Grant Management Tips

March 1, 2017 Funding, Grants, News Brian Nowakowski

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Congratulations! You’ve been selected to receive a federal, state, or private grant– now what? Managing grants and coordinating the many moving pieces is a good problem to have, but it needs careful oversight and attention. Some of the tasks ahead of you include:

• Procurement of consultants and/or contractors whose services are to be funded by the grant;
• Oversight of grant-funded contracts;
• Budget oversight, review of project invoices, and compilation of reimbursement requests;
• Securing additional funding for projects in the event of budget shortfalls; and
• Successful completion of grant closeout procedures.

We’ve compiled some valuable lessons in how to oversee grant funding and to guarantee that all funding is successfully expended.

Obtain all necessary approvals: A variety of approvals can be required by both the funder and the applicant organization. For example, your Council may require the passage of a resolution in order to authorize submission of the grant application. Likewise, the funder may require your organization to adopt personnel-related policies after the award of the grant.

Eligible and Ineligible Activities: The grant manager needs to understand what is eligible and what is not in order to identify any potential ineligible activities as early on as possible (even before the grant application is submitted). Likewise, any questions that arise about potentially ineligible activities should be submitted to the funder as soon as possible in order to avoid schedule disruptions.

Relationships: Get to know your funder; after all, they are there to help! Your funder is there to answer your questions, and they can also provide valuable insight on how to most efficiently implement a project based on funding requirements. Often funders can also connect you to additional funding opportunities down the road from their organization or from other related organizations.

Understand if grant funding is flexible: In the event something disrupts the original plan for a project, the grant manager must understand if the grant work plan that was established before the grant began can be revised or if the funder will not allow any deviation from the work plan. This includes if the grant end date can be pushed back due to unforeseen project delays.

Get everything in writing: Any questions, approvals, and potential changes to the grant should be documented in writing and maintained in an easily accessible location such as a server. This ensures that in the event of an audit, which is common for public funding sources, all files are readily available.

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