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What You Don’t Want to Discount in Your Discretionary Funds

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Are you cutting out tools that could be mission-critical in your efforts to save?

Many state, local, and tribal governments, departments and agencies are doing everything they can to cut down on expenditures–from cutting staff and implementing furloughs to reducing capital spending as well as material and contractor costs. At this point, leaders, budget and financial analysts alike are examining their budgets and determining their essential vs. discretionary funding.

As we know, discretionary funds is government money that is available to spend on items or activities that are not considered necessary but could be useful.

Too often, however, some of the first things to be eliminated in the budget are tools that could be categorized as “discretionary funds” but may be more essential to service delivery than many realize. 

Why Digital Grants Management Is Mission Critical

While it may be tempting to forgo your cloud-based technologies in the hopes of saving, reverting back to legacy tech may actually cost your agency or department more in the long run. A prime example is the all-too-familiar statistic of almost 80 percent of federal spending going to maintaining legacy systems

Cutting your cloud-based systems can also result in redundancies and inefficiencies in your processes, especially when it comes to grants management. As the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s important for governments to explore how they can move paper-based and in-person processes to virtualized environments in order to streamline communications and workflows. 

As the federal government begins distributing CARES Act funding, grants have become a critical source of revenue for governments. That’s why it’s especially important to find ways to virtualize the process while reducing the complexities of grants management–to make sure nothing slows down the attainment, administration and disbursement of funding that your departments and communities need. 

Innovating Grants Management Through the Cloud

Virtualizing and automating the tracking, administration and compliance of grants can help improve performance and reporting while ensuring your agency continues to deliver services during and long after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Take the City of Atlanta, for example. By modernizing their grants management with cloud-based software, the city was able to reduce administration time, drive information sharing, and reduce audit issues. Ultimately, Atlanta saw a 44 percent increase in the number of qualified grant proposals.  

The state of Arizona recently leveraged eCivis’ electronic grants management system to power its Public Assistance Express Pay Program. By deploying a centralized grants management system at the enterprise level, the state has been able to expedite the disbursement of COVID-related funding to local governments, tribal communities, schools, nonprofit organizations, and houses of worship for FEMA-eligible projects. Now the state is able to leverage one source of truth for tracking its grants, ensure compliance with 2 CFR 200, and improve transparency to the public as well as reporting with more accurate data aggregation. The state is anticipating the program to expedite the timeline of reviewing, disbursing and reimbursing grants from months to possibly as little as five business days.

Investing in Grants Management Solutions for the Post-Pandemic Era

As governments continue to navigate the rest of the year and build long-term post-pandemic strategies, it will be important to consider grants management systems that will be ready to support your missions in the long-term.

Education institutions in particular are leveraging CARES Act funding to deploy more technologies that promote remote learning and virtual classrooms. Grants leaders in the public sector can also leverage CARES Act dollars to invest in grants management technologies to ensure utmost performance and reporting for their post-pandemic recovery and strategies. 

At the end of the day, you don’t want to discount investments in the cloud as discretionary funding until you can verify you have a more efficient system or process in place. For grants management, automating the grants lifecycle can be one of the most essential things you do to maximize revenue during this time and in the long-term.

Ready to automate your grants management? Reach out to one of our grants management experts at info@ecivis.com.