(This section was written by fundraising consultant Emily Goulding-Oliveira.)
Managing grants is multifaceted, from ensuring that deliverables are completed on time and on budget to writing grant reports. But the one core focus is cultivating an ongoing relationship with a funder. When done correctly, every step in the grants management process is an opportunity to build trust.
Completing projects on time and on budget signifies that your organization is reliable, and comprehensive grant reports give funders an equally reliable and consistent framework with which to understand your program. Share with them how you’re measuring success and what the stakes are. Every word and number should build the story of why your funded project advanced your organization’s goals, the funders’ goals, and the broader field. Remember, grantmakers are keenly interested in the results of the programs they invest in. They want details, so share them! Before you start reporting on a grant, ask:
- Do we have the basics down? Have we marked the due dates of the required narrative and financial reports? Will we provide them in both the format and timeframe required – in other words, have we anticipated which details are important to the funder?
- Have we coordinated with program staff, finance staff, and executive staff to get the information we need to need to report on the grant?
- What’s our story? Did our work go as planned? If not, why not? Honesty is important. Funders are looking for fresh new ideas, but they also want to hedge their bets wisely. If something didn’t work, share that. If something was unexpectedly successful, share that as well. This honesty and transparency helps build your relationship with the funder. Consider which lessons your organization learned and how you want to frame those lessons moving forward.
- What is this funder’s core interest, and what aspect of this project or your work at-large speaks to that interest?
Integrating these relationship cultivation practices across your grant portfolio will help your organization build positive and sustainable funder relationships.
RESOURCE: 10 Top Tips for Grant Management from fundsforNGOs.org