As Altus Alliance 2016 approaches, we would like to introduce you to our second keynote speaker: Anil Patel. Having a deep knowledge of the nonprofit sector, technology, and grantmaking, his talk will include something for everyone attending this year’s Alliance conference. Read our full interview with Anil below:
Davis Campbell: Hi Anil, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. To start things off, could you tell me about your background and experiences?
Anil Patel: I have experience as a grant-seeker and grant-maker.
From the vantage point of a grant seeker, I ran a charity for over a decade. Over the course of that time I wrote an array of proposals and reports to various funders. Over that time, I gained an understanding of what grant makers were looking for in proposals.
On the grant-maker vantage point, I was a volunteer grant reviewer with three funders over a seven year period. These funders provided grants of all shapes and sizes. Grants could range from $500 (seed grants) to $1,500,000 (multi-year collaboratives).
When you add the two perspectives together, I have written, reviewed and/or reported on over 2,500 grant proposals.
DC: You have a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Chemistry. How has that helped you in the work you are doing now?
AP: The underpinning of Environmental Chemistry is all about systems and feedback loops. From soil biochemistry to atmospheric chemistry, understanding what causes positive feedback loops versus negative feedback loops was a core of the curriculum. While I never suspected how much I’d draw on that learning, it is very applicable to the grantmaker-grantseeker relationship.
DC: So from this diverse background, you’ve now come to work for GrantBook. Could you tell me about GrantBook and the work that you do?
AP: We are a social purpose business specializing in the procurement, implementation and management of cloud-based software for grantmakers and impact investors. At GrantBook we also provide digital strategy and IT consulting services to grant makers. To achieve this, we are a channel partner with several software companies looking for implementation partners who can manage projects on time and on budget.
DC: That is awesome. It’s interesting that you work with grantmakers, nonprofits, as well as software providers. Now in regards to Altus Alliance 2016, what can you tell me about your presentation?
AP: For my keynote, I’ll be focusing on three main topics: how a technology project of any size requires change management, the concept of interoperability, and the ‘Scrum’ method as an approach to project planning & software configuration. I will speak on these topics in terms of what they mean in the grantmaking space and for philanthropic organizations.
DC: Great. This sounds like it will be a fantastic educational presentation for our attendees. What are the main takeaways from your experience at GrantBook that you plan to share with the audience at Alliance?
AP: From a strategy standpoint, I think having a well thought out digital and IT strategy is something people can take away. Since organizations often lose 40-60% of their software value if not configured properly, this is an extremely important idea to take away. It is also important to focus on building a great implementation plan with communication and feedback loops. And of course, I want people to understand the relevance of interoperability at their organizations.
DC: Thanks so much for speaking with me Anil, and we look forward to having you at Altus Alliance 2016.
Want to see Anil in person? Register for Altus Alliance today!