Resolve to Make 2016 a Great Grants Year
Happy first workday to the 2016 grants community! If you’re like me, I have given up on making New Year’s resolutions at home. I like chocolate, wine, and enjoying life too much. But I usually do for work. There is something about the deadlines, personal development plans, and the recognition that I can’t do it all that makes the office a better “resolution” environment.
So I present my proposed grants resolutions – feel free to adopt.
- Make sure I really know 2 CFR 200. Did you see Shane’s 2015 review post last month? So much changed last year, with more likely to come. It’s definitely a good time to peruse the COFAR FAQs and go deeper into the themes of transparency, risk mitigation, accountability, and monitoring.
- Learn how to use at least one data source better. Last week I sat with our market research guru to pull out some customer data in excel. A pivot here, click there, and voila – three salient points from a source already at my finger tips. Made me feel empowered and a bit rusty.Excel not your thing? How about demographic data that could show how your organization’s program will serve particular populations in a target community. Go to the U.S. Census website this week to see what you can learn.
- Document three internal processes. I truly enjoy the conversations with people who tell me that they are the only person in their office that does everything. This may work for you now. But eventually, someone will come to doing a monitoring visit or conduct some other oversight activity. That’s the moment when you don’t want to have it all in your head.Keep it simple, especially if you are one of the do-it-alls. For example, next time you complete a Federal financial report, keep a list of all the steps you take from sending a request, to accounting, to taking a screen shot showing you uploaded the report on time.
- Like the one you’re with. During the last two months I have had at least five conversations with grants professionals stating that they can’t get X thing done because the staff in Y office is so uncooperative. And yes, three involved examples of the grant program versus budget office scenario.Why? Not just because working together is better for stress levels, the sake of good management, etc. Because the Uniform Guidance requires it. This crystalized for me during development of the latest version of our performance measurement course. If we need to report, let alone understand how grants build capabilities at a unit cost level, we need to work together better.Maybe this involves setting up a regular coffee break with your counterpart from the “other” office. Or maybe your organization formally recognizes that more than one office makes up the grants team. Consider ways that you can collectively share accountability.
- Follow the DATA Act. The actions the government will take in the next year will make for an interesting 2017. Keeping up-to-date will help you be prepared.
Now back to work. Or take a moment to share your resolutions below.