Performance Measurement in the Pre-Award Phase
In the last year, the grants community has had to adapt many new practices and processes to implement the requirements found in 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance). One area of concern for Federal awarding agencies, non-Federal entities, and pass-through entities is how to adequately report, monitor, and evaluate a grant project’s performance. As stated in the preamble to 2 CFR 200, the Federal government seeks to shift the focus of accountability for Federal awards from compliance with requirements to the actual performance and results of Federally-funded projects. As a result, agencies and recipients are being held accountable for how well a project achieves its intended results through the use of performance measurement.
Performance measurement is the ongoing monitoring and reporting of a project’s accomplishments and is a key analytical tool used to hold agencies and recipients accountable for the administration of Federal awards. 2 CFR 200 greatly expands the use of and reliance on performance measurement in all aspects of the grant lifecycle.
Successful implementation of a grant project requires significant planning and development during the pre-award phase. For Federal awarding agencies, this includes:
- Reviewing authorizing statutes and appropriations for Congressionally-mandated performance measurement requirements
- Where appropriate, aligning grant program goals, objectives, and performance measures to agency goals and priorities, as required under 2 CF 200.202(b)(1)
- Identifying a grant program’s performance measurement requirements in the notice of a Federal financial assistance program published in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
- Describing the performance measurement requirement for recipients in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
Before applying for a grant, non-Federal entities should carefully review a grant program’s CFDA notice and NOFO. Non-Federal entities should ensure the application addresses all performance measurement requirements.
Grant applicants should be aware that an increasing number of Federal grant programs are requiring applicants to submit a logical model. Logic models identify a projects’ inputs, activities, outputs, and expected outcomes. In essence, a logic model explains how a project will achieve its intended goals and identifies the performance measures used to evaluate a project’s performance. Applicants may have to devote significant resources to successfully develop a logic model.
Additionally, grant applicants have to develop a data collection plan to identify how the organization will obtain the necessary data to measure the project’s performance. In a grant application, non-Federal entities should clearly identify what data will be collected, the method to collect the data, and how that data will be used to measure a project’s performance.
What concerns do you have about performance measurement requirements? Let us know in the comments section below.