The number of consortia grants awarded to organizations may see a spike as we enter 2014. This is due to increasing competition for federal awards, resulting from budget cuts and less fund availability.
If you have never had to manage, or be a part of, consortia grants and projects, don’t fret. This post overviews what a consortia grant is and best practices for management.
Consortia Grants Fuel Consortium Projects
With consortia grants, one organization is awarded the grant money, but it then distributes some of these funds to others.
The lead organization is legally, financially and administratively responsible for the correct appropriation of the award.
To comply with the award, the lead recipient is expected to work in conjunction with organizations, or sub-recipients, on a centralized project funded by said award money.
The responsibilities associated with consortia grants are much greater than that of a standard award. Compliance measures are strict and, with the passage of proposed legislation currently in Washington, reporting will become even more complex.
These factors warrant a technology solution to help ease management burdens.
Mitigate the Undertaking of Consortium Projects
Managing a consortium project can be a large undertaking for an organization. These projects require increased communication with a multitude of invested parties, as well as strict deadlines and compliance stipulations.
As the lead recipient of an award, the burden of compliance is placed solely on you. This means you are responsible for ensuring that all of your sub-recipients are also compliant. Managing, monitoring, reporting on and auditing sub-recipients are the biggest challenges organizations face with consortia grants.
Without a streamlined process in place, management can be unruly. Common communication methods, such as email and phone calls, are time consuming, placing a heavy administrative load on your organization.
The most important things to set up before you embark on consortium projects are channels for clear communication, central document and file storage, and unique grant IDs for management and reporting ease.
Grant management software is not only great for managing your internal team, grants and deadlines, but also extremely helpful for the management of sub-recipients.
- Manage recipients by assigning them both financial and programmatic performance expectations.
- Automate the creation of unique grant IDs, enabling systematic reporting on all grant activities both inside and outside the organization.
- Eliminate one-off emails with automated reminders, and easy transfer of documents and materials.
- Pull performance reports at both the project and grant level, easing compliance requirements and preparing you for audit.
It is imperative that your organization has clear insight into the activities of sub-recipients. Since liability for the project’s compliance is in your hands, successful management contributes to the grantors overall evaluation of you. As you can imagine, positive outcomes make you more qualified for future grants.