Preserving Grant Management Records

Margot Note

Margot Note

November 27, 2023

Effective archives and records management are of paramount importance in the realm of grant management records. 

These records serve as the backbone of accountability, transparency, and compliance in the grant-making process. Careful management ensures that relevant documents, from grant applications and financial reports to correspondence and evaluation records, are organized, accessible, and preserved. This thorough approach to archives and records management not only supports the day-to-day operations of grant management within an institution but also safeguards the historical trail of decisions and impacts, allowing organizations to learn from experiences, track their progress, and make informed decisions in the future. In a field where rigorous oversight and documentation are essential, a robust archives and records management system is the linchpin that keeps the grant management process efficient, accountable, and effective.

Grant Records to be Permanently Preserved

Certain grant management records should be preserved permanently due to their enduring historical, legal, and educational significance. They provide essential documentation for legal compliance, transparency, and decision-making, ensuring responsible stewardship of funds and facilitating learning from experiences to enhance grant programs.

The original grant agreements or contracts should be preserved as they outline the grant’s terms, conditions, and obligations.

Any significant correspondence, communications, or emails related to the grant, such as discussions with grantors, progress updates, or important decisions, should be preserved for historical reference or potential legal inquiries.

Final reports or evaluations summarizing the outcomes and impact of the grant should be preserved to track lessons learned and demonstrate accountability to grantors or stakeholders.

Grant Records with Defined Retention Periods

Grant records with defined retention periods are crucial in grant management. These records are categorized based on their legal, regulatory, and operational requirements, allowing organizations to retain them for the necessary duration and dispose of them when no longer needed. This approach ensures compliance with laws and regulations and streamlines record-keeping, reducing administrative burdens. It enables organizations to balance maintaining essential documentation and managing data effectively, thus optimizing their grant management processes.

Grant applications that were unsuccessful or not pursued further should be retained for a reasonable period, typically three to five years, for historical reference or to avoid potential questions about past applications.

Regular progress reports or interim updates on the grant’s implementation can be retained for a specific period, often three to five years, to track project milestones and ensure accountability.

Supporting documents, such as research, project plans, or documentation of project activities, can be retained for a defined period, typically three to five years, to provide context and support any future inquiries or audits.

Financial records related to grants, including budgets, expense reports, invoices, receipts, and audit reports, should be preserved for an extended period, often up to seven to ten years or longer. Doing so ensures compliance with financial regulations and allows for financial auditing or accountability purposes.

Grant Records for Destruction

Grant records slated for destruction mark the culmination of the grant management process. Once the defined retention period expires, these records are disposed of, reducing data security risks and streamlining records management, thus optimizing operational efficiency.

Routine correspondence, emails, or memos not significant to the grant’s implementation, decision-making, or outcomes may be destroyed once their reference has passed.

Internal drafts, rough notes, or working papers that do not contain critical information or decision-making processes can often be destroyed after the final documents or reports have been prepared.

Preserving History

Archives and records management are essential for accountable grant management, supporting operations and preserving valuable historical records. Oversight and documentation through a robust system uphold efficiency, accountability, and effectiveness, reflecting an organization’s commitment to responsible resource stewardship and impactful grant programs.

Margot Note

Margot Note

Margot Note, archivist, consultant, and Lucidea Press author is a regular blogger, and popular webinar presenter for Lucidea—provider of ArchivEra, archival collections management software for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities. Read more of Margot’s posts here.

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