Managing grant dollars is a process that starts long before the grants are awarded. It’s perhaps the most crucial step of the process, one that requires research, organization and great communication. The inability to manage grants effectively is the main reason why donors withdraw in the next year, and grantees cannot depend on the organization.
Here are 7 helpful tips to nail effective grants management.
1. Identify and Eliminate Risks
No one likes surprises, whether its extended deadlines or lack of fulfillment of other terms and conditions.
If you want your donors and grantees to trust you and maintain lasting relationship, keep an eye out for financial constraints. Eliminate these beforehand or warn the grantee—a couple of ups and down in terms and conditions may be ignored by grantees, and they may respond favorably in the presence of honesty.
2. Understand Relevant Federal Requirement
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ensures that grants are managed properly and helps improve performance to reduce burdens on the public by defining certain laws. In order to manage grants effectively, you need to work in accordance with the laws and regulations pertaining your grant provisions, and ensure are requirements are addressed.
3. Cover Proposed Activities At Said Amount
If you proposed to conduct seven workshops, do not stop with five at the cost of seven. Effective grant management requires delivery, because donors want to know their money is spent as promised, and grantees need applications processed on time.
Make donors’ restrictions and preferences clear amongst the staff (admin, managers, others) at the project meetings, and hold these meetings at frequent intervals to review progress.
4. Organize Budget and Finances
Over-spending and under-spending—they’re both a big NO. Go beyond the amount you’re given, and you’re in for loss. Under-spend and you will disappoint everyone concerned with these funds. Donors have targets they want to meet, and once they give you the funds and their instructions, they want you to allocate smartly.
5. Prepare And Evaluate Reports and Statuses
Timely and accurate report generation is another critical aspect of successful grant management, and it takes effort. Quarterly, semi-annual or annual—however you agreed to submit report to your donors at the time of agreement, make sure to follow through.
Delayed reports result in over or under-spending, and are detrimental to establishing good rapport with the grantees.
6. Put Everything In Writing
File all papers as they come in, update contract files, and create budget notes. Clear record-keeping not only helps eliminate possibilities of inaccuracies in figures, but also helps new management identify the changes, the donors’ requests, grant applications, and the latest version of a project.
7. Using Grant Management Systems
Have an organized structure for managing grants—applications, LOIs status reports and everything else one place. It helps produce results, promotes coordination and establishes accountability.
A grant management system such as Systems for Good offers simple to understand, fully-automated features for quick access to data about your foundation.