Best practices on fulfilling U.S. Department of Labor grant reporting requirements
Getting a grant is a wonderful achievement and once the grant is received, the real work of managing the grant begins. Managing Department of Labor (DOL) grants is similar to managing other state and federal grants. The key to successful grant management is to know the expectations and deadlines, and establish a clear process and procedure for record-keeping that will allow the grant manager to submit information in a timely manner. Setting clear expectations and procedures at the beginning of the grant cycle will help the management process run smoothly from start to finish.
The first step to effective DOL grant management is to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the grant. Establish clear deadlines and expectations for record keeping and report submission. Be sure that there is one person (the grant coordinator) who will regularly check-in with others and track the record submissions for the entire grant. The grant coordinator should keep copies of all submitted reports and a “master calendar” of all due dates.
The grant coordinator should then meet with those involved for an overview training of the reporting needs. Be sure that each person knows what reporting responsibilities he/she is responsible for and the deadlines for report submission. Each individual should note the due dates and the reporting responsibilities for their area and should develop an internal plan for gathering, storing, and reporting needed information. Most institutions that apply for grants have financial offices, which are adept at financial record keeping and reporting, making the financial reporting perhaps the easiest part of grant reporting. This is also a good time to review security and privacy roles for keeping individual data safe. Communication at this phase is essential so that everyone knows their responsibilities.
As due dates approach, the grant coordinator should check-in with each area to ensure that information is being gathered and recording appropriately. The grant coordinator should also send reminders of due dates for reporting and follow-up to make sure the reports are submitted. Reviewing and keeping copies of all reports submitted is another responsibility of the grant coordinator.
Depending on the length of the grant, it may be important to meet and review timelines and responsibilities again – especially for multi-year grants and if key staff roles change. This keeps grant management on-track and all parties moving forward.
Finally, as the end of the grant cycle approaches, final reports and ending procedures will need to be completed. This is a good time to pull key players back together to discuss the processes needed to close out the grant effectively. It is also the time to review records storage and shred the records you won’t keep, as well as prepare final reporting requirements. The grant coordinator should review end-of-grant deadlines and reporting requirements and make sure everyone knows his/her role.
Successfully managing a major grant takes planning, coordination and follow-through; however, the benefits of receiving a grant and seeing the impact it can have is well worth the effort.
About the Author
Dr. Wendy E. Kruger is the Grants Specialist at Pasco-Hernando State College. With over 32 years of educational experience in district curriculum leadership along with teaching journalism and English at both high school and collegiate levels, Dr. Kruger brings a lifetime of educational experiences to this position. Grant writing allows Wendy to support the students and faculty at the College, using her writing and organizational skills to develop project proposals that will bring funding to the school.