When the Nonprofit Changes Personnel

Grant writers, like myself, may not be on a nonprofit’s board or part of the staff. Yet, grant writers should be aware of changes to board members and staff that may impact submitted grants.

As an example, some grant applications require at least one person on the staff to have special certifications. Losing these people or moving them to another part of the nonprofit could disqualify the nonprofit. While the nonprofit did not change their mission, they changed the qualification for the grant.

The biggest impact is when an executive director leaves. While the departure of a board president may change some things, the executive director is more closely tied to the nonprofit’s operations and grant requirements. Also, most grant applications are linked directly to the executive director at the time of submission.

When changes in personnel occur, grant writers should inform the decision makers what the effect is on submitted grants (if any) and inform the foundation of these changes, if necessary. There is an ethical dilemma if the nonprofit does not want the foundation to know about changes in personnel.

There are many reasons why a nonprofit would not want these changes known. Some reasons are valid. However, if the changes impact submitted grants, the foundation should be told.

Grant writers have a responsibility to the nonprofit and to the foundation when it concerns a grant they wrote. I make sure everyone knows of the personnel situation if it impacts a grant I wrote. The nonprofit and foundation can decide what is best.

Yes, this is “covering your ass.” But I always believe open communication is important and prevents problems later. The nonprofit may lose the grant, but the foundation will likely appreciate the honesty.

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