Put yourself in the funder’s shoes — who would you choose to fund? These tough decisions are complex and include assessing an organization’s ability to deliver on the promises made in the grant proposal. Applicants must have the capacity to translate program plans into action, and the action into measurable results.
“Internal controls are safety-net procedures and protocols that support effective programming and accurate, ethical operations,” said Barbara Floersch, chief of training and curriculum of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “At their best, they provide vigorous, appropriate checks and balances to ensure all systems are running smoothly. Well-defined internal controls mitigate the risk that a grant-funded program will fail.”
Internal controls are the processes and systems through which your organization ensures that it is operating effectively, accurately handling its finances and accounting, reporting reliable data, and complying with its own policies and procedures as well as applicable laws and regulations. “These controls extend far beyond the prevention of fraud,” said Floersch. “They provide a structure for accountability and promote excellence in all operations. Ideally, they assure good stewardship of grant funds.”
When assessing your organization’s internal controls, Floersch recommended taking a look at the Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government (www.gao.gov). This document, also known as The Green Book, was produced for federal agencies but is considered a seminal resource for any type of organization. The Green Book discusses and explains five primary components of internal control.
When strong, well-defined internal controls are in place, you’re in a much stronger position to make the case that a grant award to your organization will be a good investment. “This is all about being sure that your house is in order,” said Floersch. “It’s about much more than dotting an “i” and crossing a “t.” It’s about using grant funds appropriately to produce the impact everyone wants to see.” © Copyright 2019 The Grantsmanship Center.
As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.