Recent federal initiatives to standardize grant reporting requirements, such as the DATA Act, Uniform Grant Guidance and Treasury “Do Not Pay,” have left some nonprofits questioning how to meet new compliance requirements.
Organizations will now be more accountable for funds received, spending transparency and performance. But, this requires grant recipients to link activities to financial expenditures and results, and report to funders in standardized formats.
Below we overview grantees' readiness for these changes by highlighting key findings from our 2015 State of Grant Management Report.
Grantee Pain Points
Though these initiatives will be beneficial for all parties involved, a lack of direction from federal agencies has left many grantees confused on how to implement. For example, while the government released 57 data standard elements in May 2015, it has yet to provide actionable steps on how to integrate them into everyday processes.
Grantees also expect more complex reporting processes to have a trickle-down effect into their workload. In our recent report, 71% of those who receive federal funding expressed new regulations are creating more work for their organizations.
They also find fund management and reporting a challenge. Only 8% of organizations receiving funds from sources other than the government cited fund management and reporting as a leading challenge. Yet, this pain point nearly doubles to 17% when the primary revenue source is the government.
Overall, federal award-reliant organizations are seeking ways to better understand reform implications, and how to prepare themselves to comply with federal awards.
Proper Grant Management Preparation
So how can grantees prepare for compliance? It starts with education and adapting processes to align with federal requirements:
- Stay up-to-date with changes. Follow industry outlets to provide your organization with insight on new standards and regulations in real-time, such as the Data Transparency Coalition and Whitehouse.gov.
- Report regularly on performance. Strategically organize grant activities, spend and results by award and project using internal identifiers. This way, you can run reports on performance and financial activities, and ensure awards are on track to meet your goals and budget requirements.
- Keep up with the latest technology. Our report discovered that 67% of respondents still use legacy, in-house solutions (e.g. Excel, PDFs, Word documents) to manage their grants, leading to time-consuming, manual processes. Grant management software can help eliminate wasted time spent on administrative and reporting tasks. It also manages information as data for easy reporting in the standardized formats government agencies require.
Want to learn more on the current state of grant management? Download our “2015 State of Grant Management Report.”
How is your organization preparing for new federal initiatives? Share in the comments below.
Image Source: David Goering