Training New Program Coordinators to Analyze Their Grant  

Grantees may use the following scenario as an example of how to train new program coordinators and staff on grant responsibilities.

 

Issue

In planning the Atlantic Cluster New Program Staff Orientation held on October 10, 2001, the issue was raised that new program directors and managers need to lay a foundation for the implementation of their new AmeriCorps program grants. With this in mind, a session that focused on Grant Reading and Implementation 101 was designed. It was felt that many new program staff members struggle with the day-to-day implementation of their grants, i.e., recruiting members, site training, and a host of other issues. But without looking at creating a structure for the program, the program looses valuable time in moving towards sustainability.


Action

A session was held at the new program staff orientation entitled, "Grant Reading and Implementation 101: The What, Why, and How." The session was written and presented by Cherie Krug, executive director of the Western Maryland Alliance for Service and Volunteerism at Frostburg State University, with the assistance of David Bellama, senior training officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Text of the PowerPoint Presentation is as follows:

Session Goals

  • Learn how to critically read and review your grant
  • Identify the strengths and weakness of your grant
  • Shape a vision and mission statement
  • Begin the strategic planning process

As a Program Director and Staff Member you must learn:

  • That sustainability begins in year one with your program structure (i.e., a well-thought out plan to share with your partners, sponsors and the community).
  • I need to form an Advisory Board and include representation from all my current and potential partners.
  • I need to be a community collaborator (i.e., attend meetings, give presentations).
  • I need to demonstrate "value-added" for my program sponsor (i.e., press, added grant and foundation money).
  • I need to educate and engage my government officials (i.e., mayor, senators, delegates, etc.).

As a Program Director and Staff Member learned:

  • WBRS Reporting System has a learning curve but can be "my friend."
  • I will run into barriers, and I need to perceive them always as opportunities (i.e., member and site issues, a community that is resistant to change, sponsor politics).
  • Some days I feel like a "firefighter" (i.e., find your support system in the field).
  • I need to have a formal launch and graduation and invite my partners, the community and the press.
  • Like my AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members, I need to go above and beyond.

Five-Steps Towards Success 

  1. Reading Your Objectives
  2. Reading Your Narrative
  3. Program Strengths and Challenges
  4. Vision for your Program/Mission Statement
  5. Strategic Planning

Step 1: Reading Your Objectives

Objectives should be a "road map" for your program. Analyze your objectives with these questions in mind:

  • What are the challenges (weaknesses) in the objectives?
  • What are the strengths in the objectives?
  • What makes an objective strong or weak?

Step 2: Reading Your Narrative

A narrative should add to and flesh out the objectives—put them in a context and give them meaning. Analyze your narrative with these questions in mind:

  • Does the narrative do what it is supposed to do?
  • What are some challenges (or problems) in the narrative?
  • What are some of the strengths of the narrative?

Step 3: Program Strengths/Weaknesses

Review your narrative and objectives with these questions in mind:

  • What are some of the strengths of the program—things that you can build on?
  • What are some of the challenges or weaknesses of the program that will need to be worked on?
  • How do these strengths and challenges affect or shape your role as program director or staff?

Step 4: Vision for Your Program

Picture yourself in your office (or site) three years from today:

  • What are three things you want to be able to say about your program? (this will be your vision)
  • Combine these three things into a mission statement (i.e., "How are we going to get to the vision?")

Step 5: Strategic Planning

Action steps and proactive processes to get where you want to be in the future. For each of the three components of your vision, identify the two or three most important things you need to do to get to that place three years from now.

Context

In the launching of new programs for the Atlantic Cluster all new program directors and managers were part of this session. All were asked to bring a copy of their grant so the work could begin on their grant during the session.

Outcome

Anecdotal evidence from the over 80 new program directors and staff suggest that many had never thought about analyzing the grant first before the day-to-day implementation. Corporation for National and Community Service staff were present and found the presentation helpful for program implementation.

Training New Program Coordinators to Analyze Their Grant. Krug, Cherie. Corporation for National & Community Service Resource Center. 2001. English.  

Last Reviewed: March 2010

Last Updated: September 8, 2015