You have just heard from the funder—your recent grant application was successful! Now it is time to spend the money and crack on with the project—no need to worry the funder about anything else, right? Wrong! Accountability and reporting are key components of a successful grants strategy and are critical to fostering the all-important funder relationship.
Read on for best-practice tips on what your organisation should do once you have received a successful notification from a funder so that you are keeping accountable when it comes to your grant funding.
Keeping accountable when it comes to your grant funding: Key steps to consider once an organisation receives confirmation that the application was a success
- Notify your Programs/Operations team of the successful application (do not forget to ring the bell to celebrate your win!) to ensure the project funding applied for is still relevant/needed. If there are any delays or changes to the original application – this should be discussed with the funder immediately.
- Identify the best person in your organisation to call the funder to say thank you (perhaps it is your CEO or a member of the fundraising team). During this phone call or email—and it is always preferable to speak to the funder vs sending an email—take the following steps:
- express sincere thanks
- discuss any project delivery/milestone amendments (if any) from the original application
- determine their preferred avenue and frequency of communication. For example, are they happy to receive your organisation’s monthly newsletter or photos outside of the reports submitted? What about a phone call to provide a verbal update or an invitation to the project launch?
- If you are using Strategic Grants’ Grants Expertise Management System (GEMS), or your own CRM, update it with the reporting due dates—ensuring the project delivery and finance team are aware of these dates and what information will be required to report on the project proficiently.
- Prepare an engagement strategy/plan for the funding period AND after funding has been acquitted. Ensure the funder remains engaged with the organisation—with the objective of applying for future funding and delivering excellent stakeholder management. Remember—the goal is to not just meet the funder’s expectations but to exceed them!
Not sure what to include in your progress report? Funders will generally provide a template, but if not, here are some guidelines:
- Report on outcomes according to terms of the funding agreement.
- Remember – not achieving expected outcomes is not a negative. Explaining what you have learnt and how you are disseminating those learnings is extremely positive!
- Offer explanations for any deviations.
- Describe the impact of the project, any issues experienced, the challenges and what you learnt.
- Always be thankful, honest, transparent, and engaging!
- Keep funders updated on any organisational updates, even if they are unrelated to the project they are funding—you want to keep the funder engaged!
We are passionate about building the capability of for-purpose organisations to apply strategic thinking to their service delivery and fundraising programs. Get in touch to find out how the Strategic Grants team can help your organisation!