When a funder invites your organisation to reapply year on year for project funding, it shows you’re a trusted partner. 

But how does your non-profit organisation get to this position? By submitting robust and transparent funding reports complete with outcomes data, full expenditure breakdown and comprehensive project delivery details.  

Similar to a funding application to request money, a funding report must leave no unanswered question in the funder’s mind as to how money was spent, and what the project achieved.   

We’ve seen this component of grants best practice adopted by our clients with excellent results, with one client in particular receiving annual invitations direct from the funder to submit a funding proposal year on year.  

We map out the steps they took—and continue to follow—to secure consistent funding, year on year, with the same funder.  

How acquitting your grants can lead to securing consistent funding: A case study

The formula for success… 

Infographic. How acquitting your grants can lead to securing consistent funding. 

Before you get to the acquittal stage, there are several important steps, or strategies, that your organisation needs to take (and if you’re not familiar with our 7 key success measures for grants success, check out our Best Practice Tracker). 

Funder engagement & internal communications 

Before preparing the funding proposal, the Trusts & Foundations (T&F) Manager contacted the funder to discuss the funding focus and qualify the project.  

Based on this information, the T&F Manager discussed the key requirements and details internally with the Service Delivery Team to identify which service met the criteria, and best aligned with the funder’s objectives.  

A joint decision between the T&F Manager and the Service Delivery Team was made, and they worked together to prepare the funding proposal.  

Strong project plan 

A Project Plan (Service Delivery plan) was already documented and shared between the T&F Manager and Service Delivery Team. Being advised of the funder’s objectives, and included in the decision to apply for funding, the Service Delivery team understood the funders priorities, what outcomes data needed to be collected and reported on, timing of the project milestones, the funders expectations, and when the funding needed to be acquitted.  

Once the funding proposal was announced successful by the funder, the Service Delivery team was notified, a joint celebration shared, and the project commenced.  

The process of collecting, monitoring and evaluating outcomes data of the project was in place; all the Service Delivery Team had to do was schedule in when the data would be needed to prepare the acquittal report.  

Now…robust acquittal reports 

The T&F Manager reported above and beyond the standard format: 

  • Project Details 

A concise summary of the project details, the beneficiaries (number, demographics, etc.), and the need met by the project.  A beneficiary profile and image were incorporated into the report to provide connection between the funder and the people which the project supported.  

  • Evaluation of outputs, outcomes and impact measurement were clearly articulated 

Each of the outcomes stipulated in the original proposal were addressed with data to demonstrate the outcome was achieved; both qualitative and quantitative data were used.  

  • Changes to the project 

Declaration of changes in the project delivery were outlined, paired with explanations and learnings in how to improve the service.  

  • Expenditure Summary 

Full income and expenditure budget and explanation of any discrepancy compared to the original application budget.  

The result? The organisation has an excellent relationship based on trust and alignment in achieving the same impact, thus have been invited to apply for funding, year on year.  

In summary 

Don’t steward funders with a receipt.

Denise Cheng, Equity Trustees 

Funders expect accurate reporting on funded projects according to the terms of the original funding proposal and funding agreement.  

Total transparency of the project delivery and demonstrating what your organisation has achieved during the funding period evidences the capacity and capability of your organisation to meet the funders objectives and be a trusted partner year on year. 

To learn more about how to proficiently acquit grant funding, check out our Funder Reports podcast.