Top Advice for Successful Grant Management for Nonprofit Organizations
Managing grant dollars is one of the weakest links in the grant process chain. Directors tend to have detailed and documented process of researching and developing grant proposals. But frequently, that is where the process stops. Unfortunately, the inability of nonprofits to manage grant funds is the single most important reason why a funder may not fund them in the second or third year.
1. Track and document everything - Most government grants require significant documentation of all expenditures related to grants. Grant giving organizations require recipients to submit detailed supporting documents before grant payments are made. A system that has the capacity to automatically generate grant reimbursement based on grant activity not only saves time but improves accuracy.
2. Understand indirect costs - Grants come with indirect costs. Understand whether operating funds for administrative burdens will be covered or if you need to dig up additional funding. Ask your team if your organization is prepared to reallocate its administrative budget to cover the cost and if so for how long. Cost allocation will allow your organization to share overhead expenses across different programs.
3. Know your stuff - Essential to successful grant management is an understanding of and adherence to the regulations covering grant management. Regulatory compliance starts with federal guides for Cost Principles and Auditing from the Office of Budget and Management which subsequently impacts state and other local government grants and sets models of best practices for foundation and other private grantors.
4. Coordinate Your Task List and Staying on Schedule - Being able to quickly see what is coming up or quickly see a high-level view is critical to keeping the process running smoothly. SaaS based solutions can be utilized to track important deadlines and send email reminders of deadlines when they are approaching. This can be a great time-saver for the person who is organizing all the elements of a grant proposal and responsible for the final submission.
5. Keep a checklist– Implementing systems, policies and practices are essential items to consider and implement for success with any type of grant management.
· Accounting internal controls
· Cash Management that meets standards in the Cash Management Improvement Act
· Budget Controls
· Records Retention Policy
· Procurement system and internal controls
· Personnel System that complies with all laws and regulations
· Property Management System
· Travel policy