Falling into Grant Award Management by Kellie Brungard, GPC

October brings many wonderful things – cooler weather, changing landscape palettes, and the sound of grant professionals cheering when they receive notice of awards for federal grants. If you recently received an award, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for your hard work and dedication to ensuring the proposal was top-notch – you did it! Many of us focus on the details of project design and pulling together the long list of attachments but might not be well versed in what to do after an award is announced. Don’t worry – here are a few guidelines and resources to have you prepared faster than you can say “pumpkin spice latte.”

What should I do first?

  1. Most organizations put time and effort into pre-award policies and procedures. Are your post-award policies and procedures equally robust? What is the difference?

Pre-award management typically refers to determining eligibility, program design, working with internal teams on data measurement and outcomes, and ensuring that required policies and procedures are up-to-date and appropriate. Post-award management starts with the internal process of setting up the project in accounting systems and data tracking, ensuring allocated staff understands their responsibilities and time tracking mechanisms, reviewing and signing the grant agreement, notifying appropriate parties, and recording report deadlines on organization calendars. Then, grant professionals monitor the compliance of program implementation, funding expenditure, and data collection in preparation for submitting high quality grant reports.

  1. When was the last time your organization reviewed its grant management policies and procedures for compliance to the Uniform Grant Guidance?

Uniform Guidance was implemented as an authoritative, government-wide framework for grants management, superseding previous circulars. As a best practice, if all grant management policies are written in alignment and are periodically reviewed, you can be sure you’re following the benchmark.

  1. Does your organization follow the same standard operating procedures for grants and all other sources of revenue and expenditures? Is everyone on the grant team aware of the internal processes?

Internal controls are about more than just the grant you are implementing, they help our organizational systems function with a common understanding. In addition to telling appropriate internal parties that they are involved in a federal grant and the purpose and objective the grant seeks to achieve, stakeholders should be aware of any specific requirements, changes in procedures, and tracking requirements.

What comes next?

Next steps will look different depending on where you are in the post-award management process. It might look like working with your leadership to review, evaluate, revise, and implement post-award grant management procedures in alignment with the uniform grant guidance and best practices. If this task seems too overwhelming, or you want to have an expert weigh in on the process, you might consider partnering with us.

Assel Grant Services recently released an eight-part training series on grant management. Learn more about these trainings here. If you are interested in having us conduct a desk review of your policies and procedures, help you create or modify your policies and procedures to be in alignment with best practices and federal standards, or train your staff, Julie Assel, CGMS, GPC, President/CEO, will be happy to talk with you about these supports and provide you with a quote for grant management services.

This BLOG is aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #5: Knowledge of post-award grant management practices sufficient to inform effective grant design and development

Skill 5.2: Identify effective practices for key functions of grant management

Skill 5.4: Identify methods of establishing transitions to post-award implementation that fulfill project applications (e.g., document transfer, accuracy in post-award fiscal and activity reporting)

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