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6 Grant Management Best Practices for Nonprofits

by Optimy
May 31, 2023 - Reading time: 4min
6 Grant Management Best Practices for Nonprofits

A well-functioning grants program takes a lot of time to implement, and requires ongoing care and maintenance. Not only do you need to meet your disbursement quotas, but you also need to ensure that you maintain data security at all times.

Grant management is the practice of managing all aspects of your grantmaking program. Streamlining your grant management processes means fewer errors and delays, and less time wasted on administrative tasks. It frees up valuable time that you use to focus on the real business of evaluating grant applications to ensure that your funds go to the most deserving applications.

Here are grant management best practices to help you streamline and scale your grants program:

1. Define program guidelines and goals

Establishing guidelines in advance can help you first visualize and then implement the ideal design for your program. Designing your program in advance can help you identify aspects that need more work, and can help you map out your processes for greater efficiency. You need to make sure that everyone involved understands your key objectives. So if you're not necessarily clear about the central tenets of your program, such as the metrics you'll use in your reporting, you put the smooth functioning of your program at risk.

2. Ensure regular and timely reporting

Robust reporting practices are essential to keep you accountable to all stakeholders. As a grantmaker, you are also expected to track and share the impact of the grants you have awarded. To do this effectively, you need to decide on the metrics you should track to be able to communicate with grant recipients and funders, while also making it easier to demonstrate impact, identify areas of success, and highlight areas for improvement. While the entire process can seem intimidating, implementing a grant management solution early on can help you organize all your data and easily report on your activity.

3. Set up screening criteria

Setting up your screening or qualification criteria within your grant management system will automatically reject applications that do not meet your minimum requirements. This will save time for both you and applicants. Only those applications that qualify would be submitted. You would save a lot of time and manual effort by not needing to manually review and reject these applications, and can instead focus your time and energy on qualified applications.

4. Ensure fairness

You should make your grants program as inclusive and equitable as possible, from eligibility requirements and evaluation of applications. You should review each step of your program and ensure that every step is fair and equitable. Application reviews should be subjective and free of bias. Having a broad and diverse pool of reviewers can also help increase objectivity, as can removing demographic information from applications. Managing this review process manually can be challenging, and grant management software will reduce your administrative burden and increase efficiency.

5. Maintain a grants calendar

Maintaining a grant calendar can help you keep note of key milestones, goals, benchmarks, and deadlines mapped out for both internal and external reporting. Doing this will help you ensure your planned timeline is realistic, and that all of your grants team understand what is expected of them at all times.

6. Automate processes

Well-organized, automated process can help you streamline and standardize your workflows, increasing organization throughout your grant process from beginning to end. This is only possible if you use a grants management system, which will increase efficiency, decrease risk and make reporting easier.

Making use of the above best practices will save you time and manual effort. By improving all aspects of your program from start to finish by using the right grant management solution for your needs, you can increase your social and business impact.

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