When exploring the possibility of hiring a professional grant writer, there’s a general understanding of the unique skills a seasoned grant writer possesses. Grant writers are excellent narrators, able to express a need and highlight the best qualities of an applicant. Grant writers know how to maneuver through a grant proposal as well as pull the necessary requirements into an organized application. For a professional grant manager, other skills are more important in implementing grant funds. Grant managers understand how to put grant dollars to action in a cost-efficient manner as well as achieve the proposed outcomes. When teamed together, a skilled grant manager and grant writer will create a compelling proposal utilizing all of the aforementioned skills.
However, there seems to be a disconnect between professional grant writers and professional grant managers, especially when it comes to the very complicated 2 CFR 200 (formerly known as A 122), which are the rules grant managers must follow in regards to spending grant funds. The 2 CFR 200 is the accepted codes of regulations on how grant dollars can and cannot be spent. For a grant manager the CFR is a daily part of life, every penny that is spent must be double checked to assure adherence to the funder’s rules. For a grant writer, the CFR is not typically required reading; rarely will you find a writer who is well-versed in spending regulations. Because of this disconnect, a grant manager must play an active role in assuring that the budget of a grant application and its corresponding narrative are reflective of the CFR spending rules.
In order to ease the process it is important for the organization who is applying for the grant to have a very clear policy and procedure set in place for all procurements. For example, a good practice would be a standard form that all employees of the organization must fill out and get approved through upper management. The form should be developed to reflect the 2 CFR 200 rules and the management approving purchases should be well versed in the rules. The organization’s policy must have multiple people in the procurement process verifying and justifying each and every purchase, regardless of size. This policy must be conveyed to the grant writer, so that a deep understanding of the rules is conveyed in the proposal. The grant writer needs to understand that whatever is written into a proposal, and approved by the funder, must be carried out. The best practice is to be an active participant and partner to your grant writer to ensure that the proposed budget follows the Code of Federal Regulations.