September 30, 2022 | 5 min read
Welcome back to another Friday Five. This week we wanted to revisit a pivotal piece of fundraising for successful nonprofits. Grants are funding from the government that can be used or restricted to any number of purposes. Winning the grant is the first step in this process. Once it is secured, managing it properly is just as important to continue qualifying and therefore receiving more funding and hopefully new grants as well.
Since grants are funding from the government, there will be paperwork and organization that needs to take place. At the end of the day this is similar to an audit. Grants can be restricted by time, purpose, or both. Here are some tips to make managing your grants easier!
Before you start the painstaking process of gathering and filling out information, it is best to review what the requirements are to stay in good standing. As mentioned, they can be time and or purpose restricted so it is best to have an idea of where and how this will be used. These restrictions can be temporary or permanent. Knowing the specific functions needed will save headaches and ensure that you continue to qualify in the future.
Like any other process it is best to set up a documentation and recording process before it is needed. After setting up your chart of accounts, you will have a framework for recording. More on this here. This way when you receive the grant you can record the revenue to the appropriate account and create a class for it. Our accounting team can further explain this or answer other questions.
For storing support documents, a virtual folder can be a handy tool. Since it is stored virtually, all those involved can access and add documents as needed. You can take this a step further and create a folder for every month. This way when it is time to prepare your report / voucher packet, all the documents are organized and easy to take action against.
Templates save time! When executing commonly repeated actions, templates will ease the repetition and speed up your process.
Pro Tip: This is not solely applicable to grants. Payroll and benefits are great for templates, too. Creating templates for these helps speed up the process of allocating expenses. You’ll improve accuracy and gain efficiency as more of your focus is being used on the task at hand.
Now that you have a great documentation process – use it! Sounds simple, failing to use the great system you worked out leads to frustration, and possibly worse abandonment. It is easy to let urgent and unexpected fires take priority and focus, which is all the more reason to set aside some time to stay organized.
Rather than breaking focus to enter one or two transactions. Take a few minutes before lunch, at the end of the day, or even once a week to stay organized. The reality is adherence to the process and regular maintenance is what takes the work. But you did the work, so use the system!
Software is great, until it’s not. Far too often we seek to have software solve a problem only to create a workaround here, there, and everywhere. Software tools have become so intertwined in our everyday life that it can be hard to remember a time without them, but we need to be smart about which ones we use.
Before spending the money – and time – implementing a system or multiple systems, think through all the critical paths, the problems solved and the administrative work associated with a deployment. Try to find tools that work easily and reliably with one another, and don’t take a software engineer to configure or manage. Software used wisely can save you time and energy, but the wrong tools, in any quantity, will have the reverse effect.
DonorNinja is a nonprofit tool that offers grant management along with many other features. Schedule a demo to learn about how DonorNinja can help you better leverage your data.
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DonorNinja is a software tool focused on streamlining donor and constituent management for nonprofits of all sizes. Our easy-to-use, unified platform allows nonprofit partners to manage fundraising, marketing, reporting and events in one place, affordably.
We believe strongly in relationships, so our team is partner focused, always striving to provide the best experience possible. We know the work your organization does matters and our system frees time so you can better focus on your amazing work!
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