But ending an award doesn’t always feel like a good thing. Award closeout can be stressful, and it seems like everyone has heard a cautionary tale or two about the process. Let’s keep this in perspective though.
You’ve already written a compelling grant application that won your organization the funding it needed to make an impact in your community. You’ve done the hard work of making sure your project was set up for success so you could achieve your outcomes. Award closeout, if done well, can help set your organization up for winning more funding in the future. The other side of that coin is that if award closeout is not done effectively, or incompletely, your organization could not only lose out on future funding opportunities as a result, but also have to pay back the award.
The purpose of award closeout is to ensure that all final reports related to your grants are received by the grant maker for evaluation, and for allowable costs to be determined to ensure that your program is in compliance.
Award closeout is basically a process of gathering the documentation you’ve been creating along the life of the award to report on, and making sure all of your expenditures are accounted for. If you are a recipient of Federal funding, you’ll even be provided with a Notice of Award (NoA), or a Notice of Grant Award (NGA) that will tell you what information you’ll be required to provide.
Sounds easy, right?
Well, it would be nice if it was easy. In theory, award closeout is just a repackaged version of information you already have on hand from completing your reporting requirements throughout the life of your grant.
Closing out an award effectively depends on how thoroughly you managed the award during the project and how effective your processes for managing that award were. There may have been challenges that you didn’t anticipate during the award phase of your grant, like staff turnover, that could complicate your ability to close out efficiently and effectively.
This guide aims to give you some practical strategies and best practices to help you prepare for closeout. Much like when you wrote the initial application for your award, preparing to be prepared will help ensure that you and your team are in a good position to manage this process.