OmniStar Insights

How to Manage Grantor Grantee Relationships

Developing a genuine relationship with the grantees is an essential aspect of grant-making as it gives grantees the confidence to communicate honestly, makes them feel valued, respected, and heard, eventually leading to better outcomes.

Funding organisations that make building strong Grantor Grantee Relationships one of their priorities are more likely to achieve their desired goals in a timely fashion and make a long-term impact compared to others.

The relationship between the grantor and grantee is similar to a partnership and the ability to comfortably work with each other is one of the key ingredients when collaborating towards accomplishing shared goals. In order to create better solutions for society, it is crucial that funders leverage the knowledge and insights of the charities they work with. Establishing and nurturing these relationships no doubt demands a significant amount of time and resources, but all these efforts seem worthwhile when they deliver positive results.

What Is the Grantor Grantee Relationship?

Before understanding how to build a strong Grantor Grantee Relationship it is important to understand what it actually means.

As a funder, the outcomes grantees produce are also your outcomes—they are making a difference for the people and causes your organisation cares about the most. As a result, successfully engaging with your grantees is a key step on your path from ambitions to concrete results.

Every relationship is unique and the expectation one has from their relationship would usually differ from person to person however, there are few common attributes most people agree upon such as mutual respect, trust, and two-way communication. Just like every other relationship the grantor grantee relationships are also built on trust and require communication to take place from both ends in order to achieve outcomes beneficial to each stakeholder involved.

The Importance of Strong Relationships

By providing holistic support to grantees, the grantors can successfully make a positive impact in the community.

When the grantor takes interest in the grantees’ life by making attempts to understand grantees’ needs, where they come from, and asks a lot of questions it helps them gain a clear understanding of the grantees’ goals and whether they align with that of the funding organisations goals and objectives.

The better the quality of the grantor grantee relationship the better is the engagement in the grant management process. Feeling valued and respected boosts the confidence and morale of the grantees and helps them work with more sincerity towards achieving the agreed targets.

The key to successful grant management and achieving successful outcomes lies within a good, strong relationship that is built on trust.

How to Successfully Manage Grantor Grantee Relationships

Announcing grants, assessing, shortlisting, and selecting applications, writing a cheque, and reviewing reports are some of the common tasks for any funding organisation, however, how many of these organisations take the extra step to truly support the change they desire to see in the community. There is a huge possibility that you, as a funder and your grantee could prove to be each other’s most valuable resource.

Asking the right questions at the right time and seeking answers to questions like- What is missing? What sort of additional resources -financial or legal expertise can be provided by you to help the grantee? assists in the smooth administration of the grant.

Engaging in open conversation with the grantees about the challenges, or simply seeking feedback to learn about their opinion helps in breaking down barriers and makes them feel welcome improving Grantor Grantee Relationship along the way.

Here are the main elements that you should consider when managing Grantor Grantee Relationships:

Clear & Aligned Goals

Goals – the first and foremost step to start with while working towards building a strong grantor grantee relationship.

Understand the priorities of your grantee, areas they need support in, be clear about goals and expectations with your grantee, and ensure these are aligned. It rarely happens that the goals and strategies of grantees perfectly align with that of the funding organisation right from the very beginning however, gaining a mutual understanding can assist in decoding what each stakeholder is trying to achieve.

Establishing Trust

Trust is the basis for all relationships and becomes more crucial when money is involved. Both grantee and the grantor should be able to trust each other throughout the stages of the grant lifecycle. Trust is a sign of a strong and healthy relationship and thus requires efforts from both parties.

As a funder, you can look for ways to connect with your grantees on topics independent of the grant-making process, visit the grantees’ facility, host a session or two to freely engage with them, and provide them an opportunity to ask any questions. Similarly, the grantees too should keep the grantors in the loop whether through some coffee catchups or through some quick updates over the preferred mode of communication (call or email) to keep the relationship going smoothly.

Interactions & Communication

Communication is the key and helps in bridging the gap between individuals. The right amount of interaction between the grantor grantee can free their relationship of many misunderstandings and doubts. Grantees aren’t always clear about how often the grantor is willing to be contacted and, thus it is always a good idea to discuss your availability right at the start of the relationship.

Each grantee is unique and requires a different level of attention which makes it important for grantors to evaluate and identify the needs of the grantee and the points they would most appreciate your presence. One of the most common points at which a grantee would require open communication from the grantor includes the time when they are drafting their grant application to ensure it aligns with the grantor’s priorities. Stronger bonds are formed when grant-making officials clearly communicate their aim and discuss with grantees how they fit or do not fit into the organisation’s goals and objectives before receiving their proposals.

Regular Reporting

Reporting requirements should be clearly designed and discussed depending on grant size and risk involved. It is essential to achieve a fine balance and understand when and how often reports should be asked for, asking a grantee to submit quarterly or bi-yearly reports may sound more reasonable in a case where bigger funding and risk is involved compared to small, low-risk grants as grantees spend long hours composing and finalising reports.

The reports received should meet its purpose of reflecting and learning from grant management work completed and not just be collected for the files. Learning from grant-making using reports is as important as offering those grants.

Manage Your Grants with OmniStar

OmniStar understands the importance of building a strong Grantor Grantee Relationship and allows you to focus on aspects that are actually worth your time and efforts. It simplifies and automates repetitive grant management tasks, to assist you throughout the different stages of the grant lifecycle.

Some of the most useful OmniStar features which assist in making your grant management process seamless include the resubmission feature which provides you with the platform you need for communication rather than leaving you dependent on emails and calls. The resubmission feature enables you to request updates, or any clarification on the information submitted by grantees as well as keep a record of the same just within the same system, the reporting functionality provides valuable project insights at your fingertips, and the flexibility to access grants anywhere, anytime only makes your work easier.

Get in touch with an OmniStar expert today to discover how you can manage communication in a better way and increase your grant-making impact.





Are you planning to offer grants to the community? Do you know How to Design a Grant Program?
Distributing grant money is simple—but ensuring that charities and research organisations spend the money effectively is challenging. Therefore, a well-designed grant program becomes essential as it brings you closer to ensuring that the grant funding benefits the cause it was aside to assist.
Designing a grant program can be quite a task and puts forward endless questions, as there are many evaluation points to consider. The team involved in developing the grant program must make various decisions such as determining what information to ask from grant seekers, what the terms and conditions of the grant program should be, what the duration and scope should be, to name a few. Often there can be confusion around which tasks need to be completed and bring the whole grantmaking process to a halt and leave the stakeholders- internal and external clueless about their next step. Therefore, designing your grant program is a crucial step to consider and undertake.
When you follow a well-established plan, the process for designing a grant program becomes less complex. In this article, we take through our key steps to successfully develop a grant program.

What is A Grant Program?

Grant programs are designed to support projects that will benefit certain sections of the population or community. Grant giving is one of how the government, not for profits, and other foundations funds different ideas and initiatives contributing towards the larger good. There are different types of grants available, and the grantees can access and apply these through various governmental, not-for-profit, and other private organisation websites offering grants.

Grant programs are the broader set of activities that sit around the grant funds. They are activities designed to ensure that the grant monies are being spent effectively against the cause or issue they support. 

Grant programs usually will require that the grantee provide regular reports to demonstrate how they are spending the funding provided to support the cause it aims to help.

How Do You Design a Grant Program?

Understanding how to put together a grant program is an important step when offering a grant, although knowing where to start can be an intimidating task. So, how do you design a grant program? Some of the steps discussed below may prove helpful when undergoing the job of delivering a grants program.

  • Start with developing the grant programs aims and deliverables-

The very first step in designing a grant program is defining the primary aims and objectives of your organisation’s broader vision and mission. From there, you need to consider what the goals of your program are. It is essential to consider how the critical objective of your grant program aligns with this and what you expect it to achieve. Map out what you want to accomplish through the program and get your internal stakeholders on board. 

  • Decide upon the grant criteria and guidelines-

Now that you have a clear idea of what you are looking to achieve with the distribution of grant funds. The second step to designing a grant program is to compose the grant program’s essential guidelines and standards. The program standards should be transparent and straightforward. Your policies should assist grant applicants in understanding how and when they are eligible to receive grant funding. Include all essential details around the terms and conditions, purpose, scope, reporting requirements, and grant eligibility.

  • Establish funding details –

Another essential consideration to keep in mind when you design a grant program is to decide whether you want the funding to be for a single grant cycle or a multi-year grant cycle. Considering whether you want to direct all the funds towards a single grantee working towards a more significant initiative or do you want to fund multiple grantees, and thereby numerous projects could help you determine what the best approach would be here. Other details that will need to be determined when designing a grant program are to think about how you would like the financial reports to align with their grant progress. During this stage of developing your grant program, it is crucial to work with your internal stakeholders to establish all the finer funding details. Determining this information early on is a critical step to ensure the successful delivery of a grants program.

  • Design the application form-

Now that you have gone through designing a grant program, you must develop the grant program application form in a grant management solution. The grant application form needs to strike a delicate balance between asking for just the right amount of information from grantees and not being so arduous that no one applies for the grant. On the one hand, too much information may restrict grantees from applying for the grant, while failing to request enough information may create difficulty when it comes time to picking the most exemplary applications.

  • Prepare your program delivery team-

Once the application form is complete, you need to determine and clearly define the decision-makers in the ongoing management of the grant program, articulate their responsibilities; provide any required training or knowledge around delivering the grant program to all members involved. Resolve doubts or questions the program delivery team would have.

  • Decide on the promotion strategy-

Now, you have reached the final step in designing a grant program. You must decide how you will promote your grant program to the public to ensure the not-for-profit organisations and community at large is aware of the grant you are offering and the initiative you want to support. You can use your organisation’s website, newsletter, or local media to describe your program and answer any questions.

Following the above outlined basic steps will ensure you have successfully planned and prepared enough.

The Importance of a Well-Designed Grants Program

It may seem that developing a grants program is a relatively straightforward task; however, looking at the steps above gives us an idea of the complexity and effort that goes into designing a grant program. .Taking the time to design your grants program thoroughly helps you mitigate the risk associated with a poorly design grant program. It also helps with the ongoing management of grants and ensures successful outcomes. Below are more of the benefits associated with a well-designed grants program:

The benefits of a well-designed program:

  • Provides you with ample time to think about how your grant program’s objective aligns with your organisation’s vision and mission and allows you to make any required changes.
  • Serve as an action plan for the implementation team to successfully follow the process without being worried about their next steps.
  • Removes ambiguity for both internal and external stakeholders and prevents issues caused by miscommunication.
  • The documents, guidelines, and strategies developed during program design act as a go-to kit for the team involved in implementing the grant program. They provide clear expectations around what is required and who is responsible.
  • Act as a point of reference when designing other grant programs in the future, offers a chance to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and develop a better program.


Now you should have all the information required to know precisely how to design a grant program. Developing a checklist will help indicate the steps you have completed and the ones that still require your attention.

Planning is the foundation for successful, cost-effective, and responsible grant management.

It is essential for funders to identify and resolve any implementation or grant delivery challenges right at the beginning. Collaboration with governmental and non-governmental entities and seeking insights from grantees can prove to be helpful during the grant creation and designing stage.

A well-designed program will give you the confidence to embark on your giving journey with a fresh and positive mindset and help you make the desired impact.

OmniStar Supports Successful Grant Program Delivery 

A grant management system like OmniStar reduces the administrative burden and cost associated with grants management. It successfully assists you through all the stages of your grant life by simplifying complex processes, automating repetitive tasks, freeing you to concentrate your grantmaking efforts on what is essential.

Get in touch with an OmniStar expert today to discover how you can transform your current processes and increase your grantmaking impact.

Starting a new grantmaking program is both exciting and daunting. There are so many social problems to be addressed, and so many possible ways of addressing them. Designing a grant program is undeniably complex and requires time and thoughtfulness.

Many funders spend a considerable time thinking about the issues they hope to address, and an inadequate amount of time up front thinking through the impact they would like to have with their grantmaking and how to allocate their resources to achieve their goals. Although there is no single “right way” to develop a strong program, considering the grantmaking strategy behind the program design will inevitably increase the likelihood that an effective program will be developed.
A Grantmaking strategy is a purpose driven framework which enables grantors to design, implement and evaluate their granting programs. The plan consists of information around the issues you want to address through your grant, your long-term goal, and the steps to take to meet your goals.

Why Are Grantmaking Strategies Important?

Bringing about change in the community through grantmaking is a complex process, and to ensure that it is impactful, requires a well-designed grantmaking strategy.

A well-designed grantmaking strategy will help-
• In keeping stakeholders informed about the mission, focus, and goals of grantmaking as well as make available tools to track progress.
• In providing a clear communication pathway between internal and external stakeholders
• Consistently review your steps and evolve in your grantmaking efforts.

Organisations will already have some ideas on which issues, organisations, and locations they want to support through their grantmaking efforts. To make a larger impact through the distribution of these funds, grantmakers need to design and adopt a strategy to help keep track of ongoing and future progress.

What Are Grantmaking Strategies?

A grantmaking strategy is essentially a method of directing funds to worthy organisations.

It explains how organisations plan to accomplish their objectives— their areas of focus in terms of a specific cause, the kind of organisations they want to promote, and their commitment as donors. By working with a clearly defined set of objectives and goals offers grant-giving organisations a sense of focus and direction, it indicates priority and generates greater outcomes. As each organisations giving practices differ from one another, there is no single grantmaking strategy that fits all.

There are 2 major approaches to grantmaking, responsive grantmaking, and strategic grantmaking.

Responsive grantmaking style allows funders to be broad in their grantmaking approach, and more welcoming of ideas from organisations seeking grants. Requests are generally initiated by nonprofits, rather than by a funder seeking them out. This doesn’t mean that a foundation doesn’t have core areas of focus, but it does mean that within those areas it wishes to be responsive to the needs nonprofits feel most keenly. Grantors usually opt for responsive grantmaking when they are keen to keep themselves updated on the range of opinions and ideas flowing within the community. It can be a way to show support to the community when a funder is not interested, or able to put in the required effort and resources into a strategic approach. For some foundations, responsive grantmaking is simply the best fit for their missions – particularly those whose missions are very broad and highly localised.

On the other hand, Strategic grantmaking involves grantmaking with specific and clear goals along with pre-designed strategies on how these goals should be achieved. This is usually the approach taken by government or large research organisations. This strategy can also benefit foundations who are clear about their objectives and goals and wish to direct their focus towards addressing issues in a specific area.

In this instance, the funder drives the grantmaking agenda as opposed to grantees. Strategic funders typically see themselves as accountable for successful outcomes. For example, a strategic grantmaker may decide to focus on reducing the stigma of substance abuse and deploy strategies that include a state-wide communications campaign, increased support for Alcoholics Anonymous and policy advocacy to health insurance providers cover treatment. A strategic funding approach can also be a way to achieve more measurable impact, within an area of focus as opposed to giving out a variety of different grants across multiple sectors. Responsive and strategic grantmaking each come with a set of pros and cons, but, in truth, there will always be room for both grantmaking approaches.

Below is the list of important steps to consider when designing your grantmaking strategy-

1. Identify and specify your focus

One of the first decisions funders should start with is to determine the problem they are attempting to solve. Often, the issue that funders chose to focus on is based on internal criteria. This may include addressing organisational goals, a public mandate; an existing grants program; or the shared value of foundation members. These parameters may range from broad outlines of intent to specific identification of a subject area. Once an organisation is clear on its focus then it can work to determine which strategic approach would be the best fit.

2. Analysing & Determining knowledge gaps

This step will help in understanding where the “funding gap” exists in the identified issue. Conducting research using primary and secondary resources to analyse these gaps will give provide context around- 1) why the need exists, 2) number of individuals impacted by the issue and how much they are impacted, 3) what actions are currently being taken by the government bodies or other charitable organisations towards supporting the issue.

This research data will direct your efforts and funds in the right direction and will assist in making the desired impact.

3. Interact with the community

Simple steps such as encouraging feedback from the community are it from grantees or unsuccessful applicants will provide valuable information on the grantmaking process. This will allow for key insights on the happenings around the community as well as allow for changes to the grantmaking processes to be considered.

4. Consider the constraints of the grant

Grants may be large or small, short-term or long-term, and general or specific in purpose. Organisations may choose consistent guidelines for each grant or base them on special circumstances. Other ideas include capital grants, scholarships, and program-related investments. It is important to consider what is the best fit for the intended outcome.

Once the above steps have been considered, it should begin to become clear which grantmaking strategy aligns best to either a strategic grantmaking approach or a responsive grantmaking approach.

Implement Strategic Grantmaking with OmniStar

A good grant management system like OmniStar ensures you can concentrate on your grantmaking efforts by simplifying the complex processes, automating repetitive tasks, and its access anywhere, anytime feature.

Contact an OmniStar expert today.

Zarthost Boman
Written by: Afifa Qureshi July 2021

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