on federal award spending and learn more about the funding organizations. You can find tools like these built into grant management software, too.

3. News and Updates

Since a grant manager takes responsibility for compliance and regulations, keeping up with changes in legislation is a crucial component of this person’s work. It’s especially valuable if applying for grants across many jurisdictions. Grant managers might follow industry news publications and keep track of correspondence from regulating agencies.

Having a pulse on industry trends can also help grant lifecycle managers gear strategies and tactics toward more effective initiatives, such as a popular program that can garner significant support.

4. Internal Resources

Grant management teams will likely use the same pieces of information in repeated grant applications. Instead of searching for these details each time, grant managers can compile resource libraries. Some examples of these resources include prior outcomes, financial reports, templates and photos or videos from previous programs.

5. Grant Management Software

Like many modern business activities, the modern grant management lifecycle is mostly digital. A grant manager often uses a dedicated software platform to track and organize this detailed process. Technology facilitates these steps and creates valuable opportunities for automation, which can significantly reduce the workload of grant managers.

Some of the functions grant managers might look for in their grant management software include:

  • Planning systems and timeline tracking: Upcoming due date alerts, status tracking and collaboration tools can help facilitate a smooth process and foster a good relationship with grantors.
  • Communication tracking: Instead of trying to piece together various phone calls, emails and texts, grant managers use communication tracking tools to compile these correspondences in one place. This feature also allows multiple team members to review communications sent by other employees and stay up-to-date.
  • Reporting tools: Robust reporting supports grant lifecycle managers in measuring data and providing visual representations of information. Managers can access real-time insights into their programs and generate sharable reports.
  • Auditing: Grant management software provides traceability by securely logging years of activities. Easy reporting and support for federal requirements provide quick compliance.

Features like these are essential for efficient, effective grant management lifecycles. They can add hours of extra time to a grant manager’s week and unlock benefits across every stage, ultimately earning more grants and advancing the organization’s mission.

With the right resources, grant lifecycle managers can successfully navigate the many diverse requirements of the job and help secure funding for their organizations.

How IntelliGrants® Supports Grant Managers

Grant managers have a lot of duties to handle at once. From analyzing performance to leading a team, their work requires the right resources. We built IntelliGrants® IGX to support these professionals at every step of the grant management lifecycle. IntelliGrants IGX is an intuitive, highly configurable platform enabling more efficient, effective and traceable processes.

In IntelliGrants IGX, grant lifecycle managers can track applications, centralize correspondence, access robust reports and much more — all from a secure and audit-ready solution. At IGX Solutions, we have over 35 years of experience in the field, and 98% of our clients stick with us. They come from industries that range from government and nonprofit to education and healthcare.

Book your demo today to learn more about IntelliGrants IGX and its role in a grant lifecycle manager’s workflow.

How IntelliGrants® Supports Grant Managers

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