Grant Coordinator Orientation Information
Congratulations! If you have reached this stage then you have a submitted a grant. This page will help you get acquainted with the Grant Administration Office’s (GAO) protocols for managing a grant. Please look through the following information before clicking the link at the bottom. You can contact the GAO with any questions that come up during the process.
Once the grant is submitted, there are some preparatory steps that are necessary to ensure the grant can begin on time.
A. Complete the Project Coordinator Agreement – Once you have finished reading this page, click on the link at the bottom to complete the agreement. This agreement recognizes that you acknowledge the expectations of coordinating a grant. Please print a copy of the agreement for your records and share with your supervisor.
B. Staffing Approvals – One of the surest ways to get behind in your grant timeline is the hiring process. While nobody can guarantee when a position will be filled, there are steps that should be taken to minimize uncertainty. Within the first month after submission, you should contact Recruiting in the Human Resources Department to complete job description, 2) submit it in the Position Manager system, and get provisionally approved through the Position Review Committee.
C. Reporting Tools – Any data that will be tracked during your grant will need to be documented in a tool. These tools may be existing databases or new tools developed specifically for the project. In most cases, these tools should be in place when the grant is approved so staff can focus on implementing the project that will be collecting the data. This could require a work order with Healthcare Analytics, the development of a document with protocols, or even coordination with an external evaluator. It’s important to note here that this will set the bar for reporting throughout the project. Your tools must measure the outcomes outlined in the grant application, which is the primary purpose of the funder’s reporting requirements. If you are unsure about what will be expected during your project, please contact the GAO for guidance in establishing the necessary tracking/reporting process. The GAO will not authorize funds disbursement without a data tracking process in place.
Marketing/Corporate Communications – Following award notification, the GAO will send a summary of the grant project and funding to both Marketing and Corporate Communications. GAO recommends the Project Coordinator sets up a joint meeting with their representatives to ensure any potential press releases and system-wide communication is facilitated. The Project Coordinator will need to be familiar on marketing requirements from the funder.
C. Managing the Grant Budget – In your orientation meeting, the GAO will also outline the budget management procedures. Managing your grant budget is the second most significant part of the grant behind achieving your project objectives. We have streamlined this process to make managing your budget easy but it is imperative that you actively and independently track your project budget so you remain on schedule with spending and you do not go over budget in any area causing the GAO to bill your department. Here is an overview:
- Grant Disbursements – Funding disbursements will be deposited through the CoxHealth Foundation and tracked individually. This means you will not be responsible to track this part of the process.
- Grant Expenses – Your grant budget was structured to cover most or all the expenses of your project. The Foundation has simple and flexible methods for ensuring project bills are paid.
A) Recurring monthly expenses can be set up to automatically be transferred to your department’s general ledger. This includes items like salary and benefits. All other expenses must be submitted through a payment request. The Foundation can also transfer the reimbursement to your general ledger. All expenses require documentation .
- Payment Requests – These should be submitted with the email template provided and include the proper budget category, grant number, totals, requisition number, and ledger number. Each request should also have accompanying documentation for each expense. Payment requests that do not include these elements may be returned to the sender. See the Guide to Payment Request for more information on completing this form.
- Dates – GL transfers are submitted through a payment request. GL Transfers are processed on the last business day of each month and must be received by end of business in order to be applied during the same month.
- Reimbursements – When reimbursements hit your department GL, they will appear under the sub-account 47120 for charitable revenue. The GL account number will be based on the 6-digit code you provide in the Payment Request. Please contact the GAO if you have problems tracking these reimbursements in your monthly statements from Accounting.
- Tracking the Budget – The GAO tracks each submitted expense and reports back to the Project Coordinator on budget variances – usually monthly after the 15th. The Project Coordinator will receive a Variance Report that shows expenses compared to the budget and an Itemized Expense Report that lists each expense for verification purposes. The Expense Report will enable you to verify that expenses have been processed and categorized correctly. The Project Coordinator is expected to compare these reports to their own records to identify any errors. If funds expended exceed the amount of the award, the additional funds will not be reimbursed. If funds are transferred for an amount that exceeds the award amount, the excess amount will be charged back to the department’s general ledger. For your convenience, the Grant Tracking Sheet was developed to simplify the tracking process for you.
B. Communication – Throughout the lifetime of your grant, communication will be a critical component of success. The GAO exists to support the important work you do and ensure it can grow under the grant funding that is awarded. We suggest proactive communication so we can address questions or concerns before an issue arises. We also want to be part of the successes that occur a long the way so we can help tell your story across the organization and community. The Monthly Grant Communication form is due on the 10th of each month.
C. Process Improvement – The nature of grant funding is to improve circumstances for a group of individuals and/or an organization. Since grant funding is time limited, the opportunity for improvement can be finite. As such, the GAO expects Project Coordinators to facilitate a process improvement strategy that includes both data analysis and evaluation of protocols. Depending on the grant, process improvement can be simple or a complex process. Either way, this ensures that 1) time and resources are efficiently applied to the need but also 2) data is tracked, analyzed, and used to justify to the funder that the success or failure of the project is reflective of passionate effort to achieve the best outcomes possible for the participants.
- Process versus Evaluative Outcomes – Each project has a set of evaluative outcomes that is expected as a condition of funding. This serves as the value proposition, or the purchase the funder has made with the grant. Within this are process outcomes, or ‘benchmarks’, that serve as incremental indicators of success in the process of achieving the ultimate goal(s) of the funding. These benchmarks are what are used to do process improvement. If the benchmarks are behind or don’t sufficiently measure progress, then adjustments must be made so it is clear how the evaluative outcomes will be met before the end of the grant period.
- Corrective Action Plan – In the event that a project falls out of compliance with project schedules, outcomes or communication expectations; the GAO may elect to conduct a corrective action plan designed to avoid any administrative action (see Project Coordinator agreement). At this point, a “Plan, Do, Check, Act” tool will be used to cooperatively develop a plan/timeline for improvement.
- A grant can be placed in Corrective Action Status (CAS) when a project has gone through two (2) consecutive months of a “significantly behind” status on the Monthly Project Review.
F. Reporting – Reporting can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Having your data tracking tools in place is often the most significant part but there is also a story to tell about that data. Since you will be on the “front lines” of the work being done, it’s important you feel comfortable writing a report that accurately portrays your work. We want to help you put the report into a format that will help the funder understand what is completed. Reporting can be an inspiring time in the life of your project to look back and look at what has been accomplished.
- Narrative Reports – These reports fill in the spaces around the data. Whether you are experiencing significant challenges or success, the narrative should be submitted in a polished and timely manner. This may include editing, formatting, writing, or working on several drafts to ensure that the report communicates the intended message. For those that are more comfortable talking about their successes than writing them down, the GAO can interview you and assist you in your writing up the necessary reports. We encourage everyone to start by getting the basic information for the report written down before beginning the interview process. (Guide to Writing Report)
- Data Reports – Getting the necessary data tracking protocols in place at the beginning of the grant is pivotal. This may include conversations with the Analytics Department to assess what is needed in order to track data and, subsequently, report numbers back to the funder. Once this process is set up, the GAO will rely on the individual designated by the Project Coordinator to complete the necessary reports. (Guide to Data Resource)
- Financial Reports – Financial reports can be generated based on the budget tracking that takes place throughout the process. The GAO can produce expense and variance reports at any point during the grant. It is important for the Project Lead to review these reports for accuracy so adjustments can be made prior to a reporting deadline. The GAO is available to work through any problems so tracking is accurate and reports can be timely. (Guide to Budget)
D. Point-of-Contact – Depending on the circumstances of your grant, it will be necessary to maintain contact with the funder. Generally speaking, the GAO serves as the primary point-of-contact with funders on all grants. On rare occasions it will be necessary for you (the Project Coordinator) to be in direct contact with the funder. The GAO will help you manage this aspect so you can focus on your project.
A. Budget – Leading up to the end of the grant, it will be important to forecast any deficits or surpluses. This should occur the final 6-months to 1-year on multiyear grants and in the final quarter of 1-year grants. If funds must be sent back then it will be important to get all payment requests submitted prior to the due date of the final report. Otherwise any remaining expenses will be charged back to the department. If a budget reallocation or an extension is necessary, this process will need to take place in the first half of the final year on multiyear grants and in the last quarter on 1-year grants. Note: reallocations and extensions must have sufficient programmatic justification and cannot be used solely for the purposes of avoiding the return of funds.
B. Staffing – Positions hired through grant funds are expected and should be communicated as temporary until/unless deemed otherwise. The GAO will discuss the sustainability of your project during grant development. It is expected that for projects which have a long-term operational strategy that the Project Coordinator should continue to facilitate internal discussions about assuming necessary operational cost at the beginning of the project with your VP. All positions must be submitted to PRC for approval for funding through your department to maintain after grant funding ends. Note: PRC has asked for the positions request to be submitted 12 months prior to the end of the grant.
C. Reporting – Most every grant will have some kind of final report. Depending on the reporting schedule, this is likely to occur after the funding cycle ends (usually within a month). It is expected that the Project Coordinator provides a summative report of the project and be willing to present the results.
D. Exit Interview – Following the completion of all grant requirements, the GAO will schedule an exit interview in order to celebrate your accomplishments and inquire about your experience. All feedback is welcome in order to improve the process for future grant projects.
The Project Coordinator (and his/her team) are the most important people to the success of a project. The GAO is committed to supporting your success and creating solutions when problems arise but we rely on those on the front lines to provide the consistent drive for the “GRANT” process:
G = Genuine Process Improvement
R = Responsive Communication
A = Accurate Budget Tracking
N = Noteworthy Outcomes
T = Timely Reporting