The grant management process can be daunting. There are many steps involved, people who need to be contacted, and regulations that need to be followed. If you’re wondering how to effectively manage grants, we’re here to help. Here are three ways to simplify the grant management process.
There are two groups to keep in mind when beginning the grant management process — the granting organizations and the applicants.
All grant opportunities are affected by a large variety of laws and regulations, as well as the terms and conditions of the award. Granting organizations must follow these laws/regulations in the solicitation, review, and awarding of grants. Whether a granting organization is a federal agency, non-profit, or industry, they are all tasked with ensuring they provide effective stewardship over the grant funds they disburse and manage. This means they strive to fund work that aligns with their mission and goals.
Your organization is the applicant for grant opportunities, and as such, must find a way to articulate how any proposal fits the needs of the granting organization. There are many details to track in the grant management process, so it can be easy to forget that the grantor is expecting a proposal that responds to their needs. Before beginning your search for grants, be sure to understand what you are planning to accomplish. Have a clear vision, mission, and goals for the proposed work. You are more likely to obtain funding if you have a clear focus in mind.
Ensure that you are aware of any legislation changes around grants and reporting requirements. This will help your organization avoid possible financial compliance violations and can also help you understand how these legislative requirements will impact your grant. Any new legislation has the potential to create changes that can significantly impact your funding.
The main stages of the grant process should be monitored to ensure a smooth grant management process.
Before you begin searching for grant proposals, be sure you know what you want to accomplish. Your mission, vision, and goals for your organization should be clearly articulated, as this will help you discover the appropriate funding that is needed to achieve your goals.
The next step is to put together a list of potential funders. This process can be simplified by using a third-party fund-searching service such as GrantForward. GrantForward has created an easy-to-use database of available grants to help institutions find grant opportunities that fit their needs. Without a third-party service, finding funders is a bit more challenging. Pay attention to areas where you could already have possible connections, such as current donors, suggestions from stakeholders, members of the community, etc.
Once you have identified your goals and put together a list of possible sponsors, it’s time to create and develop proposals. Sponsors will notice if you waited until the last minute to complete your application, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to develop your proposal. Ensure that your proposal clearly conveys what grants you are applying for, and how they meet the sponsor’s needs.
Once you’ve been awarded a grant, it’s time to work on some post-award tasks. Reporting and monitoring are two things to focus on during your grant period. Specific reporting requirements are outlined in the grant agreement or sponsor policy manuals. Some of the required reporting may include financial overviews, changes made to the original plan, and the work that has been accomplished so far. Be sure to also monitor spending to ensure cost allowability, and prevent overspending and depletion of grant funds.
Identify reporting requirements for your new grant award. Some grants have certain specific requirements, while others have more general requirements. After identifying the requirements, create a plan to meet them. Set up your budget and ensure that your system will appropriately disperse funds in accordance with the grant agreement.
Close-out is the final part of the post-award stage and takes place at the end of the project period for a grant. This process involves submitting financial, performance, and other reports to the grant funder within 90 days of the grant expiring. Preparation for close-out should begin a few months before the end of the grant to make sure that there is time for any possible adjustments to be made. This process can be made a little easier through early coordination between the administrator and the principal investigator and by setting deadlines to leave time for any possible adjustments.
Compliance activities occur throughout the life of a project. Compliance regulations exist for Human Subjects Research, Animal Research, Conflict of Interest, and many more. During the pre-award process, the proposal may include one or more compliance activities that need to be tracked over the life of the award. The principal investigator will need to understand how to navigate compliance, including protocol submission, COI disclosures, and more. There can be serious consequences for violation of compliance policies.
At Kuali, we’re focused on improving your grant management process by providing software designed to help you at each step. From proposal development through award closeout and compliance, our software helps organizations maximize the funding they receive to make more knowledgeable decisions. By using the right Electronic Research Administration software, you’ll be able to win more awards, help your staff and faculty save time, avoid fees and penalties, and more. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you implement better grant management solutions.