RECEIVING A GRANT:NOW THE REAL WORK BEGINS


By James V. D’Ambrosio

That large grant you worked so hard for has finally come through — the award letter sits on your desk. Teeming with delight in securing resources for your agency, you kick back, relax, and revel in your accomplishment, as you should — you have outmaneuvered the competition and deserve kudos. However, winning a grant is just the beginning; much needs to be done to administer it.  Welcome to the world of post-award management!

As experienced development professionals and nonprofit managers will attest, more work is often involved in managing a grant than securing it. Federal grants, in particular, are notorious for mountains of paperwork, exacting guidelines, and strict reporting requirements.

For the purposes of this column, imagine you’re working for a nonprofit social service agency and have secured a $100,000 grant to expand a teen drug counseling program for one year. The following — not necessarily in this order — is a preliminary list of actions you might take to ensure programmatic success and properly administer the award:

GRANT ADMINISTRATION — OPERATIONAL TASKS

♦ Send a press release announcing the award to media, post information on social media platforms and Web site, and include in next newsletter.

♦ Discuss award at next board meeting; share news at staff meeting and discuss — in broad terms — what the expansion of services will mean for the agency and it’s employees.

♦ Maintain contact with funder, confirming all requirements for acceptance — acknowledgement letter, submitting required forms, documentation of program activities, and reporting schedule.

♦ Advertise for new staff positions on Web site, social media outlets, and with professional associations; seek referrals from professional networks — board, staff, colleagues, etc. 

♦ Determine start dates for new positions, dovetailing with expected receipt of funds.

♦ Review resumes with staff, select candidates to interview (allowing 4-6 weeks to select finalists and extend job offers).

♦ Order new equipment — computers, desks, furniture, supplies, etc.

♦ Set up work space for expansion — staff and counseling areas.

♦ Assign staff to acclimate new employees to the agency.

♦ Extend job offers. Upon acceptance, send letters confirming job title, start date, salary, and description of duties.

♦ Submit hiring recommendations to the board for approval.

♦ Have new employees complete job application and W-4 forms in advance of start date.

♦ Ensure all follow-up procedures are completed, as required by grantor.

♦ Review/explore plans for continuing operations beyond one-year grant extension. Ask for status report three (3) months after start date.

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QUESTION TO READERS: What other items do you think would be important in implementing this grant?

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