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Grant managers working on award closeout

Award Closeout Season, Summer 2022

Award closeout “season” is upon us again. For those newer to managing award closeout, closeout is ideally a process of gathering the documentation you’ve been creating throughout the life of the award to report on and ensuring all expenditures are accounted for. If you are a recipient of Federal funding, you’ll be able to find what information you’re required to provide in your Notice of Award (NoA) or a Notice of Grant Award (NGA). Award closeout, if done well, can help set your organization up to win more funding in the future. Alternatively, if award closeout is not done effectively, or is incomplete, your organization could not only lose out on future funding opportunities as a result but also, in the worst-case scenario, have to pay back the award.     

Below you will find a list of general tips to help you stay organized and on track during closeout that we have compiled for you.  

  • Utilize a checklist for what goes in the closeout
  • Make sure dates are added to your calendar  
  • Use a tool that will allow you to fulfill ongoing requests  

Use your NoA to make a requirements checklist  

Your closeout checklist can easily be created by using custom forms and fields in your grant management system. If you don’t have a grant management system that can automate task reminders, you can create a checklist in any way that will be effective for your organization.  

According to the National Grant Management Association (NGMA), recipients and pass-through entities generally have 120 days after the period of performance end date to submit their awarding agency’s final performance reports. However, subrecipients only have 90 days. It is best to begin your checklist 90 days before the end date of your award. If you are beginning 60-90 days in advance, we have a more detailed award closeout checklist for you to use, but if you are beginning 30-60 days before closeout there are still some things you can do to set your organization up for success. 

  • Ensure all of your financial documentation is in order to justify expenses 
  • Close out any subcontractors (if applicable) by getting all their invoices  
  • Make sure all invoices are paid 
  • Ensure that all charges will be processed and posted 
  • Make sure all encumbrances that are no longer needed are closed 
  • Ensure that any cost-sharing requirements have been met 
  • Ensure that all reporting requirements have been met  
  • Confirm that all performance reports have been submitted 
  • Triple check your NoA to ensure you are meeting all requirements 

Add key dates to your calendar 

Add key dates from your NoA, your checklist, and any other key dates associated with data collection for closeout to your calendar. If you have a grant management system, your GMS will allow you to view key grant dates and tasks on a shared organizational calendar. Having a shared calendar will help keep the entire team on track and help them see the bigger picture in addition to giving reminders.  

If you do not have a tool that can help automate this for you, you should set up a shared organizational calendar to send task reminders to you and your team.  

Use a tool that will help you fulfill ongoing requests 

If you have a grant management system, you can use it to help you fulfill ongoing requests. Your GMS should help you create payment requests, submit them to your funder, track payments you have received, and import cash receipts. Some can even help you approve or deny payment requests from your subrecipients, if you have any, track payments made to them, and import payment authorizations.  

If you don’t have a GMS to help you do this, it is imperative that you have processes in place to complete these tasks at regular intervals, and keep all documentation associated with ongoing requests in a centralized location 

While grant closeout may be done, you are not! After closeout, use this time to prepare for an audit. After closeout, recipients should keep the following for a minimum of three (3) years: 

  • Award package 
  • All project records 
  • Evidence of program accomplishments 
  • Progress reports 
  • Audit follow-up records
  • Monitoring records 
  • Pre-approvals between awarding agency ad recipient  
  • Final closeout letter 
  • Record or reconciliation and property disposition forms  

We also have more detailed resources to help you plan for managing the next award including more detailed checklists and process-related information. As always, if you have questions or would like more information, please reach out anytime. We’re here to help 


*Photo by YuriArcurs from Canva

Topics:  Award Closeout