If you’re running a nonprofit organization, you know how important grants are. You also know how complex grant management can get, from finding the right organizations to handling the requirements, writing the proposal, and filing applications. It’s time-consuming and sometimes, stressful. However, there are ways to streamline the process. With the help of online tools, you can organize, analyze, assign and track your grant applications from day one until final approval.
What is nonprofit grant tracking?
Grant management is the process of nonprofits applying for and submitting grant proposals. This includes managing grant applications, prioritizing and assigning tasks, and tracking results. This means that the entire grant lifecycle is managed like organizing grant money, processing grant applications, and grant tracking, all the way to post-award and grant closure. The system of grant management involves three distinct categories:
Grantmakers is another term for grant donors and are typically government agencies awarding grants to valuable, registered nonprofits and charities based in their country.
All nonprofits applying for a grant must meet all the grant eligibility requirements to be considered for funding. Make sure to read the eligibility requirements from each grantmaker as these will vary depending on the grantmaker’s preferences and discretion.
To prove your eligibility, you must provide information about your nonprofit, including staff members, stakeholders, profits, grants previously acquired, reports, and future funding objectives. The grantmaker will specify the eligibility guidelines.
A large part of grant management also includes the use of grant writing software. All grant applications include a grant proposal, which can be written by a dedicated staff member or an expert grant writer. It is up to you to decide whether you want the grant to be written in-house or to hire a professional.
Grant management process
The lifecycle of the grant process consists of three phases: pre-award, award, and post-award. With the help of grant management software, each of these phases can go off without a hitch, including the initial planning phase until the grant is approved and finalized. This process is crucial to the success of the grant application, so look at the checklist below before beginning your journey to grant approval.
- Gather the necessary information: Depending on the documents required, start the process of collecting information early. You will need information on cash flow, staff members and size, volunteers, and future plans for the application process.
- Start looking for grant opportunities: There are grant databases available online with the latest opportunities available to nonprofits in a specific country. These databases should be updated regularly with new opportunities and highlight eligibility requirements.
- Apply for grants: Once you have found relevant grants for your nonprofit based on your eligibility and funding needs, start setting up your grant application, including grant proposal writing.
- Grant funding approval: Once your grant is approved, the funding can be used to execute the missions of your organization. Some grantmakers may request specifics on what the funds should be used for, for example, the launch of a new initiative or project.
- Grant proposal closing: Once the grant process is over, make sure to store all the necessary information in a shared space to be accessed by all relevant parties quickly and easily.
By following this checklist, you can stay on track with the necessary tasks required to apply for a grant and hopefully get grant approval. It is important to save all information as it will be required for future grant proposals as well.
Grant management tips
Applying for grants doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. If you follow a few simple tips, you can ensure a smooth and efficient process that will lead to success. Some tips include creating a grant calendar to keep track of processes and pace your application accordingly. This will also help you implement a grant management system when you need them to streamline the process. Let’s take a closer look at some of these tips to help you along your journey to grant application.
- Create a grant calendar: This is a good way to ensure your whole team is aligned on the grant proposal process and to help everyone stay on track. It helps you stay organized and understand what grant applications have already been sent to prevent duplication. Include application deadlines, internal task timelines, and recurring dates for staff members in this calendar. To get the most out of your calendar, ensure that all information is communicated to all necessary parties to allow for efficient and effective collaboration and minimal confusion and stress. Working out an appropriate timeline will help the organization achieve its grant application goals.
- Automate processes: Where you can, automate certain processes to save time and resources. This will help streamline workflow and ensure everyone has enough time to work on their dedicated tasks. Grant software can help automate and streamline these processes, allowing you time to focus on more important matters. As a nonprofit, you can use this time to focus more on community building and upliftment. Any business can benefit from grant management software for nonprofits that allow for integration and automation.
- Assemble your research: Applying for grants can be time-consuming, so it is best to start gathering all the necessary information as soon as possible. You will be required to collect various documents to prove your eligibility to grantmakers. By creating a resource library with all the necessary documentation, they can be easily accessed whenever it’s needed. To develop a resource library, start by organizing the relevant documents needed, including revenue, current funding, volunteers and the size of the full-time team. Store these documents in a shared tool so that they can be accessed by any staff members as required.
Grant Management Checklist
Grant management doesn’t have to be a stressful or overwhelming process. In fact, by simply breaking down the job into smaller, bite-sized tasks, you can make the whole grant process easier and more manageable. The grant process generally takes place over two stages: pre-award and post-award. To make this process as efficient as possible, consider the points in the below checklist:
This stage takes place before you receive the grant you’re applying for. The goal during this stage is to position your non-profit as a credible organization worthy of grant approval. Any work done during the pre-award stage helps set you up for an easier and more streamlined grant application process. Some things to consider during the pre-award phase include:
- Identifying your goals: Before you even start the process of applying for a grant, you need to define your goals and objectives. This includes identifying who you are and what you want to achieve. You must be able to clearly define your vision and mission, as well as your goals for your organization. Organizations with a clear and focused purpose will more likely to find suitable grant funding that aligns with your goals.
- Searching for funders: Start by creating a list of potential donors at the start of the process, you can begin your research as soon as possible. There are even tools available to research possible prospects and find the best matches for your organization. These tools match your mission and programs with the type of grant you are seeking. It then shares this information with potential grant opportunities available that meets your requirements and vice versa. You will also receive weekly updates on new funding opportunities, so you can have access to the latest opportunities and plan your grant funding proposal accordingly.
- Developing proposals: Ensure that your proposals are written in the appropriate way when applying for a grant. As such, be sure to do your research and address all the grant requirements. Follow the instructions of the grant application and double check everything for accuracy. The truth is that writing grant proposals is hard. The research is time-consuming and the requirements leave no room for error or callousness. Granters will also be able to tell if your application was put together at the last minute or with minimal effort. As such, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to develop and deliver the grant proposal for the best chance of success.
Congratulations, you’ve been awarded the grant. However, the work does not stop here. After taking a moment to celebrate, it’s time to get back to business with the following:
- Checking requirements: Learn the documentation requirements of your new grant award as some grants will have specific requirements. Others will be less formal. Once you understand the requirements, you can start preparing your plan to manage and meet all metrics and expectations.
- Setting up budgets: Your grant funding may have reporting requirements based on budgets and expenditures. Once you have received your grant award, set up your accounting system so you can keep track of expenditures and allocate the necessary funds to specific projects and programs.
Things to do during the grant period
There are two things you need to consider during the grant period:
- Reporting: All grant agreements will specify reporting requirements. As such, it’s important to create a schedule that blocks out time to create reports using the data required. These reports are required to give the grant makers an overview of your financial state, what work has been accomplished since post-award, any changes to your original plan and other pertinent information.
- Monitoring: One of your most important focuses post-award is fiscal monitoring and spending. This is particularly necessary for grants that reimburse expenditures instead of paying up front. You do not want to apply for the reimbursement then find out the expense is not covered as part of your grant terms. In the same vein, tracking your spending helps you stay on track and prevent overspending.
Managing multi-year grants
Multi-year grants usually have the same tracking requirements as other grants, although there are a few additions to note:
Fiscal tracking requirements
These grants must be set up in your financial tracking system to highlight all spending taking place across each fiscal year. Ensure that you follow the guidelines for providing this tracking as it can get tricky to report. You don’t want to overinflate or under report expenses when reporting on your fiscal financials, especially when managing multi-year grants.
Multi-year grants should supply funding for the stated years. As such, ensure your budget plans align with the funding requirements and distribute the funds accordingly. Also, find out if there are restrictions to what percentage of the grant should be used every year. Take note of any specific expectations with regards to using the funds. Some grants will specify the type of expenditures to be covered over multiple years. Therefore, it is important to read the terms of the grant agreement closely.
Grant management tracking with monday.com
Using project systems and management tools can significantly improve your workflow and help you stay on track. It will also free up your time and resources to focus on more important issues within the organization or community. With the help of a grant management template by monday.com, you can reduce your workload and have more time to achieve the nonprofit’s mission.