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Grant Administration: Keeping Good Records – March 31, 2023

What's the number 1 rule of grant administration?  Keep good records!  Establish a separate hard copy or digital folder for each grant in your project. Federal grant records retention requirements are outlined at 2 C.F.R § 200.334 and they are also often stated in your grant agreement terms. Your grant folder should contain all documents associated with your grant award, like your fully executed (signed by all parties) grant agreement including all attachments, appendices and amendments (if appropriate) and documentation of anything that demonstrates your compliance with the award and its terms and conditions.  At a minimum, it should also contain all of your "back up" like vendor quotes, purchase orders, invoices, payment proof, timesheets of grant-funded personnel, inventories of equipment and supplies purchased with grant funds and documentation of how and when it was purchased and for what amount, equipment disposal instructions and documentation of that disposal, contracts, accounting ledgers, project photos, and submitted grantor reports. If the funder provides guidance or clarification about how something should be done, it should be included. Whenever you ask a question of your funder, try do so through an email so you can save their written response to your grant file.  If you have a phone call with them, keep a communications log in your grant file and record the date, time, name and position of the person you spoke with along with what was discussed or decided.  You might even follow the phone call up with an email to this person summarizing what you heard and asking for their agreement; save this email to your grant file too!  Most often, if it's not in writing, it doesn't exist!