October 2005 Featured Article
Pat Bohse, President of Bohse & Associates, Inc.
Millions of dollars are waiting for you! Many municipalities and not-for-profits have money due to them for services rendered, but they have not submitted either a final voucher and/or a final report to the funders to claim the monies due to them.
In the past articles that I have written we have given you helpful hints on how to search for grants from both traditional and non-traditional resources. While doing our research we have interviewed many different types of funders (private and public) and all of them have said the same thing. Agencies are doing much better at finding money and writing good proposals, but after they are awarded the contract they are not managing the grants well. “Managing the grant dollars is the weakest link in the giving process chain” they claim. It seems that some agencies do not have systems and procedures in place, and have not setup regular communications updates between the key players.
We have heard of many cases where large amounts of money have been left unclaimed because the grantee did not perform the required services within the time frame of the grant or they could not justify the expenses spent with grant money, or they just did not submit a final report or final voucher to claim monies due.
In these times where resources are becoming so hard to find we recommend that all municipalities review the status of your past and present grants and if there are open balances that you take appropriate steps to claim the money that is due.
The following are some suggestions on how to manage your grants better:
- Post Award Meeting – After you have received notice that you have been successful in securing a grant you should setup a meeting with the team members who will be responsible for executing the contract. The team should include the project director, comptroller/fiscal officer, and if appropriate, any collaborating partners and consultants. At the meeting you should review the deliverables in the contract, including program activities, and required staff. Outcomes evaluation tool. Set up time lines indicating who will be responsible for completing assigned tasks, and review the agency’s purchasing, payroll and accounting protocols.
- Create a file for each funding source so that all correspondence with the funder and other materials can be kept in a central location.
- Critical due dates should be on your electronic and hard copy calendars, these dates would include program start and completion dates, reporting deadlines, progress meeting dates, dates for submitting vouchers for reimbursement and the final report.
- Investigate electronic tools that are available to help you and the team make the process of grant management easier and more effective
- Track all expenses accurately by program, make sure the project director receives monthly reports so that he/she can monitor the spending (under or over), and the production of the contracted units of service. Outline what receipts must be kept to justify expenses and who will be the appropriate party to approve expenses in the grant.
- Progress Meeting – It is essential that the team meet throughout the contract year or years (some contracts are multi-year contracts). The purpose of these meetings are to keep everyone informed and accountable for the success of the grant. It also gives the agency the opportunity to make timely adjustments to be in compliance.
- Final Report – It should be determined at the first meeting who will be responsible to produce the final report, what data should be collected and reflected in the report, and when the final report would be submitted.
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