Having a grant management system is a must. In recent years, there’s been a whole new level of competition for grants, from non-federal and federal sources. In fact, the federal government no longer provides the funds for a majority of the research that’s carried out in the U.S., something that it did for decades. Federal agencies funded 44% of the money spent on basic research in 2015 – throughout the 1960s and ’70s, it was more than 70%, as Science magazine notes.
An optimal grant management system will help support your organization by providing the necessary technology and support that can help an individual or team pursue grant funding in the best way possible while managing financial and program requirements across the lifecycle of grants. The right grants software can take the burden off grant staff when it comes to managing business processes while automating the essential tasks and activities of the grant lifecycle. It helps to save money and time in addition to providing a database with access to thousands of state, federal and foundation grants.
While software for grant management is essential these days, you’ll also want to keep these five best practices in mind.
A Dedicated Calendar
Having a dedicated calendar just for managing grants that your entire team can work on will help keep everyone on the same page and allow for more efficient accountability and better communication. The calendar should include important dates, deadlines, team check-ins and progress meetings.
Keep Supporting Documents Well-Organized
Optimal grant management is best achieved through year-round organization, Keep all supporting documents, reusable answers to common questions and templates all in what place to stay organized and save time. You might want to look for a good template so that you can have some of the work completed beforehand. You may be able to complete as much as 80 percent of the funding proposal, even before you know which you’re applying too.
Keep all financial materials like contracts, invoices, and receipts organized as well and be sure that everyone who needs it can easily access it and update it throughout the year.
Create an Archive for Grant History
Having grant history archives can help you make better future decisions as well as save time for current grant management. It should include key details about funders and grants like websites, types of programs funded, typical funding range, relevant tax forms, conversation notes, and social media. Past applications such as who wrote the grant, deadlines, contact information, the requested amount, and the amount received (if any).
Tracking and Reporting of Grant Cycles
An efficient tracking and reporting system is a must – if you choose the right grant management software system it’s likely to be included. Think routine summary reports, status updates, checklists with reminders of things to do, and team meetings.
Provide Internal Progress Reports at Key Intervals
Summary reports should be provided internally at key intervals to keep everyone in your organization, and on the board, up to date on the current status and progress of grant-seeking efforts. If you use a good grant management system, it usually only takes a few clicks.
John Pearson is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.