Grant funded projects can run smoothly even if turnover is high
Managing grant money and reporting to a funding agency about a project can be tricky if there is high-turnover in staff. Often, new staff won’t know where to begin or where the previous staff left-off on reporting to a funding agency. If this scenario sounds familiar or even sounds in the realm of possibility, now would be a good time to create a grants management master file and develop good routines for communicating and creating tracking tools. Ideally, these procedures and processes should be done from the start when you’re planning and creating your grant proposal.
Managing a grant demands an abundance of paperwork and reporting to fulfill the requirements of an award. It’s a good idea to set up a grant management master file for each grant award that your institution receives. To get your project off to a good start (or back on track) consider creating a grant management master file that includes:
- The original grant solicitation (RFP)
- The Notice of Award (NOA)
- Finalized and approved budget, and statement of work (SOW) plan
- Prior versions of budget(s) and approvals
- Project monitoring reports
- Meeting minutes from pre-award and post-award project meetings
- Narrative reports and financial reports required by the funding agency
- Other communication documents (among internal staff, to and from the funding agency, and other external stakeholders)
- Log of required communication, and other critical exchanges
- Other documentation related to meeting project milestones and/or performance measurements
- Any other forms required by the Federal agency
Keeping each grant management master file up-to-date and complete will pave the way for an easier transition when a new project manager or other staff are hired. A complete grant management master file will help your organization’s new staff get up-to-speed quickly and efficiently and effectively manage a grant-funded project. It will also help your organization reduce risk for faulting on compliance with the funding agency, which will enable your project to continue to perform well.
For a project to run smoothly, even if your grant-funded project team turns over, you should also develop and implement a strong communication system and use tools to monitor and track your project activities and costs. Establish strong communication habits and tracking tools from the start, or if you’re already in the ‘throws’ of your project, do it now and going forward. Whether your organization is managing one grant or a hundred grants, establishing consistent and proactive communication and implementing manual or software tracking tools will bolster grant management at your organization. A program manager should create regular communications with each grant funding program officer. It is a good practice to contact a grant program officer with any questions and concerns rather than risk the chance of doing something that is against the compliance requirements of a grant.
Although it may take time to establish and perform on these processes and procedures, you will find that your hard work will inevitably lead to positive outcomes for your organization. You will find that your grant-funded projects will run more smoothly and be more effective in resolving whatever problems you are helping to solve with grant funds.
For more great tips about applying for and managing grant funded projects, listen to our recorded webinar, Tips and Tricks for Applying for Grants.