Staying Ahead of the Game: How to Stay on Top of the Latest Federal Trends, by Julie Assel, GPC

Here at Assel Grant Services, we don’t just write many successful federal grants each year. Many of our clients are receiving their first federal grant or their first federal grant in the last five years. One of the reasons so many agencies large and small come to us is because we keep up with the constantly evolving federal government trends. So, what do we look for and how can you keep up on the departments most relevant to you?

  1. Strategic Trend
  • Read the department’s strategic plan. This is how career department staff interpret presidential priorities. On each department’s website, find the About page. A link to their strategic plan can be found there.
  • Read the original and most recent legislation for the grant. This is how local legislators and society trends influence federal programs.
  1. Appropriation Trend
  • Determine if the department, division, and grant appropriation has gone up or down under the current administration.
  • Has the president’s budget recommended an increase or decrease?
  • What was the legislature’s response?
  1. State Trends
  • What grants have been funded in your state from the department or division?
  • When, if ever, has an award been made in your community? In your region of the state? In your state? In your region of the U.S.?
  • Have you ever made your federal legislators aware of your program? Invite them for a tour. Provide a one-page bullet point summary to their staffer.
  1. Grant Trends
  • Conduct an overall review of grants available (and over the last three years, if you have the time.)
    • What grants are most similar to your services or population served?
    • What kind of evaluations are expected? Internal or external evaluators?
    • How do aligned grants fit into the department’s strategic plan and appropriation?
  1. Program Trends
  • What data does the department require in the proposal’s need section?
  • What programs have other awardees proposed in their abstracts?
  • What is the evidence base for these services?

If you are seeking to learn more about federal grants, check out our on-demand training, Federal Find and Fit. Our on-demand webinars are designed to deepen your knowledge of a variety of grant topics, processes, and strategies. Click here to learn more!

This blog is aligned to the Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI)

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs.

Skill 1.1. Identify major trends in public funding and public policy.

Skill 1.4. Identify techniques to learn about specific funders.