What happens after you are approved for your grant?
By Denise S. Schlegel
One of the most frequently asked questions from my grant writing students is “What happens after you are approved for your grant?” If you are the point of contact for the grant award or the person listed in the application as the authorized official you will receive an email notifying you of your department’s award.
The first task for the point of contact is to register at least one person from your department as the financial point of contact in the Grants Management System GMS User Guide. The GMS User guide will walk the grant recipient through all of the needed signatures, registrations and rules for grants.
The second task is to print out the award and special conditions document and review it very carefully. Once your department has accepted the terms and special conditions of the contract an authorized recipient must sign the contract and fax it to the OJP Control Deck at 202.353.8475 or 202.616.5962. The signature in box 18 (GMS registered authorized official) on the form must match the signature box 19 in the form. If that person has changed a grant adjustment notices (GAN) will have to be initiated in the grants management system. Once the grants program office has approved the new authorized person then the department can sign and fax the award and special conditions contract.
The third task is to access the grant payment request system by logging into the https://grants.ojp.usdoj.gov/gprs/login and complete a new users registration. Registration approval takes about 24 hours.
The fourth task is to submit a completed Automated Clearing House form with the original signature of the bank representative (your bank used for financial transactions). You must use a tracking courier service such as FEDEX. UPS, etc. The address and complete instructions is posted in the GMS Users guide.
The fifth task is to enable your department to access to the Grant Payment Request System (GPRS).
If you are denied a payment request you will need to research the cause or reason. Most of the problems with payment can be avoided by carefully following the GMS and Financial Guide carefully. The most common reasons are
· Special conditions of the grant were not met GMS User Guide
· Certain reporting requirements throughout the life of the grant were not fulfilled (reports incomplete or missing, appropriate data not sent, program objectives not met etc.)
· Legislation and federal grant management procedures were followed (2011 Financial Guide)
· Amount of requested exceeded what was available for the remainder of the grant funds
· Grants reports not submitted by the due date
· Grant end date passed and an administrative closeout was initiated
Reports are required to allow for continued funding from the grant award. Federal financial reports are due quarterly. Program Progress reports are duce twice a year. When developing your grant application it is wise to set up your monitoring and evaluation tasks for quarterly reviews around the federal financial and progress reporting requirements. This way you are assured of meeting the deadlines for all of your reporting requirements and won’t be denied payment.
The Grants Management Users Guide will direct you on the process for submission of reports. This guide has step by step instructions for each of the above described tasks. The GMS helpdesk is available Monday through Friday 6am to midnight ET. The phone number is 1.888.549.9901 (option 3). You may also reach customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each grant award has a Program manager assigned in your award letter. Make sure you add this person to your contact list and have the number handy for questions you may have about managing your grant.
While managing grants myself, I always enter the entire year of deadlines on my project wall calendar and Outlook calendar. I also schedule reminders to collect the data needs to complete those reports two weeks ahead of the deadline. That way my computer helps remind me of the tasks needed to be able to stay within compliance of the grant requirements. If I am managing more than one grant I assign a color to each project and color code the wall calendar to see each deadline more clearly.
Being denied a payment causes many problems. Preparation and strong organizational skills are your best protection from payment denial or audit by the federal agency. Download the Federal Financial Guide, the GMS Users guide and review them carefully when developing a grant application as well as managing one. The more diligent you are with the guidelines and guides the fewer problems you will have with the money!