When looking for project funding, the chances you’ll only apply to one grant are pretty slim. More than likely, you’ll be applying to a bunch of grants all at once, each with a unique set of requirements. So how do you keep them all straight? This post covers best practices for tracking grants from application to award.
Before you put pen to paper, make sure that the grant and the associated program fit within your organization’s mission and that it makes sense for your organization’s long-term plan. If there’s a clear opportunity for your nonprofit to be awarded, it’s brainstorming time!
Don’t overlook the importance of compiling clear and organized data before the grant writing process begins. Due to the complexity of grants, connecting your organization’s grant writer and finance pro is a proactive first step you can take to ensure proper messaging and accurate financial forecasts. Don’t leave it to the last minute!
Dispensing grant funds throughout your organization can be a difficult task. It requires you to have a macro view of your organization’s teams and their needs and to evaluate how best to allocate and manage finances through the duration of your grant’s lifecycle. Make sure to plan for scenarios including re-application, adjustment of internal processes after the grant is completed, and new programs to implement to ensure a smooth process before, during, and after being awarded.
While being awarded a grant is a benefit to your organization, it’s important to factor indirect costs into your overall budget to avoid any misallocation of funding. Keep in mind the following indirect costs that could impact your grant strategy: audits, printing, utilities, staff training, liability insurance, administrative staff, and miscellaneous supplies. Will they be covered by the grant or will your organization need to redistribute other budgets to offset the difference?
Do your organization a huge favor and invest in grant management software to streamline your reporting to the funding agencies behind the grants you apply for. By compiling each grant’s requirements, deadlines, data, and milestones in one convenient place, you’re freeing up your organization’s resources to better serve the individuals benefiting from your nonprofit. Plus, you can sort and organize relevant information at the click of a button, eliminating the need for additional staffing.
Part of your grant management software should include regular and cumulative reporting options based on each grant submission and award. Boards and other stakeholders are invested (quite literally) in the grants your organization is applying for and how many have been awarded. By tracking that data from the beginning, you can easily customize reports. Try a Grant Management module to keep everything straight.