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Insight: Maximizing the use of federal funds

On Point Strategy founder Carmen “Mely” Torres discusses how a robust structure maximizes available funds and ensures compliance with due processes.

With the surge in federal funds, state and local agencies face a real risk of losing access to these crucial resources. Proper management of finances or budgets is essential for any entity relying on federal grants. While it can be overwhelming to keep deadlines in mind, work on reports on time and ensure critical data during the process, a solid structure becomes indispensable.

A robust structure not only allows you to maximize available funds but also ensures compliance with due processes, and secures future funding for other projects. Here are the key steps to achieve this:

  1. Understand terms and conditions: Knowing the terms and conditions of your federal grant is essential. These often include rules and restrictions on how to spend grant funds. Understanding not only the delivery dates for budget planning but also the deadlines for financial and programmatic reports, audits and sanctions for noncompliance can prevent risks and avoid penalties. Regulatory compliance provides a solid foundation for legal defense in the event of audits or investigations.
  2. Strengthen management and administration: A well-defined organizational structure is key. This system must include clear rules, specific functions and well-delineated responsibilities. This structure ensures that all team members understand their roles and how they contribute to the project’s success. Creating procedure manuals, internal policies and internal control systems ensures compliance with federal requirements. Proper documentation of these processes is crucial for transparency and accountability. Continuous staff training strengthens capabilities and knowledge within the organization, serving as administrative strengthening. It’s vital that all team members stay updated on the latest regulations and best practices in grant management.
  3. Implement constant monitoring and evaluation: Constant monitoring and evaluation are necessary to ensure that funds are used effectively and efficiently. This includes implementing tracking systems that allow the organization to measure project progress, identify problems early and make necessary adjustments. Regular reporting and internal audits are also key components of this process, and sharing progress with your grantor helps establish a relationship of trust.
  4. Optimize resource utilization: Efficiency in resource use means optimizing all aspects of the project, from planning to execution, with clear and measurable objectives. This may include negotiating better terms with suppliers, reducing waste and implementing technologies that improve productivity. Grantors expect you to demonstrate the impact achieved with the awarded funds. Fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the organization ensures that processes are always optimized, and the impact of funds maximized. Organizations that consistently comply are more likely to receive ongoing funding.

Maximizing the utilization of federal grants is a complex challenge that requires thoughtful strategy and meticulous execution. Faced with the constant dilemma of maximizing grant utilization, I founded On Point Strategy (OPS), a consulting firm dedicated to eliminating mismanagement.

By integrating the expertise of our multigenerational, multidisciplinary and bilingual team, OPS has empowered thousands of professionals and organizations with the tools and education necessary to navigate the complex grant life cycle.

Author Carmen “Mely” Torres, founder and CVO of On Point Strategy, heads the only female-led firm specialized in financial management and grants in Puerto Rico. With more than 20 years of experience, she is an expert in regulatory compliance and financial transparency in the administration of federal grants.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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