Using the Open Government Directive, grant making agencies should integrate Web 2.0 social networking/social media into every grant program within their departments. Grant and program managers and grantees can be trained in social networking methods and administration to maximize management and grantee participation and collaboration. Grant-related social networks can be created as closed networks - only open to grant recipients.
The grant administrator/manager(s) can quickly know of and respond to grantee issues and problems. They can answer questions or direct grantees to other more experienced grantees or expert resources to get help. What might be a problem needing feedback or discussion in one grantee’s program or community, is often common in another location. Good ideas are also readily shared thus allowing for immediate incorporation. A social network is likely to help many people at one time. Necessary workshops or grant training can be conducted online – cutting costs and insuring everyone receives exactly the same information. Communication is fast, effective, and efficient. This increases building relationships, sharing best practices, and collaborating across geographic boundaries.
Beyond saving money, building collaborative models, breaking-down boundaries and allowing grantees to share information and resources quickly, using this emerging technology will increase accountability, transparency, participation, and evaluation. Challenges can be shared and addressed across departments. Relationships will be built before any money is spent on national training or technical assistance workshops.
This is not an original idea but rather one developed by a former Justice Fellow. It is submitted with her permission and with my enthusiastic support as it can save the government great sums of money while improving communications with grantees and oversight on grants.