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.

We’re always looking for new ways to make your work life easier. Scroll down to read more about new OmniStar features that’ll free up time for you and your colleagues.

Approve grants anywhere, anytime. 

Grant approvals have never been easier in OmniStar. With the familiar ding of an email notification, decision-makers can click on a link containing all the information they need to make, and notify their decision, without even having to log on. All the supporting documentation needed will be right there. 

Given the possibly sensitive nature of information in these links and the associated decisions, an expiry date can be set to render an emailed link unusable after a given period. 

Powerful, daisy-chained approvals lighten the load. 

Enjoy more benefits of automation, with daisy-chained approvals. With OmniStar’s new daisy-chained approvals, approvals can be sequenced. Approval actions are then triggered by actions on the previous approval in the sequence. 

So how does this look in practice? 

  • When a workflow is created, so is the set of associated approvals. 
  • A grant administrator assigns approvals to users (appropriate decision-makers or action takers for each approval). 
  • A grant administrator can tailor a daisy chain of approvals by inserting and removing approvals in the chain.
  • Assigned users will only be notified that they have an approval needing action when the previous (or predecessor) approval in the approval chain has been actions (e.g., decision recorded).
  • An assigned user can then update/record their approval. 
  • Where an assigned user is unable to record a decision (due to absence etc.) another user can be assigned in their place to prevent delays in the approval process. 
  • If a decision is made that means subsequent approvals in the process become unnecessary (assuming no decisions have been recorded for subsequent approvals). 

The power of daisy-chained approvals built into specific workflows removes the burden of needing to update workflows, removes the burden of needing to update workflows when decision points impact approval processes. 

What’s not to love? 

Fast-tracked access to the information you need. 

Get reliable, up-to-date information on any aspect of your giving, research, or governance, at your fingertips, with OmniStar’s new ad-hoc reporting and lockup functionality. 

OmniStar’s enhanced Smartforms and search capacity provide better and faster access to information on the go. All types of users can benefit from improved information and insights via dashboards and reports. 

More flexibility and control with new Milestone actions

Great news. 

For OmniStar users, reaching a Milestone can often trigger a need for action of one kind or another. Traditionally, OmniStar managed this by incorporating actions into a dew, limited types of predefined Milestones. 

But now, as soon as a Milestone has been included in an OmniStar workflow, you can add specific Milestone actions to trigger actions(s) associated with reaching that milestone. These actions might, for example, send an email to notify certain people that the milestone has been reached or release a new report.

Milestone actions are time-dependent, workflow actions that occur in your grants, research, or ethics management process. Once defined, you can edit Milestone actions to change the actions (s) or switch the actions on (activate) or off (deactivate). With so much flexibility you’ll have way more control over milestone-related actions. 


In May we spotlighted four of our favourite features to help our users efficiently manage their projects in OmniStar.

Use Maps to generate meaningful multi-region insights

Ever wondered about the geographical distribution of your funding applications? When you’re busy managing your day-to-day tasks, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most. 

OmniStar’s Maps feature captures and maps the regions of origin and dollar value of all your funding applications. You can use it to visualise your funding program and generate valuable and instant insights into where your money is going with OmniStar’s easy-to-read maps.

Save time using Bulk Review to review your applications

With OmniStar’s Bulk Review, reviewing applications is a piece of cake! You can review multiple applications in a single batch – freeing up time for all the other things on your to-do list. 

When you use Bulk Review, you can open a single review form and review multiple applications at the same time. While you’re doing that, you can also:

  • Declare or change conflict of interest information in individual applications;
  • Do a bulk download of documents from multiple applications; and
  • Update your review form across multiple sessions and then submit all of your application reviews together, when you’re done. 

Imagine all of the time you’ll save!


Protect, store, and suppose of your documents with confidence, with new features in Record Management System

To help you meet the National Archive’s publishing and disposal guidelines (National Archive Act 1983), we’ve updated OmniStar’s Record Management System. 

You can now:

  • Add a Protective marking – such as Official Protected, Confidential, Secret;
  • Add a Disposal hold – so your document will never be deleted!
  • Add a Disposal class – to manage how your document is stored in the longer term;
  • Add Notes – to provide additional information about your document;
  • Have more control over who can edit your documents; and 
  • Schedule tasks to delete documents, and then receive automated emails confirming the deletion. 


Keep track of project and agreement variations, with OmniStar’s new Project Variations Wizard

OmniStar’s new Project Variations Wizard gives you a birds-eye view of variations to your project. Fewer hassles and oversights for you; with any changes to things such as scheduling, contact details, project agreement, etc.., over the life of your project, now captured in one place. 

You’ll also see:

  • A more friendly user interface;
  • Easier-to-use Project Agreements located together;
  • Links between generated agreements and any subsequent variations;
  • Comments included within project agreements to aid communication between users; and
  • Improved publishing/ display of agreement documents. 

Zarthost Boman
Written by: Sarah Jordaan June 2021

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