I admit it Grant Management.
I’m kind of “geeky” when it comes to grants management.
I love to know what’s working with federal grants, and when good grants go bad Federal grant management.
If you want to see how things can go wrong with grant management…I mean REALLY wrong, one of the places I love to learn more is the written reports from the various Office of the Inspectors General (OIG).
Similarly, when I want to know ways avoid mistakes and improve the grant management process, I look to the OIG reports for “real world” advice.
After all the OIG is in the trenches, following up on issues, and cleaning up messes when things go horribly wrong.
In this series, I’m going to share seven of my favorite suggestions from the OIG to improve grant management:
#1 Program Development Is More Than a Good Grant Writer
I’ve discovered that the increased focus on meeting program objectives from the beginning to the end of the period of performance has blurred the lines between grant writing and grant management.
If you are a good grant writer, or you know a good grant writer, you can become an even better grant writer by understanding the requirements that will sustain the program after the funding is awarded.
Likewise, your chances for successful program outcomes increases when grant managers and grant writers communicate and collaborate before, during and after the application process Federal grant management.
This often overlooked step of communication helps you clarify expectations and creates more measurable and obtainable performance measurements so that both legislative intent and program objectives are met.
#2 An Ounce of Red-Flag Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
You’ve probably heard me say this as I go out and speak about grant management. The Uniform Guidance also know as 2 CFR Part 200 is a game changer for Federal grant recipients.
In the past, federal funders followed a “pay and chase” strategy for federal government funding.
Funders now want to ensure you are the “best bet” to complete the planned work.
And the way that federal agencies are doing that is with the implementation of the pre-award risk assessment process.
And even non-federal funders and corporate sponsors are getting on board with this shift to assessing risk BEFORE you give out the money.
Consider these questions:
- How will the funds received be tracked?
- Do you have written accounting and procurement procedures in place?
- How will you track property, inventory, and supplies purchased with grant funds?
- Do you have an accounting system capable of tracking all drawdowns and grant expenditures separately by the specific funding source?
- Are performance objectives communicated clearly so program staff and others understand how they will be measured?
- What data elements do you need to collect and track to measure your progress in meeting performance measurements?
- What is your record retention policy?
All of these areas are of increasing importance to federal funders.
#3 The Risky Business of Risk Assessment
So, you may have heard about the new pre-award risk assessment requirement for Federal agencies to review the “worthiness” of applicants and perhaps you are even aware of the dire consequences when your organization is dubbed “not ready” for prime time.
But the whole concept of risk management goes beyond just this pre-award time period.
If you are a pass-through entity, have you reviewed the whole set of funding requirements that follow you into the post-award grant management period?
Are you completing a similar review of the risk posed by sub-awardees?
Sound business practices and broadened internal control requirements on the federal side beg for a wider perspective and assessment of the risks associated with taking grant funds of any type!
- Do you have the infrastructure in place to successfully manage the grant you’ve been given?
- Is your organization on a good financial standing, or is the grant your “last-ditch” way to keep the doors open?
- Have you successfully managed grants in the past, or do you have a string of corrective action plans a mile long?
- What is the “tone at the top”? In other words, does senior management support the highest levels of integrity and ethical behavior?
- Are you able to demonstrate transparency in the spending of grant funds to the various stakeholders?
You will find that risk and integrity are inextricably intertwined.
Both of them are designed to reduce the risk of waste, fraud or abuse happening with grant funds.
Therefore, organizations who want to receive or increase grant funding need to be out in front of the funding agency’s questions with a solid risk reduction plan.
More to come….
Next week, I’ll share Part II of Seven Ways to Improve Grant Managementwith more of the OIG recommendations for improving grant management.
Stay tuned as we dig deeper into monitoring, performance measurements and more…
Ready to Improve Your Grant Management?
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Would you like to be a better grant manager?
We have another grant management training seminar coming soon.
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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.