Multiple grants require diligent and planned monitoring to ensure that funds received are expended, and then reported, to the appropriate agency in the manner prescribed by the various funders.
Multiple Grants: Is Your Head Spinning?
Here are a few examples:
- You must ensure that expenses are tracked and claimed only once.
- Time and effort must be assigned to specific projects and meet the organization’s requirements specified within each grant awarded.
- Different grantors most often have different reporting requirements and forms for the reports they use to monitor the grantee’s compliance.
Step 1: Get Started the Right Way
When an organization receives an award, there are several actions to take to get started the right way:
- Review all materials about the award
- Create a reporting calendar according to the schedule dictated by the grantor.
- Maintain a master calendar that includes deadlines from all grantors.
- Assign a team leader or administer each grant.
- Alert fiscal personnel to ensure policies and procedures reducing the risk of both misuse and direct theft of funds are in place and regularly monitored
Step 2: Ensure People Know the Requirements with Federal Grants
Education and communication are the keys to administering multiple grants in ways that ensure compliance with individual grant requirements.
Here are a few key points:
- Fully train all staff working with the grant.
- Communicate time and effort reporting requirements to individual employees. For example, a single employee’s time and effort throughout the day may often require their timesheet to indicate the duration of time and effort that employees worked on different projects.
- Perform periodic, regular, scheduled review of project budgets, including due diligence to discover any omissions or errors where expenses have been misapplied among multiple grants.
Step 3: Appoint a Grant Administrator
In the instance of multiple grants, consider assigning responsibility to:
- Oversee administration of individual grant teams or administrators
- 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
Demonstrate compliance and assist with implementation by creating a fully maintained grant master file that includes:
- The original RFP or NOFO
- 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 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 the development of appropriate tracking tools as well as data management. Grantees should communicate regularly with each funder’s program officer and contact them with questions regarding the impact of another grant’s requirements to avoid non-compliance.
Managing Multiple Grants: You can do this!
It is possible to manage all the many details with your grants effectively.
Following these five steps will help your organization avoid the pitfalls of managing multiple Federal Grants.
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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.