Key Actions by:

Standard 10: Laying the foundations for effective donor engagement and accountability.

Lay the foundations for successful donor engagement throughout the project.

Orient CRS and partner staff on the donor requirements.

  • Why

    Each donor has a set of requirements ranging from when and how to report, to what can and cannot be purchased. Orienting CRS and partner staff on these requirements at the beginning of the project:

    • Ensures that project implementation gets off to a good start.
    • Enables the project team to finalize templates, tools, and project operating processes that will assist with meeting the requirements.
    • Saves time by ensuring reports and procedures are done correctly the first time, thus avoiding the need for subsequent revisions.
    • Reduces financial risk and partnership challenges by clarifying allowable expenses.
    • Strengthens CRS’ capacity for strong award and project management.
  • Who

    • Primary responsible: Head of operations (HoOps)
      • The HoOps leads the orientation, ensuring that all CRS and partner staff who need to understand award requirements have the necessary information.

    • Others involved: Project manager/chief of party (PM/CoP); head of programming (HoP); IDEA staff; CRS and partner project team (programming and operations); CRS and partner senior management.
      • The PM/CoP supports and co-facilitates the orientation process;
      • The HoP and IDEA staff (for centrally managed awards, and as appropriate for other projects) help identify requirements, especially those that are unique to the donor and award;
      • CRS and partner project team members (programming, including MEAL; finance; procurement and supply chain management staff; other operations) participate in the orientation, along with CRS and partner senior management (for overview sessions)

  • Partnership
    • CRS and partner meetings to orient partner staff on project-specific financial management processes and schedules (Standard 8, key action 6) are also opportunities for CRS to provide orientation and clarification on donor requirements.
    • If the partner has not worked with funding from the project donor, plan to spend extra time orienting partner staff and helping them adapt processes and templates as needed to meet donor requirements (see also Standard 8, key action 6 for guidance on supporting partners with project financial management set-up).
    • Focus on ensuring CRS and partners are all clear on respective roles, responsibilities, and processes related to project implementation and donor compliance - discuss the when, where, and how, especially for operations procedures.
    • Engage partners in thinking through potential moments in the project or specific processes where compliance challenges might arise. Reflect on past project experiences and challenges. Work collaboratively to identify appropriate solutions and seek the approval of proposed solutions from organizational and/or donor leadership as needed.
    • For projects with complex donor requirements and/or numerous or otherwise complex partnership arrangements, consider developing a project operating manual or partner compliance manual (see Other Resources for examples).
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Follow the same process for orienting CRS and partner staff, using the instructions on donor requirements provided by the prime. If the prime does not provide information on donor requirements, request it.
  • Emergency projects