Looking to improve the ROI on your grant-seeking efforts? The answer may not lie in finding more funders or filling out more applications. It may be that you just need a better management process in place.
Think of how much time it would save if you could eliminate administrative tasks like following up with team members on grant related assignments and due dates, remembering proposal deadlines, searching through previous applications for reusable elements, gathering supporting documents, preparing summary reports for your management team on grant funding status…(etc.)
So how can you improve your grant process? An article from Foundant for Grantseekers offers these helpful tips for grant management strategies.
Create a Grant Tracking List/Calendar: You can use anything from a white board to a shared Outlook or Google calendar, spreadsheets, or online grant management solution program. The goal here is that everyone on your team has visibility of upcoming deadlines, has access to task reminders coming due, has access to grant documents, and there is clear communication of your grant plan, progress, and results.
Having a smooth tracking process for your team allows you to focus more on relationship building with funders and engaging in other fundraising activities.
Organize Your Funders and Grant History: Documented key contact information, past results, and funding priorities is vital information your team needs access to in order to have a sustainable grant practice. How productive would it be to constantly be running behind, missing dates, and losing out on funding opportunities because your team spends all their time searching for all the same information to complete their individual tasks?
Coordinate Your Grant Team Responsibilities while Staying on Schedule: Being able to quickly view upcoming tasks and deadlines or see a high-level view by month is vital to keeping your process on track. A grant management solution program can be extremely helpful here as it can track important deadlines and email reminders to each responsible party of task requirements. Without a software program to keep track you need to make sure you have a highly organized approach to tracking all of the requirements and who is responsible during the process.
Assemble a Library of Boilerplates and Supporting Documents: Make sure your organization is “grant-ready”. You can complete about 80% of the effort in creating a funding proposal ahead of time. There are several grant ready resources out there to help you accomplish this.
Create an answer library online that everyone on your team can have access to. This would be a place where you collect and store important documents, templates, boilerplates, and answers to common questions as well as keeping standard information up to date. This can also help you control the content. Whether it’s you or an intern preparing a first draft for you, an answer library can streamline the development of your proposals.
Internally Report on Your Progress at Key Intervals: You may have to pull together summary reports that can show your Board the current status of your progress and efforts. Again, using a grant management solution program can allow you to produce such reports in just a few clicks as opposed to hours manipulating spreadsheets.
All in all having an effective grant management process in place helps to show the results of your efforts and investments and supports data driven decision making. Make the most out of your time and skill; use them where they really matter.
(Compiled from 5 Grant Management Best Practices for Nonprofits by Tammy Tilzey, Grantseekers.Foundant.com)