No matter what type of organization you run, if you’re in charge of grants, you need to be on top of your game. That is why we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist for grant management, with tips for grant administration, including everything from developing policies and procedures to tracking progress and reporting results.
Of course, every organization is different, so not every item on this list will be applicable to your situation. But whether you’re just getting started with grant management or doing it for a while, we hope this checklist will be a helpful resource.
- Define your organization’s goals and objectives.
- Develop policies and procedures for grant management.
- Create a system for tracking grant applications and progress.
- Establish a process for reporting results.
- Make sure you have the right staff to manage grants effectively.
- Stay updated with latest trends and developments in the nonprofit sector.
- Keep an eye on your budget and expenditures.
- Evaluate your grant management process regularly.
- Developing relationships with funders
- Collaborating with other organizations
- Managing multiple grants
- Compliance with regulations
- Diversity and inclusion in grant management
- Technology needs for grant management
- Using data for informed decision-making
For nonprofit executives, administering grants is a major leadership responsibility. In addition, most employees contribute to grant administration since most grant money is likely to make up a significant proportion of the organization’s overall revenue.
While many nonprofit leaders are enthusiastic about future funding opportunities and their organization’s mission, they may still be uncertain about how to manage donations and empower staff to participate in the entire grant management process. In this article, you’ll discover the critical elements of managing grants effectively from pre-award through multi-year tracking.
This information may be used as a helpful practice handbook for grant administration.
What Is Grant Management? A quick primer:
Understanding how to manage grants at first is to comprehend what grant management entails fully. Grant management includes all the processes and activities associated with the awarding, receiving, and using of grant funds.
Nonprofit organizations rely on grant money to keep operations running. Much attention is paid to the grant writing process, but understanding how to manage grants is just as important. Simply receiving grant is only one aspect of the whole grant cycle; there’s a lot more involved.
Every stage of the grant application and grant funding process is covered by grant management, which covers all aspects of receiving and tracking grant money.
So, how do you deal with grants? Let’s get started.
The Ultimate Grant Management Checklist
Grant management might appear daunting in its entirety. However, breaking down the activities for each step in the grant award process may help alleviate some of the stress.
The award, pre-award, and post-award phases of a grant lifecycle are split into two segments. This chapter will discuss both pre-award and post-award, as well as provide suggestions for maintaining grants once approved.
Pre-Award Task List
During the pre-award stage, it would be best if you put in as much effort as possible. The objective is to get your organization in the best position to win grants. In addition, this pre-award preparation will help you with future grant applications. Here are a few things to consider:
Determine your Objectives.
Before you start looking for or drafting a grant proposal, developing a plan based on what you want to accomplish before beginning your journey is essential. You should be able to precisely describe your mission and vision and your nonprofit’s objectives.
Having a clear and well defined objective, the more probable it is that you will discover and validate grant money that aligns with your goals.
Looking for Donors.
Getting a list of prospects right will allow you to start your financial study immediately. Use research tools to organize donors and save the best matches. Active grant possibilities that you can pursue should also be considered, in addition to your nonprofit’s objective and programs.
Make a few prospective ideas by developing proposals
Make sure your proposals are tailored to the grant you’re applying for. When preparing your application, keep in mind the following points:
- Do your research and respond to the grantor’s inquiries.
- Follow all of the application requirements and outlines.
- Make sure your budget is correct and comprehensive by double-checking it.
Writing a proposal is complex, and investing time in research may be inconvenient. If you submit your application last minute, grantors will be able to tell. Make sure you spend ample time on your proposal to put forward your nonprofit in the best light possible.
Post-Award Task List
So, you got a grant! Take a minute to celebrate your achievement before moving on to the next step: working out what to do after receiving an award.
Make sure you meet any specific standards and requirements
Familiarize yourself with the immediate documentation demands of your new grant award. Some grant-specific requirements and formalized contract clauses, while others are less in post-award agreements.
Prepare an action plan after determining the requirements in your grant agreement.
How to set up a budget
You may need to submit separate reports if your grant funding requires special reporting on expenditures as soon as you get your grant, set up your accounting system so that funds and expenses are correctly allocated according to your grant agreement.
You can do several daily activities to achieve the most during your grant period. You must complete two main activities:
The terms of your agreement will list the specific reporting obligations. Ensure adequate time to generate these grant reports, as many need access to financial data.
To summarize, you’ll be asked to provide a financial overview, describe your progress so far, and the results of your activities. You’ll also have to discuss modifications to your initial plan and supporting evidence.
Maintain fiscal records
A primary concern during the grant period should be fiscal monitoring and spending. This is especially true for grants that reimburse costs rather than paying up front.
You don’t want to apply for reimbursement to discover that your expenses do not meet the grant requirements. Similarly, if you don’t keep track of your finances, you may end up overpaying without receiving a grant award to reimburse all of your expenditures.
Grant Management for multi-year programs
Grants management is no more complicated than managing single-year grants, even though multi-year initiatives have many of the same tracking factors as other grants. However, when dealing with multi-year programs, there exist a few extra variables to consider:
First, recognize the need for multi-year budget tracking.
It would be best to establish a grant in your financial tracking software to track spending for multiple years. There will be restrictions on when to charge expenditures into which year of the grant. Keep an eye on the parameters in your grant agreement relating to this information.
Multi-year grants can also be difficult to record in your nonprofit’s finances. You don’t want to inaccurately inflate one year’s revenue or underreport costs against these funds. Ensure you understand the intricacies of generating and reporting financials when multi-year grants are part of your income stream.
Make a schedule and stick to it
Multi-year grants should provide multi-year funding. Appropriately distribute the multi-year grant funds according to your nonprofit’s budget plans. Check whether your grant restricts how much money can be spent each year.
Keep an eye out for any unusual expectations or allotment of money between the two years. Occasionally, awards will dictate what kinds of costs are permissible and required in each part of the multi-year grant period. Read the agreement carefully.
3 Best practices for adopting when it comes to Grant Management Prospecting?
Learning how to manage grants is crucial at the beginning of a grant cycle. Following are some best practices to assist you in prospecting:
1. Prioritize your funding requirements.
There are hundreds of grant-making organizations, each with a list of grants to match. These funding goals cover an almost limitless number of possibilities.
Determining at first would be best for your organization’s funding goals to establish them for success. This may cover a specific project’s launch, a continuation of current program efforts, or even capacity building for operations.
Prioritizing and understanding your funding requirements will assist you in separating the grant alternatives and concentrating your efforts on those most relevant to your organization’s goal and vision.
2. Make a list of potential donors.
You must choose a point of departure, beginning at what you know is an assured approach to begin your search for donors. Then, starting from where you also help you avoid one of the most common pitfalls of grant application writing: applying for grants you do not qualify for.
Consider the following places where you may already have potential connections for your initial list of supporters:
Donors who have already funded your organization- who you may approach for specific funding needs if they have already given to your organization? Who is likely to and has the potential to increase their giving in the future?
Community: Consider your local community and who could be a good fit with your nonprofit’s purpose. Consider adding these local community foundations as prospects to the list of potential donors.
Suggestions from the board and other stakeholders- ask about who they know that may be interested in giving to your organization. For example, individuals within your company may share your goals.
Look at the list of grantmakers who have expressed interest in your research and see whether their focus is relevant to yours. This is likely to be the most inclusive list of funders to consider. You might think of a few more foundations to add to the list without using a search engine; however, organizations may come later.
Government: While there may be many other options for financing your nonprofit, you should narrow down your initial scope of government grants to those departments and agencies that most correspond with your nonprofit’s aims. What departments should you consider checking for grant possibilities at the state and federal levels?
5 Best Practices for Using the Grant Management Tracking System
Managing grants becomes more critical as you go through the grant application procedure. The following are some excellent guidelines for tracking grants:
1. Organize your grants
Many nonprofit organizations may have several grant funds active at once. Ensure your tracking procedures allow you to keep each grant distinct throughout the cycle. You’ll want to ensure you can tell which individual grant it is, where you are in the process, and what conditions must be met.
Multiple applications or pre-applications in the process, numerous pending grants to be awarded, and more grant awards in varying implementation stages can confuse. Make sure you have a strategy in place to keep things organized.
2. Make a grant tracking calendar.
Keeping everything organized may begin with a comprehensive grant tracking calendar. Use this schedule to keep track of fund application deadlines, reporting standards, and other grant-related tasks.
Collaboration is essential for every organization. A shared calendar is a fantastic tool for all staff to know what’s coming up and when grant reports are needed.
3. Dictate responsibilities.
Understanding your organization’s personnel capacity can help you manage grants more efficiently. Spend time defining each person’s responsibilities concerning the grant execution and reporting requirements. Due to this, there will be no argument over who is responsible for which portion of the work.
4. Keep track of your expenditures.
All grant awards will contain an implementation plan. The requirements to keep track of your grant expenditures are outlined in almost all grants. Some grants will be paid back, while others will provide you with cash on hand to spend as you choose.
Whatever fund allocation you choose, most agencies will want to see proof of where and how these funds were utilized. Therefore, keep a consistent and transparent procedure for recording each expenditure in your grant so that you don’t have to chase down receipts or evidence of purchase at the time of a report deadline.
5. Record and rejoice in your accomplishments.
Donors are in the field of charity because they want to see their grantees succeed. They care about your progress. Your stakeholders want to be a part of something significant, innovative, and impactful.
Keep records of your accomplishments and activities on hand to support your case. For example, make a folder with newspaper clippings, photographs, schedules, and other noteworthy and shareable items.
It isn’t easy to be the leader of a nonprofit. It might be impossible to keep track of several grant processes simultaneously. Make time to appreciate your accomplishments regularly.
3 Best Practices for Using the Grant Management Reporting System
The majority of grant awards will require some reporting. Therefore, knowing how to handle grants entails learning how to report on progress. To get a head start on reporting administration, consider adopting the following guidelines:
1. CommunityForce tracker can help you streamline grant tracking and reporting by keeping track of expenses across all your projects.
CommunityForce grant management software, available for both desktop and mobile platforms, can help you track your grants throughout their lifecycle. For example, when you save a donation to your tracker, you may create several tasks for yourself and your teammates to guarantee that your organization’s standard operating procedures are followed through submission.
You may generate customized PDF or CSV reports that show what you need (i.e., which projects, years, and stages of your grant pipeline you’d want to export) for your next meeting by reporting to your board or critical stakeholders.
CommunityForce takes the hassle out of keeping track of your expenses. You won’t have to waste time updating a spreadsheet or creating an individual report using CommunityForce. Those hours might then be devoted to developing more possibilities and obtaining additional funding.
2. Create scheduled reports.
A schedule of required reporting is usually included in a grant agreement. It’s a good idea to make your own and plan to inform your grantmaker about it even if there isn’t one. Keep these dates on your shared calendar and give yourself plenty of time to construct the reports before their deadlines.
3. Share with stakeholders
Communication and openness with stakeholders are essential reporting aspects that aren’t often addressed in your grant agreement. Set aside specific times to discuss your funding options with your stakeholders.
After this blog article, you should have clarity on: What You Need to Know About Managing Grants: The Ultimate Checklist.
Grant management is an essential component of running a nonprofit organization. Implementing a nonprofit grant management procedure in your organization to stick to the terms of your grants is an excellent way to feel confident you are fulfilling the criteria of each agreement. This holds when dealing with multiple grants, especially if you’re juggling them all at once.
We’ve gone through how to handle grants, offering a short overview of what to think about before, during, and after receiving a grant. We also supplied excellent prospecting, tracking, and reporting ideas throughout the grant management cycle.
With One-Click access to CommunityForce Nonprofit Suite, you’ll find everything you need for managing, collaborating, tracking, and reporting; create a 14-day free account on CommunityForce.
Whether you’re a startup organization or a leading corporation, CommunityForce provides fully customizable, all-in-one online grant management solutions to maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve collaboration so you can focus on increasing your impact. We’ve helped organizations streamline their entire process no matter the size and scope of their giving.