Be careful what you wish for….
Since I am spending Spring Break in Florida, I can’t help but think about Disney. Maybe this is a bit wistful, but as I work with more clients who receive grant funding, I can’t help but think that sometimes grant seeking is a trap. You receive the money, and then you have to manage the requirements and all the strings attached. What are some of the common pitfalls and how do you avoid them?
You don’t reconcile your funds on an ongoing basis so you don’t actually know how grant funds are spent within your organization. Some staff may even be unaware that they should charge a portion of their salary to a grant.
Solution: Assign a point person responsible for coding your grant in your accounting system, train all applicable staff members on how they should be charged to grant awards, and ensure the assigned Project Director has a copy of the grant budget and application.
You forget deadlines, provide incomplete information and do not track progress on an ongoing basis.
Solution: Create a system for performance measurement, including an assigned point person. Make sure you complete the reports on time and according to the grantor’s requirements.
You only reach out to funders when asking for money, so they have little idea of how their funds are being spent.
Solution: Be a good steward of grant funding by providing updates on how their funds have been spent. Share success stories and connect via social media so others can see how your grantors are helping your organization.
These reflect just a portion of the steps you should complete in order to be successful grant managers. Keep in mind that post-award grants management is complex and requires resources and time, but in the end you will have a greater pool of renewal funders and set up your organization for success.