Best Practices for Grant Management in Nonprofit Organizations
Grant management is the backbone of every successful nonprofit organization. With a significant portion of funds deriving from this form of fundraising, the future of even the most dedicated nonprofits can look bleak without efficient grant management solutions. Anyone with experience at a nonprofit that overlooks this key factor understands its weight. Certainly, it’s more effective to hone your organization’s grant-seeking skills and focus on fewer, profitable options than sending out countless grants carelessly with the hopes that just a few stick.
Below, we’ve compiled some of the best practices for grant management in nonprofit organizations to help you optimize your fundraising and find more time to focus on the positive changes you’re trying to promote.
Establish a Grant Management Team
An online grant management system is only as effective as the individuals tasked with operating it. In order to make the most of these solutions and reap their potential advantages, you have to first establish a grant management team. While you don’t have to hire individuals specifically for this task, it is important to clearly assign roles and associated responsibilities to your employees. This clear structure will make it easier to organize, manage, and perfect your nonprofit’s grant management while providing employees with clear and manageable goals.
Invest in Grant Management Software for Nonprofits
Technology has revolutionized the way businesses function, and nonprofits are no exception. With software programs being used in every aspect of daily operations, there’s no reason to keep your nonprofit’s grant management efforts from benefiting from a personalized solution. Grant management software can help your organization with all aspects of fundraising, including:
- Tracking pre-award grant applications
- Collecting funds
- Managing grant activity
- Automated drawdown process
- Maintaining relationships with grant providers
All of this is accessible in easy-to-use, minimalistic, and functional software that assists nonprofits in this area of utmost importance.
Track Your Grants Meticulously
The old adage about a blind squirrel finding a nut every once in awhile bears some truth, but that doesn’t mean your nonprofit has to rely on those debilitating odds. The first step towards a functioning grant management solution begins with detailed grant tracking. By using a dedicated calendar, it’s easier to meet deadlines and submit important documents on time. While using a wall calendar or whiteboard might function for smaller nonprofits, grant tracking software is ideal for organizations seeking dozens of grants each year. All employees plugged into this software can see upcoming deadlines, future plans, and can be prompted with automatic reminders.
Manage Associated Costs
In an ironic way, nonprofits have to spend money in order to even be considered to receive a grant. While it’s tempting to forgo the documentation and tracking of these costs due to their seeming insignificance, they do add up considerably over time. Furthermore, expense transparency is an important characteristic of any trustworthy nonprofit. Luckily, the best kinds of grant management solutions come with fund accounting software built-in. This gives employees an easy and accessible place to track indirect costs associated with grant applications while providing leaders with the necessary oversight to account for all finances.
Organize Key Funding Information
Grant providers have certain requirements and expectations that must be met by nonprofit organizations. If not, there’s the nightmarish possibility that the grant could be redacted and your organization’s reputable name besmirched. Instead of storing this information in email attachments, random folders, or on sticky notes, it’s smarter to use a grant reporting software. It’ll be easier to organize funder rules, contact info, tax details, requested amounts, and much more. Whenever there’s a question about this information, it can easily be referenced. It’s a small step that can do wonders for maintaining important records.
Keep Premade Applications On Deck
It’s inefficient to start every application from scratch. Not only do the goals and motivations of your organization remain unchanged, but funders also tend to have overlapping requirements. With grant application software, you can easily manage a repository of templates and documents related to these grant requests. All members of the grant team will have easy access to the information, making it easier and quicker to create up-to-date and accurate applications. As a leader, you’ll have control over what’s included in the repository without having to handle the time-consuming administrative task of distributing needed documents.
A Real-life Example of Successful Grant Management
It’s one thing to talk about the theoretical advantages of a solution; it’s another to see the results in real life. In 2014, the City of Detroit sought out an effective grant management solution after filing for bankruptcy. The primary goals were to help the city secure sufficient grants and restore financial prosperity. In 2017, Detroit received 88% fewer audits for questioned costs on the grants it had received. Furthermore, the city was able to end the 2018 fiscal year with a surplus budget of tens of millions of dollars, thanks to an improved and more lucrative grant strategy. Detroit is now enjoying a streak of operating surpluses and balanced budgets.
While this case study might seem incomparable to the experience of a nonprofit organization, the key principles remain the same. Grant management solutions make it easier for organizations to:
- Meet deadlines
- Stick to guidelines
- Keep track of past grants
- Improve chances of landing grants
- Protect the grant budget with overspending protection
- Increase the renewal of grants through timely and accurate reporting.
Grant Management is a Phone Call Away
Not taking grant management seriously can be a problem in the nonprofit world. This leads to countless potential dollars being lost. That’s why NonProfit Plus has created a product to help you improve the reporting, tracking, management, and organization of all grant-related information. Our nonprofit ERP software gives you the ability to manage funds, track budgets, communicate with team members, ensure correct data entry, and much more. We believe that grant money is a gift and not a burden. Let us help you alleviate some of that undue stress. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Written by: Bill Dean