Fixing the Rules Governing Government Grants

March 10, 2020 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Governments at all levels rely on the skills and expertise of nonprofit organizations to build wellbeing in communities so that individuals can reach their potential at every stage of life. Yet, many governments have not been good partners when it comes to reimbursing nonprofits for the costs of providing those services. That could change for the better – and soon. The federal government recently proposed revisions to the primary law governing government grantmaking – the OMB Uniform Guidance – that could result in greater reimbursements for indirect costs, reduce administrative burdens, and increase transparency. Many nonprofits are asking: What would these changes mean? Do the revisions go far enough? Is there anything I can do to make things better?

About the Webinar

Learn more by joining the webinar, Fixing the Rules Governing Government Grants. Officials from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will walk participants through the changes they are proposing and answer questions. After their presentation, speakers with vast experience in interpreting and applying the federal grants rules to nonprofit operations will go into greater detail on the key issues affecting nonprofits and address participants’ questions. This free webinar is presented by the networks of the National Human Services Assembly and National Council of Nonprofits. Register now.



The proposed revisions seek to update and more fully implement reforms made in 2013 (Uniform Guidance) that govern federal grants to state and local governments, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, and charitable nonprofits. The 2013 rules expressly stated – for the first time – that governments and other pass-through entities using federal funds must pay nonprofits for their legitimate indirect costs incurred when providing services on behalf of governments. Indirect costs are expenses, such as rent, utilities, and technology, which are not tied to any one program but are vital to sustaining a healthy organization. The Uniform Guidance also dictated procedures to enable nonprofits to protect their rights. Although groundbreaking and long overdue, the mandate as originally worded was interpreted and misapplied by many in ways that imposed unreasonable, unnecessary, and costly burdens on nonprofits. The draft regulations published January 22, 2020 seek to remedy many of these challenges.

The Proposed Reforms

The proposed regulations would expand and strengthen the guarantee that nonprofits receive reimbursement of their indirect costs. They would also prohibit several tactics used by state and local governments and others to avoid the protections of the OMB Uniform Guidance. Further, the draft proposes numerous changes to federal regulations related to data collection and enforcement, as well as updates to federal rules to conform to several new statutes and Executive Orders. Learn more by reading the analysis: OMB Proposes Improving Rules for Reimbursing Nonprofits’ Indirect Costs. Public Comments Due: March 23, 2020.