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How to Successfully Close Out an Award

Award closeout is a vital part of the grant lifecycle. It’s when you gather all documentation you’ve created during the life of the award to be compliant with reporting requirements and ensure all expenditures are accounted for. It’s crucial to prep for closeout in advance to better manage the process and be prepared ahead of time for any unanticipated changes or modifications that may arise.

Here are five steps to take for a successful closeout:

1. Stay Organized

Plan to be organized from the start. Properly storing documents and staying on top of deadlines through the lifecycle of your award creates a strong foundation for closeout. Some awards may have documents built into them, such as the NoA, that can be your guide for creating your strategy. Your NoA is a key document you’ll want to rely on during the awarding and post-award phases of the grant’s lifecycle. Other resources can help too. For example, checklists can break down processes into manageable, trackable steps. (Check out our Award Closeout Checklist.)

2. Create Checkpoints

Increase your ability to stay compliant throughout the life of the award by implementing checkpoints in your award management processes when you assess the effectiveness of your management processes as well as your team’s efficiency to date. Regularly auditing your grant management practices will keep you on track, create capacity down the line, and enable you to detect any roadblocks or challenges that may arise before they become a problem.

3. Monitor Budget and Performance

Closely monitoring budget and performance as the award moves forward will allow you to draw down effectively, and in turn, ensure that funding will be proportionate throughout the timeline of the award. To better monitor budget and performance implement best practices, such as establishing good internal communication and blocking off adequate time to prepare reports. (If you are managing subrecipients, download our Subrecipient Monitoring Checklist.)

4. Centralize Documentation

One of the most important things for successful closeout is to properly document everything. You’ll need to demonstrate what your program accomplished against the award goals and that you spent the funds properly per the award agreement. (If you’re unable to prove this, you may have to return funds regardless of if the expense was allowable or not.) Centralizing your document storage enables you and others to store and access the necessary documents when needed. Check out our Grant Management Centralization Guide for guidance.

5. Plan for the Next Award

After closeout, look back at the award with your team and discuss what worked well, what didn’t, and why. Solicit internal and external feedback for a broader perspective. Once you’ve developed a plan for closeout that works for your organization, you can duplicate that process and use it for future awards.

Successful award closeout relies fully on how well you managed the award throughout its lifecycle. Download our guide to access award closeout best practices that can keep you on track and prepared for the unexpected—and help you close out effectively.

Download the Award Closeout eBook

Preparing for closeout is complex and time consuming. Implementing grant management software, like AmpliFund streamlines the process, centralizes documentation, standardizes data, and can increase your compliance. Schedule a demo to learn more.


*Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
Topics:  Award Closeout