1. Keep Your Nonprofit Out of Trouble With Funders and the IRS
This is crucial if your nonprofit plans to seek future grants, especially if you're working with or pursuing government funds. Nonprofits that haven't followed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) or foundation spending guidelines can end up on the “excluded parties” list, meaning they will never be allowed to apply for or accept grants again.
A good grant manager will analyze your financial systems and make improvements if needed. They will ensure that your grants are being spent only on allowable items and are being properly documented. They will also make sure that everyone working on grants documents their time and effort for the performed work.
2. Prepare Your Audit
Every nonprofit that spends more than $300,000 of government grants in one fiscal year is required to go through an audit. This means that the nonprofit's financial systems and grant implementation documentation will be processed in a systematized way to prove full compliance with both your and your funder's organizational policies and procedures. This process is rigorous for government funders, and a good grant manager must know their restrictions.
3. Create or Update Policies and Procedures for How Grants Must Be Used and Accounted
A good grant manager knows that your CPA will analyze your policies and procedures for internal controls if your nonprofit is ever audited and will look for proof that you regularly follow these practices. Having quality policies and procedures is equally important. They should be original and customized to the needs and processes of your nonprofit. The grant manager must ensure these are regularly updated and shared with the board and check if they are being followed as needed.
4. Support Your Nonprofit in Meeting the Policies
A good grant manager must balance using rules and regulations as sanctions versus using them to support and educate your nonprofit into becoming a better functioning organization. They need to review your organizational policies and procedures and analyze your financial documentation and grant reporting systems. With this information, they must sit down with the board and show how your practices, policies and procedures align with the law or funder regulations.
5. Help You Create Organization-Wide Forms, Spreadsheets and Reports to Track Grant Activity and Evaluation
A good grant manager will have tools they can use to keep your grants on track. That's why you should look for a manager who has extensive knowledge and experience with spreadsheets and related project management software and technologies. They need to be organized and have a system for your grant documentation for easier tracking and control.
6. Oversee the Leadership of the Grant Programs
Putting your grant manager over the grant leadership staff will stop you from having to deal with the daily functioning of grant programs. That person should hold regular meetings with your team and require grant leaders to regularly report on the progress of grant activities, so the progress and accomplishments are adequately tracked and reviewed. A grant manager should also help grant leaders deal with funding, grant sustainability and partnerships. This means they must have grant writing and grant implementation experience.