Federal grants management can be tricky, especially for first-time applicants. Want to know how you can manage it? This post will show you!
The process of acquiring government funding can be daunting and almost frustrating. From deciding on which grants to go for, to putting in applications, to following each one, one could easily lose track of everything. This is, organizations have prioritized designating someone or a number of persons to monitor their grant application processes. You are probably one such person!
But, even at that, resource persons like you may still find themselves falling to the general failings of men. You may forget deadlines or miss applications entries altogether (You are a mortal, after all). This is why it’s important to remember that there are resources available to help you attain the perfection you crave in your federal grants management.
In this article, we’ll discuss some tips that’ll position you well for greater efficiency. And it is our belief that, after reading this post, you’ll know what to expect and how to get started with your federal grants management process.
The Federal Grant making Process
The federal government awards grants to individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations through a complex process that can be difficult to navigate. As a grants management specialist, your first step in the grant application process, is to identify programs for which you/your organization may be eligible.
On the subject of eligibility, it is important that you interact with each grant directly, as there is no one-size-fits-all in the process. What this means, is that the eligibility criteria of one program may be different from that of another.
So, before you apply, it is your job to ascertain your/your organization’s eligibility. You can check this by visiting Grants.gov (the federal government’s online grants portal. The Grants.gov website provides a searchable database of all federal grant programs and offers tips on how to apply for grants.
Once you have identified a program for which you would like to apply, you must submit a grant application through the website and wait. While you are waiting, your application will be reviewed by the appropriate federal staff who will make a funding decision.
If your application is approved, you will be notified and awarded funds. At this point, though, It’s important to note that the federal government does not award grants to individuals; rather, it awards grants to organizations or state and local governments that then distribute the funds to individual applicants.
Types of Federal Grants
While there are a multitude of federal grants available to American grant seekers, the type of grant you may be eligible for will depend on your organization’s specific situation, goals and objectives. The most common types of federal grants are as follows:
- Project Grants: Awarded to individuals or groups to carry out a specific project or activity
- Non-project Grants: Awarded to individuals or groups for general support or operating expenses
- Formula Grants: Awards granted to states, local governments and other qualifying organizations based on pre-determined criteria
- Discretionary Grants: Awards granted at the discretion of the grant maker, often to individual grant seekers or groups with specific needs
Applying For Federal Grants
If you are doing this for the first time, then you must know that applying for federal grants can be overwhelming. It is not impossible, though. And, here are a few tips to make the process a bit easier for you:
1. Do your research: Make sure you understand the eligibility requirements and how to apply for the grant you’re interested in.
2. Organize yourself: Make sure you have all the necessary information and documents ready before you start filling out the application.
3. Follow the instructions carefully: Read and follow all submission instructions, and ask for help if you need it.
4. Ask questions: If you have any questions about the application or grant process, don’t hesitate to ask someone from the agency or organization that’s responsible for administering the grant. Asking questions is a fundamental part of federal grants management.
Managing Federal Grants
Federal grants management is not an easy task, but with the right tools and advice, it can be manageable. So, here are a few tips to help put your federal grants management journey on track:
-Create a system for tracking your grant applications, submissions and correspondence
-Stay organized and keep track of deadlines
-Make use of online grant management tools and resources
-Stay in compliance with all grant regulations
-Get expert help when needed
What Do Federal Grant Managers Do
On a general note, federal grant managers are involved at every stage of the grant application process. And, this is why your work is very important. But to summarize the functions of a federal grants management specialist, the US office of Personnel Management (OPM) sums it up thus:
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The Pre-Award Stage
- Federal grant managers take care of program announcements and requests for applications or ideas for funding under assistance grants
- Managing, reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating grant/assistance applications, plans, and budgets.
- Using calculations and procedures, as well as defined eligibility requirements, such as competitive rating factors, to determine awardee eligibility.
- Assessing risks and conducting business evaluations
The Award Stage
- Negotiating grant/assistance award terms and conditions, including expenses, schedules, and supervisory responsibilities.
The After-award Stage
- Grants/assistance awards preparation, processing, issuing, and tracking, as well as reporting requirements
- Monitoring and assessing awardee performance, as well as defining performance measures, are all part of the program assessment process.
- Monitoring, evaluating, and verifying that the awardee adheres to all the terms and conditions of the award
- initiating and/or urging the conduct of an audit
- In collaboration with resolution officials, resolving audit findings or monitoring resolving audit findings.
- Conducting post-award evaluations and analysis in order to uncover management, financial, and administrative difficulties
- Assuring that recipients of federal subsidies adhere to the government’s environmental and other policies.
- Finalizing awards, making any modifications or changes, while processing close-outs; and ensuring compliance with all regulatory and legal standards.
Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Reporting Requirements For Federal Grants
Even if it is not a requirement to submit any reports to the federal government, it’s still a good idea to keep track of your grant funds and expenditures. This helps to ensure that your grant is being spent just as you said it will be spent, and it can also help with future grant applications.
There are a few different ways to report on your federal grant funds, depending on the type of grant and the organization you’re working with. But, generally, reports should include information on how the funds were spent, as well as an evaluation of the results that you are able to achieve. It’s also important to track any changes in your project or program, so you can report on those as well.
Federal grants provide essential funding for many important projects across the United States, and understanding how to navigate the federal grant-making process is critical for any American looking to secure funding.
That is what the concept of federal grants management entails, and you should be conversant with this as a professional in the grant management business.
The tips in this article should provide a good starting point, even if you are just starting in federal grants management.
So, good luck!