Grant Records are Golden
What is the golden rule of grants administration? Record everything!
If you already keep detailed notes squirrelled away somewhere on every grant application and funder relationship, then gold stars for you! And even more gold stars if you keep all those notes in the same place, in a logical order where they can be accessed by other staff.
If you’re not keeping thorough grants records, it’s of the utmost importance that you go and put down (somewhere outside of your own head) everything you can recall about your grants program right now! That’s going to include:
- Funder relationship history
- Whom you’ve applied to for what and when
- The status of each grant application: in progress, submitted, pending, successful, unsuccessful
- The date you submitted and who the writer was
- The date your payment/s were received
- The date your funder reports are due
- Any feedback on the application
Having a complete picture of whom you’ve applied to for what and when, what relationships have been built between which staff member with which funder contact, feedback on applications and what reception your project ideas received in grants rounds is utterly vital to the success of your grants program!
Good record keeping ensures your grants program relies on systems and processes, not on the unwritten knowledge of team members who can and do leave without imparting vital information on your organisation’s grants program.
Part of best-practice grants process is to ensure that all information about your grants history is being kept in one central place. This makes it much less likely you’re going to accidentally apply to a funder six-months after being successful for a grant, only to find out that successful applicants can only re-apply after a period of two years. This is the kind of thing that irks funders!
And how are you meant to pull together organisation evaluations, annual reports, board reports and funder reports without records of your grants program?
It might seem like a less important job that gets pushed down the to-do list, but keeping a grants history is an absolute essential. Stay golden, don’t let it slip!
Therese Lanigan-Behrent, Grants Strategist, Strategic Grants MFINZ.
Therese helps NFPs of all sizes build and sustain effective grant-seeking strategies, increasing their grants success. With a background in senior marketing and sponsorship roles for ASB, Vodafone, and Jucy, Therese also has had experience as a funder in New Zealand (Vodafone NZ Foundation) and as an active Board Member for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.