Multiple grants require diligent and planned monitoring in order to ensure that funds received are expended, and then reported, to the appropriate agency in the manner prescribed by the various grantors.
Is your head spinning yet?
Here are a few examples: You must ensure that expenses are tracked and claimed only once. Additionally, time and effort spent must be assigned to specific projects and meet with the requirements specified within each individual grant awarded to the organization. Different grantors most often have different reporting requirements and forms. These reports are the way the grantor monitors the grantee’s compliance.
Step 1: Get started the right way
When an organization receives an award there are a number of actions to take to get started the right way:
- All materials should be reviewed.
- A reporting calendar should be devised according to the schedule dictated by the grantor.
- A master calendar should also be maintained that includes deadlines from all grantors.
- A team or lead should be assigned to administer each grant.
- Fiscal personnel should be alerted to ensure policies and procedures reducing the risk of both misuse and direct theft of funds are in place and regularly monitored
Step 2: Make sure people know what’s required with Federal Grants
Education is the key to administering multiple grants in ways that ensure compliance with individual grant requirements. Here are a few key points:
- All staff working with the grant should be fully trained.
- Requirements for time and effort reporting for individual employees need to be communicated. For example, a single employee’s time and effort throughout the day may often require their time sheet indicate the duration of time and effort that employee worked on different projects.
- Periodic, regular, scheduled review of project budgets, including due diligence to discover any omissions or errors where expenses have been misapplied among multiple grants, should be performed.
Step 3: Appoint a Grant Administrator
In the instance of multiple grants, one person should be assigned to:
- Oversee administration of individual grant teams and/or leads
- Review fiscal reporting of each grant
- Discover any discrepancies or misreporting of how funds have been expended and reported to each grantor
- Ensure that all milestones specified in individual grants are being met and reported back to the grantor as required.
Step 4: Maintain a Grant Master File
In order for the above recommendations to be put into place, each grant should have a fully maintained file that includes:
- The original RFP
- The award letter
- The final approved budget, scope, and work plan
- All monitoring reports; and meeting minutes
- Financial and narrative reports required by the donor
- Communication log
- All other documentation related to meeting project milestones and/or goals
- All forms required by the grantor
Without a complete and current file for each grantor, it is impossible to coordinate multiple grants in a fashion that facilitates compliance within each grant awarded.
Step 5: Develop Ways Track and Communicate Early and Often
Each grant will require development of appropriate tracking tools as well as data management. Grantees should communicate regularly with each funder’s program officer and should contact them immediately with any questions regarding the impact of another grant’s requirements to avoid non-compliance.
You can do this!
It is possible to effectively manage all the many details with your grants. Following these five steps will help your organization avoid the pitfalls of managing multiple Federal Grants.
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA