3 Things to Consider When Writing a Consortium Agreement
There’s a good chance you’re one of the many people around the nation who just crossed their fingers, held their breath and pressed the “submit” button to send in their completed TAACCCT proposal. If so, congratulations! I hope you get loads of funding. Because consortium projects like those funded by the TAACCCT grant are so complex, creating a thoughtful consortium agreement is a good best practice. In the game of consortium grants, the consortium agreement is the rule book. It outlines the expectations and scope of the project, and helps determine a system of accountability. When it comes time to write a consortium agreement, be sure to consider three often overlooked factors.
If you’re trying to get funding for a project that spans a period of a few years, keep in mind that you may see administrative shifts during the lifetime of the project. Your consortium agreement should provide clear guidance to any new staff members. Also an agreement should painstakingly detail the scope and expectation of the project as well as define the project deliverables and intended outcomes. That information can help convince incoming new leadership of the value of the project, and gain their support.
Consortium leads have a lot of stuff to figure out. First, they need to select consortium partners that are most likely to contribute to the success of the initiative. Next they have to determine the strengths and capabilities of these sub-recipients. Then they have to find the right balance when it comes to managing the sub-grantees (please note, I’m using the terms consortium partner, sub-recipient, and sub-grantee interchangeably since they’re referred to differently within various sectors). While the consortium agreement will help map out roles and responsibilities, it’s the consortium lead’s job to be the guardian of the initiative. The lead should think about tools such as grant management software that can help manage sub-recipients and provide real time performance reports to the grantor. Frequent glimpses into the project via performance reporting can help leads stay nimble, and make adjustments before anything bad happens. This step offers a layer of transparency and good governance that will go a long way toward everything from increasing the likelihood or repeat funding to earning public trust.
The Public Face of the Institution
One often unexpected outcome receiving a substantial award is the attention it can cast on your organization. It stands to reason that major funding can have major impacts on your organization and your community. It’s not uncommon for the media to contact the consortium lead or sub-recipients to learn about the project. Think about the message you want to convey. Consider preparing a media statement or issuing a news release that includes contact information for the person designated as the media spokesperson. Mapping out a media strategy in your consortium agreement will send the message that you’re fully prepared to accept the success coming your way.