Grants are essential for nonprofit organizations, and they are responsible for much of the good work that happens within communities. Managing your grants is essential to ensure your organization’s success.
After the application process, receiving and tracking your grant funding is a huge part of the grant management process. Grant tracking software can also help your organization utilize your grants to their fullest potential.
1. Create a Calendar
Creating a calendar can assist in your grant tracking endeavors. You and your team will need to keep track of many important deadlines, both during the application process and when implementing your grant funding into your various goals and responsibilities.
Having a separate calendar that the whole team can access can help make sure everyone stays on track and is up to date with important deadlines and changes. You can also note the progress of your grant applications and fund tracking on calendars as a type of internal reporting system. Many organizations have physical calendars, such as large whiteboards that display the important dates and deadlines for all the organization’s grants. Some organizations also utilize virtual calendars they can share across the organization.
Calendar methods have pros and cons. The benefits of a physical calendar for grant tracking include:
- Visible to the whole department or office
- Do not require internet or computer to access
- Simple for every member of the company to use and update
However, it’s essential to update the physical calendar as things change, or shifting deadlines might pass you by. Similarly, a physical calendar may cause confusion if you have members of the team who work in a different area or from their homes.
To combat these issues, consider using a virtual calendar for grant management. The benefits of using a virtual calendar include:
- Streamline information such as deadline changes across multiple different grant projects
- Send notifications about important due dates and meetings
- Accessible by every team member, no matter their location
2. Coordinate Team Roles and Responsibilities
Every member of your team has a part to play in keeping your organization running and working toward your mission and goals. Coordinating your team’s responsibilities around your grant tracking, in addition to their other responsibilities, ensures everyone knows what role they have.
At the start of each grant project you undertake, have a meeting with your entire team to discuss everyone’s specific responsibilities. You can create calendars, to-do lists, and timelines and organize them around employees’ individual responsibilities. Color coding can be a great way to identify which tasks belong to which person and saves time when you need to quickly figure out who’s working on what aspect of your grant projects.
While many members of your team will have clear roles within your organization, it’s important to remember to be flexible. Sometimes, one team member who is usually responsible for a certain task may be on leave or have too many other projects going on at the same time. Having other team members who can step in and complete tasks across various roles will be instrumental in ensuring the success of your organization.
3. Tracking and Reporting
When you’re receiving government funding—and often other sources—the party responsible for your funding wants to make sure you’re using it within their guidelines That’s why grant and fund tracking, and reporting are so important. Your tracking responsibilities include:
- Detailed documentation of spending
- Any changes to your planned spending
- Outcomes of your grant-funded programs
Some grants may operate on a reimbursement basis, which means tracking all your spending is a definite requirement. Others reward funds proactively for you to use on different programs, but you still must keep careful track of what you spend and where all that money goes.
In terms of reporting, you may also be required to compile all the information from your grant programs into reports for your funders, investors, or board. Reports often include things like:
- Financial data: In terms of financial information, you’ll need to provide detailed data to explain where every penny of your grant funding went. This will include information on specific projects, departments, and other organizations that received money or services as a result of your grant funding.
- Accomplishments: This space is a place for you to note what that money allowed you to accomplish, and how that relates to your organization’s larger mission. Having a robust accomplishments report can show that you planned and organized your funding efforts effectively, which can go a long way in getting more funding in the future.
- Outcomes: Even after using the money, you will need to track the impacts of how the grant money was spent to ensure it has a positive impact. Outcomes-based reporting can help you get more funding in the future if the data shows need still exist in certain sectors of your community.
4. Use Software
Technology can help your organization streamline its grant tracking efforts. Using fund accounting software can assist with various tasks so you can focus on your mission. Some of the key features of effective grant tracking software are:
- Finance monitoring: With fund accounting software, your organization can monitor multiple revenue sources, organize funding requirements, improve reporting, and even prepare for audits.
- Flexibility: Software gives you the flexibility to add on functions as you need. You can choose a few modules that fit into your organization’s existing system or integrate a full-scale software update to transform your organization’s operations.
- Scalability: If you choose the right software, it can grow with your organization. A true fund accounting system will scale with you, regardless of how many programs or funding sources you have.
- Adaptability: With the ability to choose between cloud and on-premises systems, your fund accounting software should work with your organization’s unique needs.
To learn everything you need to know about grants, including searching and applying and how to keep funding once you’ve secured it, take a look at our webinar that covers all the steps in detail.
Request a Demo From MIP Fund Accounting®
As a nonprofit, your mission comes first. MIP Fund Accounting helps your organization reach its goals through flexible tracking features and reporting. Gone are the days of manual reporting and laboring over spreadsheets for hours—with our system, you can track and account for your grants with a click of a button. To see how our software can work for you, request a demo today!
Want to learn more? Read 9 Tips on How to Manage Nonprofit Grants Effectively.