OMB continues to provide guidance for performance reporting and worked with federal agencies to draft its 2023 Compliance Supplement for Single Audit Act, which provide additional guidelines, clarifications, and expectations for auditors when performance reporting review is required (read our summary). And OMB intends to continue working with these agencies to identify performance reporting requirements that are quantifiable and objective.
While performance reporting is not an uncommon practice in grants management, funders often don’t realize that there are efficient ways to collect reporting data from recipients that will allow them to remain compliant while doing much less paperwork.
What does “performance” mean for grant management?
When the OMB refers to performance, they mean the "value" of the grant program. This means that a program is allocating expenditures on an award appropriately, returning data to prove it, and being good stewards of public funding. They also want to see demonstrated outcomes from a grant program and are evaluating if a recipient achieved their objectives or not. So, monitoring the impact you and your funded programs are making with federal funds is a must.
We want to give you some tips so you can standardize performance measurement across your entire grant portfolio and reduce the headaches that come with collecting data for reporting. A grants management system, such as AmpliFund, can help you standardize the way you collect and track data for reporting and will automate those processes for you. If you don’t have this technology in place, these tips can be applied to your current methods of data collection, but you will have to manually apply these changes to your process.
How can an organization standardize performance measurement of a grant portfolio?
A common notion in the industry is that “my program has unique goals." Of course, most grants support unique projects and initiatives, but that doesn’t mean you need to design a unique performance measurement process for each individual award.
For example, an organization may have to track the number of students that have been tutored and homes that have been built in their community. A lot of grant makers approach tracking these two types of projects based on what they are labeled,. i.e., students will be found in education initiatives and housing will be found in housing and community development initiatives.
While the label of each initiative is different, what the measurable portion of these two programs have in common is that the goal type is simply a numeric goal:. “How many students have been tutored” and “How many homes have been built?”
To streamline and make the process more efficient, recipients of federal funds should shift from thinking of their goals as unique to thinking of their goal labels as unique and use goal types for tracking. If you already have a grants management system, just quickly change from goal labels to goal types with a click or two and you will be ready to streamline your data collection.
If you don’t have a grants management system, you will have to collect data on goal types instead of goal labels in your current system. AmpliFund can help you automate these processes in the future, which can standardize data collection across your portfolio.
What are the steps of standardization?
To make this shift, there are four steps you can take to recategorize by goal types to standardize performance reporting:
1. Define goal types
2. Create benchmarks for monthly performance for these goal types
3. Measure what percentage the current actual performance is against the benchmark
4. Evaluate the different goal types against one another by comparing the percentage completed
How do subrecipients fit into this standardization?
Changing the focus to goal types will improve subrecipient management as well. Those who have taken this approach to performance tracking have found that standardization has improved their ability to effectively and accurately aggregate data reported by subrecipients. It has also reduced the risk of non-compliance because standardized measurement has allowed them to identify issues with subrecipient performance earlier in the grant lifecycle and act quickly, if necessary.
You may not be in the habit of tracking goals by either label or type if you are managing your awards using spreadsheets and paper-based methods of recordkeeping. Grants management technology can help you make this transition quickly because the system is designed to support and automate reporting in this manner. Request a demo to see how AmpliFund can speed up your current processes and make your grants program more efficient.
*Photo by najkhetsamtip from Canva.