Tracking, reporting, and other administrative tasks are just part of the package with grant funding. It may seem like just more hoops to jump through but effective grant management is the best way to ensure your project or program is a success. Our grant experts have shared a few best practices for efficient federal grants management.
Once you’ve been notified of your grant award, it’s time to get to work. The first step you should take is to create an Implementation Plan. This is a management tool that outlines in detail the critical steps to develop and start your project. It will be the guiding plan that allows all staff or volunteers working on the project to fully understand the aims of the project and exactly how they are to be accomplished. The Implementation Plan will keep everyone involved on the same page during the process and will ensure that any problems or issues are identified and addressed before they become obstacles to success.
The easiest way to create an Implementation Plan is to follow the Work Plan that you included in your grant application. Your Implementation Plan should include the following components:
- Goals for the program. Be sure they’re SMART. (Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Timely)
- The roles, responsibilities and expectations of each of your partners.
- The roles and responsibilities of your staff, along with specifics on how you will recruit, train and retain them.
- Who the participants of your project are expected to be. Include demographics and the strategies you’ll use to recruit and retain these participants.
- An activity schedule that outlines the staff that will be responsible, the projected completion date, and benchmarks.
- A written cost allocation plan along with fiscal management policies and procedures that outline how expenditures will be documented and reported.
- Monitoring, data collection and evaluation methodologies and timelines.
5 must-haves for great grant management
Organization and communication are essential to effective grant management, specifically:
- Keep a complete set of all governing documents for EVERY grant. These should include the original RFP, your grant application, the Notification of Award letter, and Codes of Federal Regulation (CFR). A three-ring binder is a good way to keep all of this information together, organized and available to all.
- Make your Implementation Plan accessible to everyone – staff, partners and volunteers – involved in the project.
- Insist on written Policies and Procedures.
- Interface with your finance department to create a culture of compliance.
- Communicate with your team monthly regarding: programmatic achievements; budget to-actual spending; and upcoming report deadlines.
Good grant management improves your organization’s ability to meet your objectives. It will also simplify and streamline evaluation, reporting, and auditing processes. For all those reasons, it’s important to have a formal grant management plan in place before you’ve even been awarded a grant.
As you develop your plan, your organization may realize that what is required will be above and beyond what a typical program director, bookkeeper, or grant writer does. If that’s the case, you may want to consider hiring a full- or part-time grant manager, or a professional outside firm like Resource Associates. See what tasks we can help with.