To manage grant awards effectively, you’ve got to know the rules. With private funders, the regulations and requirements can usually be adequately handled through good business and accounting practices.
But it’s different with government grants, especially federal grants. Uniform Guidance issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), along with agency-specific and program-specific requirements, demand that someone within your organization develop an understanding of the rules and regulations.
- “While it’s true that knowing how to navigate the red tape is necessary, there’s much more to good grants management,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of the Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles. “All the rules and regulations in the federal archives won’t keep you on track if you don’t conquer what I call the ‘4 Cs.’ “
- Communication: “The most frequent grant management problems I see are the result of poor communication rather than ignorance of regulations,” said Floersch. To make sure a grant-funded program stays on track, organizations must communicate thoroughly, regularly, and thoughtfully with board members, staff members, partner organizations, and the community.
- Coordination: When implementing grant-funded programs, it’s not unusual for one hand to be ignorant of what the other hand is doing. Without solid coordination of effort, there will be miscommunication, overlap, dropped balls, and general chaos.
- Cooperation: “There’s no place for fiefdoms in grant management,” said Floersch. “Everyone has an important role to play and must cooperate fully with other players.” When roles are clearly defined, and those involved behave in a collegial, professional manner, programming generally rolls out in an organized way and stays on course to accomplish the intended results.
- Consistency: Good intentions aren’t enough. It does not matter that you intend to communicate, coordinate, cooperate, and maintain good records and files. What matters is whether you actually do it, and do it regularly. Spurts of conscientiousness don’t amount to much. Consistency does.
When managing grants, it’s necessary to follow the rules and regulations governing program implementation and business-related matters. But that alone won’t result in an effective, well-run program. “The human, interactive side of grants management makes all the difference,” said Floersch. Be sure the “4 Cs” are integrated into your grant management plan. © Copyright 2017 The Grantsmanship Center.