“The best grant managers don’t sit, waiting anxiously for trouble to come knocking,” said Barbara Floersch of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “They’re proactive. They’re a special sort of smoke detector, monitoring systems and watching quality indicators to sniff out emerging problems and address them before fire breaks out.”
Your organization’s policies, procedures, and internal controls are safety-net systems that help ensure you operate grant-funded programs effectively, and in compliance with rules, regulations, and obligations specified in the grant award. “They’re necessary, structural components of a successful organization,” said Floersch. “But it’s not unusual for staff to be unaware or ill-informed about these essential rules of the road. And when that’s the case, some degree of organizational chaos is inevitable.”
To promote successful grant operations, Floersch offers the following tips.
- Make sure every staff member responsible for program implementation reads the original grant proposal and understand the deliverables, outcomes expected, and timeframes.
- Provide employees with deadlines for delivery of the data or reports for which they’re responsible
- Require every employee to read the organization’s policies and procedures and discuss questions with supervisors.
- Train all new employees in policies and procedures, and in their roles related to internal controls.
- Provide periodic refresher training on policies, procedures, and internal controls for everyone on staff.
- Be sure supervisors are monitoring implementation, data gathering, and reporting. And be sure they’re holding staff accountable to the rules of the road articulated in organizational policies and procedures.
If you find staff members aren’t implementing the program as planned, or if reporting is late or inadequate, that’s an SOS that additional training and supervision are required. If the programmatic review by the funder or the annual audit by a certified public accountant result in concerning findings, that’s an alarm that your systems aren’t adequate and should be reviewed and corrected.
“Regular training and supervision are a small price to pay for the efficiency and peace of mind that provides,” said Floersch. “Preventing a mess is less time-consuming and less stressful than cleaning one up.” © Copyright 2019 The Grantsmanship Center.