For many non-profit organizations, grant management involves long periods of routine, punctuated by short bursts of panic and flurries of activity. But effective grant managers rely on a set of best practices that avoids the frenzy and promotes funding success.
Ready to leave the funding drama behind? Here are three steps to help you master grant management in your non-profit organization.
Be Fiscally Responsible
You'll need to account for every penny you spend on your funding. If your expenditures aren't clear, you could lose track of which expenses belong to which grants. You'll risk losing future grants or scramble when facing unplanned audits.
Keep your grants separate from each other by accounting for each grant as an independent cost center. All income and expenses should be itemized by category to prevent co-mingling the grants. Every grant has an intended purpose, and your accounting should ensure that your spending is in line with that. Be sure to follow these guidelines:
- Spending must align with any stipulations in the grant.
- Never spend grant money on anything outside of the grant budget.
- Document every dollar you spend, and keep your receipts and documentation organized.
- Don't leave one person in sole charge of grant money.
- Continuously track grant expenditures to mitigate under- or overspending.
Handpicked related content: Never Run Out of Funding Early Again
Incorporate Reporting into Your Flow
Your funding sources will expect to receive a funding report on a regular basis. But often, hectic work and daily activities can get in the way of planning your reports - especially since it's so easy to put it off one more day. In addition, the staff members who spend the grant money are keeping receipts in their wallets. Next thing you know, the report is due!
Don't get caught by surprise. Slapping a funding report together at the last minute could damage your credibility with the funder.
Instead, stay on top of your reporting rhythm. Create a calendar with milestones that will automatically send reminders to you and anyone else involved in the reporting process. The calendar should be dedicated solely to the grant management process, and everyone in the organization should have access to it. This way, all your milestones, deadlines, and important dates are in one place, and everyone stays on the same page.
Your calendar should include deadlines, important dates, who is assigned different tasks, progress meetings, and team check-ins. Be sure to schedule time for internal reviews, edits, and final sign-off.
Track Your Grant History
If you're like a lot of non-profits, your most important information about your funding sources is stored in emails, various hard drives, paper notes, and people's heads. This is vital information that needs to be easily accessible in a central location.
Keep track of your grant history - both submitted and awarded. This is especially helpful for recurring grants, and it saves a lot of time for grant management and grant writing. Instead of writing a grant from scratch, you can pull your archived information and speed up the process.
Maintain the following information in a central location:
- Grant name and status
- Grant writer
- Funder, funder program, contact information
- Targeted program
- Application method
- Date submitted and decision date
- Amount awarded
- Grant term
- Copy of the application
A Complete Grant Tracking Solution
Non-profit grant accounting can be tedious, but IDI's GrantAlytics gives you complete visibility and immediate insights to maximize the usage and effectiveness of your funds. GrantAlytics is the only grant budgeting and management solution that integrates seamlessly with your current time-and-attendance and payroll system. Create easy-to-understand reports that save your organization time and money!
Brianna Audibert, Senior Accountant at SBP, Inc. says,
"GrantAlytics is awesome. I like being able to pull reports by each grant, the ability to enter new expenses, and the ability to see how things are going against the budget. I love being able to get off of spreadsheets and the dashboard is really convenient and easy to use.”