Reasons Why Some Fail In Leading A Grant


If you are not a frequent reader of my work, then let me tell you what I do for a living. I am a grant/project manager in one of the international non-governmental organizations. Typically, a normal day for me will basically include managing the work I need to complete for the projects I am in charge of. If you are not very aware of this career track, then give me a chance to tell you more about it. In many situations, you put together the perfect proposal (at least this is how you see it), the best team spirit, and good expertise. Still, some things go wrong. So, where do we go wrong? And why do some fail in leading a grant successfully? I have seen things go wrong during my experience, and it’s time to share these in case you were ever in my shoes.

So, let’s discuss this further together.

Here’s what you will learn and know about for the next 2 minutes.

A Story Of A Failed Grant

Since it has become a tradition in all my pieces now, I am starting by telling you a story about the topic.

Money coming into any organization can never be a bad thing, right? An awarded grant after making all the needed edits to the proposals and submitting all the requirements is always something to celebrate, isn’t it? Well, I have seen the opposite. I have seen a whole organization mourning an awarded grant since day one.

What? Were they not the ones who wrote all these great things in the proposal? Yes, surely. But let me tell you this.

It can happen many times once things become real and money is coming in; the senior management has a change of heart.

What? Aren’t I supposed to blame the grant manager? In some instances, yes, you can blame grant managers for failing to lead a grant. However, the reasons I am about to tell put the blame on senior management first thing.

Remember this, please: even if a huge responsibility falls in the hands of grant managers, leaders of all organizations should know better.

Reasons Why Some Fail In Leading A Grant

Do you want my honest opinion? If you are in an organization that already sticks to any of the below attitudes from senior management, I believe you should start looking for work.

Let’s go through some of the symptoms that lead some to fail in leading a grant.

Solo Summit Syndrome

That’s a syndrome caused by both the grant manager and the senior leadership.

Whenever the grant manager is assigned, they want to do a great job and prove that they were able to lead a grant successfully. They sometimes want to act solo to look more triumphant. That’s the grant manager’s side. What’s the reaction of the leaders mentoring and leading this? Surprisingly, the management is okay with that and might even encourage this attitude. Why? Easy savings. If you hire more staff to work on implementing the grant requirements, you won’t save much from the grant money.

What happens as a result of this solo summit syndrome? You are understaffed, missing out on great talents that could have helped you, and you are behind schedule. Guess what? You are not Superman!

If you build a strong team for leading your grant, you create an army willing to navigate whatever goes wrong with the grant implementation.

Zero Coaching

There is this enthusiasm that comes with money. But what about coaching the people who are leading this? Donors do not like it when they see a one-person show with literally no guidance from the very first people who pitched their proposals earlier. Coach your team and let them know that you are there for them in leading the grant. You are all in this together, and you (as a leader) will guide them through it all. Not coaching your team puts them at great risk of failing to lead a grant.

Failing To Adapt

Again, leadership’s mistake.

Donors and grantors are not the same. Some might ask to get involved in implementation or request extra information about everything. That’s normal. Your job is to adapt to whatever the situation requires and help your team to see how to adapt to this, too. Do not be so stubborn to the extent that you fail to see how to make things work for your team and your organization.

Perks From Albusi So You Do Not Fail In Leading A Grant

I hope this has given you some idea about the effort senior management has to make to ensure that a grant is successful. I have some for you if you want to read different arguments and related topics about them. One on angel investors for nonprofits, a guide to keeping investors for your nonprofits, and a last one to mix business strategies to have a sustainable model for your enterprise.

As for what Albusi can offer for your grant-making business, we have many downloadable pitch decks and business plan templates on the website that serve as excellent guidance to prepare your business. We also build your own! The Albusi team can craft a one-of-a-kind pitch deck just for you! This is another exceptional service to entrepreneurs that you should check out. You will get the chance to have your own branded pitch deck.

Also, if you need to talk more about your idea, you can just get in touch with one of our freelancers. They will help you with everything you need to plan for your business. They are great at pitching and will help you with the tweaks you need to pitch your idea to others, too.

Enjoy leading your grants successfully!

Meet The Author Of This Article

Jenny Ayman

I’m Jenny Ayman, a project manager in the development field with specific knowledge and experience in capacity building and entrepreneurship programs. I aspire to transfer the hands-on experience I gain in my professional career through writing.

Also, if you need help planning your business, I recommend checking out some of our freelancers’ business plans or pitch decks!