Grant managers know that having policies, procedures, and internal controls ensures accountability and transparency throughout the grant process. Using grant software also helps managers track and measure their activities. Managing funds in accordance with the terms of each grant is vital to smooth operation of a nonprofit.
5 Tips to Manage Grants
It is necessary to have a strong structure in place to manage grants. Most grants are awarded for specific purposes rather than general fund grants, meaning they have to be used for specific programs or activities. Tracking expenses back to the activity and against grant funds is essential to comply with the rules of the grant.
The following five tips can help you manage your grants better to ensure both compliance and transparency throughout the organization. The better you manage your grants and grant process, the better prepared you will be to report your progress to the grant organization and to apply for renewal of funds later.
Better Grant Management: 5 Tips
- Share a copy of the original grant: Be sure that everyone working on the project has read the entire grant proposal and guidelines. Depending on the length and complexity of the original document,it may be necessary to have someone distill salient points into a simple guideline for everyone working on the program.
- Use true fund accounting software such as Abila MIP to manage documentation. Abila MIP fund accounting helps you manage grant funds against program accounts to keep funding separate from other sources and to ensure that every penny is tracked back to the program where it counts.
- Enforce deadlines among employees, especially when it comes to submitting program reports, funding information, and other materials related to fulfilling the grant.
- Make sure that all employees also understand the organization’s policies regarding grant management, funding, and adherence to the grant’s program designations.
- Monitor all areas of grant management and funding. Use your grant management and fund accounting program reports to keep a close eye on all expenses and revenues pertaining to the grant. If anything looks unusual, check on it immediately.
It’s also important to put into practice good internal controls pertaining to grant management, too. This includes:
- Securing and safeguarding credit cards, banking information, and passwords
- Monitoring grant fund use and tracking all expenses to the fund allocation
- Training staff in grant processes and procedures
- Safeguarding any grant-related resources such as paperwork, applications, and program data
- Reconciling all bank and credit card statements regularly such as weekly, biweekly, or monthly, depending on the organization’s needs
- Following up on any outstanding items that appear after reconciliation
- Never keeping cash on hand related to the grant, or, if you must have petty cash, lock it up when it’s not in use and always have two people to count and witness moving cash into and out of lockboxes
- Requiring two signatures on checks related to grant funds
- Changing passwords regularly and requiring higher security passwords on banking and other financial information
Grant managers, like their counterparts in accounting and finance, know the importance of safeguarding data and ensuring clear, careful, and concise tracking of fund expenses. Internal controls are an important part of grant management as is ensuring clear communication among the team working on fulfilling the grant obligations. Software such as Abila MIP Fund Accounting makes grant management much easier.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.