I recently checked back following a shocking report on the condition of federal grant management in the City of Detroit following their bankruptcy.
And I was so happy to see how they were turning around their lack of federal award compliance
Not only are their efforts bearing fruit from a grant management improvement standpoint–but even more importantly, they are getting more federal grants to solve problems in their community!
Improving Grant Management Requires a Compliance Culture
Let’s face it…
Changing entrenched grant mismanagement can seem like an impossible task.
However, there are several places to start gaining a toehold in transforming your grant management prospects.
Here are three tips:
Tip #1: Support Accountability
Investing in a structure that supports accountability is critical to improving grant management.
If “everyone” is responsible, then no-one is responsible.
In most settings, the Program Director leads responsibility for ensuring federal funds are spent as intended and that spending to meet the program objectives is happening on schedule.
But accountability supported when all staff understands what the award funds can be spent on and what type of activities are allowed with each federal award.
Tip #2: Offer Training
Too often, only a few people working on the grant are not familiar with the regulations, such as 2 CFR Part 200, aka the Uniform Guidance.
Start with this simple premise: If you want people to do the “right” thing, they have to know what that is.
And that means organizations need to communicate expectations to their staff.
Training is both a compliance communication tool.
- Do all personnel involved in spending grant funds understand both the general requirements that come with accepting federal funds?
- Are they also aware of any specific terms and conditions that apply to individual grants?
Train staff on these two critical success factors and the odds of positive outcomes soar!
Tip #3: Provide Monitoring and Oversight
Finally, provide monitoring and oversight of the individual federal awards.
It’s not enough to make a Program Director “responsible” and then never check again.
And just like accountability increases when there is a structure to support it, similarly, monitoring benefits from a framework that ensures oversight is happening during the grant lifecycle.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
With the financial struggles, Detroit continues to face; it is an excellent ‘turnaround” story that better grant-management resulted in receiving and using more federal dollars.
Benjamin Franklin was correct when he observed, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
I shake my head when I think of the short-sightedness of not putting trained, grant professionals in place from the start to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse and also ensure the program’s intended beneficiaries receive the help.
It’s Not Too Late to Get Better Outcomes!
Time and time again, the oversight band-wagon happens after the money is long gone.
Monitoring starts as the result of an audit finding or worse…
The Uniform Guidance has changed the way federal grant compliance happens.
Now federal agencies are required to assess the risk of placing an award with an organization that is on shaky ground before awarding federal funds.
I hope this will lead to more stories of federal award success and less of the “good grants gone bad” tales.
What do you think?
Ready for Grant Management Improvement?
How about you?
Would you like to be a better grant manager?
We have another grant management training seminar coming soon.
Click here to get all the details!
Hope to see you there!
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
CEO, Compliance Warrior
Author of “Decoding Grant Management-The Ultimate Success Guide to the Federal Grant Regulations in 2 CFR Part 200” The 2nd Edition is now available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle versions.