Managing a Funded Project


Anyone at the college may serve in the capacity of Project Coordinator (also called project manager, project director, or principal investigator). This individual may be the one who developed the project or may be someone assigned the responsibility for implementation of the project. The Project Coordinator is responsible for administering the project in accordance with federal, state, and NCTC regulations. Tasks may be delegated as necessary and feasible.

The Institutional Advancement Office will work with the Project Coordinator to manage the grant efficiently. The Institutional Advancement Office is the point of contact with the funding agency for all budgetary or contractual matters for formal college grants and contracts. All contacts with the funding agency must be made through or with the prior knowledge or assistance of the Institutional Advancement Office.

Please note: No expenditures may be made or contracted for until you've received an official written notice of award from your funding source.

Organization and communication are key to grant management.

Organize

  • Set up the internal processes for implementation of the project. The Institutional Advancement Office will work with the Business Office to set up the local budgets and DPS for the budget accounts.
  • Develop and maintain a master file for the project. Included in this file will be a copy of the proposal, approved budget, operational budget, correspondence, time documentation, contract/time sheets, consultant contracts, invoices, and reports.
  • Create a file for each objective of the funded project.
  • Document grant activities: client records, publicity, evaluation, advisory committee meeting minutes, and related rules and regulations.
  • Develop timelines.

Communicate

  • Publish specific timelines for project implementation for everyone involved in the project.
  • Coordinate with the Marketing and Community Relations Office for publicity regarding the project and ensuring that all project-related publications include an acknowledgment indicating the external funding agency.
  • Keep all departments, community agencies, and/or businesses advised of the project's activities, revisions, and progress on a regular basis (monthly or quarterly, as appropriate).

Reports

  • The Project Coordinator is responsible for preparing the required programmatic reports from the funding agencies. The Institutional Advancement Office will complete the financial reports. The Institutional Advancement Office and the Project Coordinator will work together to develop these reports and submit them by the assigned deadline to the funding agency.
  • The Project Coordinator Coordinate with the Marketing and Community Relations Office for publicity regarding the project and ensuring that all project-related publications include an acknowledgment indicating the following...

Responsibilities

Audit Readiness 

When an organization receives federal funds, it is responsible for using those funds in accordance with laws and regulations. The recipient must use fiscal control and accounting procedures to ensure the proper disbursement of and accounting for these funds. The effective management of public funds should be a result of ongoing activities that ensure audit readiness.

  • Administrative controls - the plan of organization and procedures and records related to authorizing transactions.
  • Accounting controls - the plan of organization and procedures and records concerned
    with assets and reliable financial records.
  • Compliance with federal requirements - examples: charges for direct labor; reporting of financial status; treatment of grant-related income; eligibility of participants; monitoring of activities; allowability of services.
  • Records - should include information adequate to support statements in the application document; should be retained for required period of time.
  • Internal audits - may be requested by the grant recipient to help determine whether controls are adequate. Each agency publishes its guidelines for the proper management of funds - including allowable and unallowable costs.

Budget Tracking

The Institutional Advancement Office will set up grant budgets. Working with the Business Office, the Institutional Advancement office will create account numbers and set up funds in DPS along with designating DPS authors and approvers. It is important that you spend all the funds available. Keep in mind:

  • All final financial reports will be completed by the Institutional Advancement and Business Offices.
  • Periodic contact with the Institutional Advancement Office to review your grant's financial status will help you understand and correctly track expenditures.
  • The Institutional Advancement Office can help you interpret your budget and answer questions about fiscal management.
  • The Institutional Advancement and Business Offices can provide certification of expenditure accuracy.

Checks Received

Most funding agencies use electronic wire transfers to credit your accounts for a grant. The Business Office handles this automatically. However, in certain circumstances, an agency may send a check to you for the project. If so, immediately deliver it personally to the Institutional Advancement Office or the Business Office.

Hiring Employees and Consultants

Whether considering permanent, intermittent, or temporary staff, hiring must be coordinated with the Human Resources Office. The Human Resources Office can give you complete supportive services in areas of hiring procedures, personnel benefits, termination procedures, etc. The office can also assist in the recruitment, interviewing, and screening of applicants and other personnel-related activities.

  • College policies must be followed in all hiring.
  • All contracts offered must indicate that the future of the position is contingent upon grant funding.
  • You should not offer anyone a position until you have first discussed it with Human Resources and a criminal background check has been conducted.

Program Changes

Program changes that modify the budget, scope, or objectives of an approved project require prior approval from the college administration and the granting agency. Discuss the changes with the Institutional Advancement Office. In cooperation with the Institutional Advancement Office, contact the program officer at the agency to determine the procedure and discuss the possibility of the change. The grant contract normally details procedures to follow. It is important to follow the procedures since grant contracts are legal documents and cannot be altered without official written approval. Use the appropriate forms or format of the agency to formally write the requested changes. Then the requested changes are directed through the campus organizational structure beginning with the Grant & Resource Development Coordinator. Once the appropriate personnel at NCTC approve, the document is signed by the President and sent to the granting agency.

The request, including appropriate forms, should be sent via certified mail to the agency. Agency personnel will deliberate and officially approve or disapprove the change in writing. No program changes may be made until official written approval is obtained. This may take several weeks, so it is important to make changes as early as possible.

In certain instances, a funding agency will grant a no-cost extension to a project. If there are legitimate instances that prevented you from completing the project within the time frame of the grant, it is sometimes possible to ask the agency to extend the grant period. No additional funds will be granted; only the completion date will be officially delayed. As with program changes and requests for budget changes, no-cost extensions must be officially requested in writing and approved in writing by the funding agency. Extensions must usually be approved at least 90 days before the grant expires. Adequate notice must be given to the college administration and agency since it is illegal to expend funds after an official grant termination date. Discuss the extension with the Institutional Advancement Office. In cooperation with the Institutional Advancement Office, contact the program officer at the agency to determine the procedure and to discuss the possibility of the extension. Using the appropriate forms or format of the agency, write the requested changes formally. Then the requested changes are directed through the campus organizational structure. Once the appropriate personnel approve, the document is signed by the President and sent to the granting agency. The request, including appropriate forms, should be sent via certified mail to the agency. Agency personnel will deliberate and officially approve or disapprove the change in writing. No expenditures of funds after the initial deadline may be made until official written approval of the extension is obtained. Copies of the approval are to be sent to the Institutional Advancement Office. 

Publications Guidelines

To publish material such as brochures, fact sheets, flyers, postcards, catalogs, schedules, promotional novelties, signage, posters, newsletters, invitations, and certificates, you must consult with the office of Marketing and Community Relations. Most funding agencies require or expect that an acknowledgement of support appear on any publications based on or developed under their projects. 

Purchases

Purchases made by any individual not assigned or approved are unauthorized and the individual entering into such an agreement may incur a personal obligation to the vendor. Please refer to the NCTC Policy and Procedures Manual for purchasing policies. 

Records Retention

Many of the documents (contracts, budget revision requests, student records, travel records, etc.) and products (videotapes, brochures, etc.) that you accumulate during the grant have official legal implications to the college. It is important that project coordinators create an official records retention procedure. Please check the grant assurance contracts provision for the length of time this information/material must be retained. 

Requests for Budget Changes

Project directors may expend funds only in the line item categories and amounts listed in the approved budget. The approved budget, whether negotiated with the agency or approved in the proposal, constitutes part of a legal contract. Federal and state guidelines are usually flexible enough to allow minor (normally + or - 10%) line item changes within the total budget without prior approval from the agency. If a larger change is anticipated, discuss the changes with the Institutional Advancement Office. In cooperation with them, contact the program officer at the agency to determine the procedure and to discuss the possibility of the change.

Use the appropriate forms or format of the agency to formally request the changes. Then direct the request through the campus organizational structure beginning with the Grants Development Director. Once the appropriate personnel approve, the President will sign the document and it will be sent to the granting agency via certified mail. Agency personnel will deliberate and officially approve or disapprove the change in writing. No budget changes may be made until official written approval is obtained. This may take several weeks, so it is important to make changes as early as possible. The approval letter is to be sent to the Grants & Resource Development Coordinator. 

Required Reports

The grant contract or proposal guidelines will officially outline the required reports. At a minimum, most contracts require a final narrative report and fiscal report. Your responsibility as project director is to keep adequate records and to write the narrative report(s). The final report is a requirement and often funds are withheld by the agency until the report is filed.

The Institutional Advancement Office and Business Office will complete the required fiscal reports. It is important that the grants manager has the correct forms and knows the deadline for the reports.

Signing Legal Grants and Contract Documents

At NCTC, the President is the only one who has the authority to sign legal grant contracts. When you receive official legal grant and contract documents, notify the Institutional Advancement Office and they will obtain the needed signatures.

If a subcontract is needed, contact the Institutional Advancement Office and the Dean of Administrative Services. A subcontract is a legal binding agreement that states the business relationships between NCTC and the partner. It contains general contracting language, federal flow-down provisions, and a statement of work.

In accordance with federal law, the partner must supply such items as audited financial statements, conflict of interest statements, indirect cost verification forms, and signed certifications and representations.

The project director must create the statement of work that outlines in detail what the partner will do. The Institutional Advancement Office will complete the remainder of the agreements, obtain the appropriate approvals, get the signature of the President, and mail the document to the partner.