Federal grants.....the minute you hear these words.....every organization is interested in figuring out how to get money to initiate, improve, or develop their programs using grant funds. I hope that's not the case with your organization; when you apply for a grant especially a federal grant......YOU MUST BE GRANT READY.
QUESTIONS THAT YOU ARE ASKING
- What do you mean by being grant ready ---- can't I just apply for a grant? I am sure I can figure it out what I am supposed to do if I get the grant.
- Why should I worry about being grant ready---if I didn't even get the award.
- What is grant ready mean?
Do you buy anything without a plan? I know I don't. You are going to a wedding--Need a New Dress. You are going on a vacation---you need to decide where you are going, you need transportation, hotel, & meal (don't get me started if you have little kids---I have 3.)
Grants whether federal or non-federal work the same way. You need to plan to ensure you can manage the money when it comes your way. How can you be grant ready??
IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE RECEIVING FUNDS, ASK...
- Does your organization's mission & vision statement align with its strategic plan?
- Does your organization have a financial management system?
- Does your organization have the required policies and procedures in place?
- Does your organization have good internal controls in place?
Even if you have no federal grants or you have some federal grants, what can you do to ensure you are doing what is required from you for accountability. If you have said yes to #1 (Mission & Vision) & #2 (Financial Management System)---you are good to move on.
Divide your team in Pre-Award and Post-Award
Anything that happens before you hit the submit button to apply for the grant is the pre-award process. Examples: Reading the RFP for the grant, speaking with the program officer, and attending any webinars for the application process.
In Pre-Award process, you need to know who's the project manager, who are the writers etc. so it is essential to work with your team to understand/assign roles & responsibilities. This will help you stay on track unless you are a person team or if you are THE TEAM.
Anything that happens after you got the money is the post-award process. Examples: spending money, paying bills, requesting RFP's for big projects, submitting reports etc.
You got the award, yeah.......all your hard work is paid off. Celebrate, Celebrate!!
But, NOW WHAT???? I mean really......you submitted the proposal 6 months ago and I am sure you have written many more in the meantime. So, what you do now. You can contact me, Of course.
GRANTS MANAGEMENT PROCESS REVEALED
- Read the Approved Proposal Again
- Review the Notice of Award
- Review Grant Agreement
- Get your Post-Award Team in one Room
- Share the budget requirements
- Reporting Requirements
- Assign Roles & Responsibilities
- Set up Award in your financial system
- And, anything else that the grantor requires
- Implement & Manage Award
All of these things will start you on the right path of managing grants. Accountability is key and I believe it is important as you obtain more grants that your organization meets the best standards that are set by the Federal government.
Question: What do you different at your organization in regards to grants management? Share your thoughts.