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A Quick Guide for Social Innovation Fund Applicants: Compliance Overview

What is compliance?

Compliance is a state in which someone or something is in accordance with established guidelines, specifications, and/or legislation. Any organization receiving Social Innovation Fund (SIF) funds – including intermediaries receiving SIF funds directly from Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), subgrantees receiving SIF funds through an intermediary, and contractors assisting with any aspect of program implementation – will need to comply will all Federal regulations.

What happens if you are non-compliant?

Failure to comply with regulations and requirements could lead to:

  • Loss of funding,
  • Repayment of funds,
  • Program closure, or
  • Suspension or debarment from receiving any type of Federal funds in the future.

As a potential applicant for SIF funding, please read the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) carefully to fully understand the compliance requirements and determine if your organization has the necessary capacity to meet them.

How do you ensure compliance?

  • Familiarize yourself with the laws and requirements, including:
  • Terms and Conditions of your grant
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars related to your organization and your subgrantees' organizations
  • CNCS/SIF Regulations and Requirements
  • Serve America Act (SAA) legislation
  • Adopt practices and systems at the beginning of your grant that support compliance
  • Incorporate rules and resources for compliance into your policy and procedure manuals
  • Assign staff responsibility for internal compliance, as well as subgrantee oversight and monitoring
  • Consult your CNCS program officer and your grants officer when you have questions

As an intermediary, you are required to provide compliance training, tools and resources to your subgrantees.

What are some immediate tasks you can do to begin preparing your organization for a SIF award?

As you develop your proposal and ready your organization for the possibility of a SIF award, the following will be your most immediate tasks if your application is successful:

  • Review/ modify/create new policies, procedures and systems as needed to comply with federal grant requirements
  • Conduct criminal history checks of all current and new staff charging time to the grant (Reminder:  these Checks need to be done BEFORE charging time to the grant)
  • Engage appropriate evaluation staff and/or external evaluator to develop an overall SIF portfolio evaluation strategy and to inform subgrantee selection process
  • Develop a detailed subgrantee selection process and outreach plan (this process and plan must receive CNCS approval)
  • Conduct outreach for subgrantees and initiate competition (after CNCS approval)
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