Many nonprofits have software in place to manage their individual donors, but use a combination of Excel, Word, email, and their calendar to manage their grant information.
Although increasing numbers of nonprofits are adopting grant tracking software to support their grantseeking needs, some nonprofits are still hesitant.
Here a four common misconceptions about grant tracking software for nonprofits:
- Excel is just as good. Many – if not most – nonprofits use Excel to manage some facet of their grantseeking process. And Excel is a great place to start. But most nonprofits gradually realize Excel’s limitations when it comes to tracking grants. Managing the grantseeking process is more than putting information in rows and columns and performing calculations. It requires software that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the grantseeking process. Read more about why Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Excel to Manage Grants.
- My organization already has accounting software and donor management software. That’s all we need. Accounting software and donor management software are critical tools for your organization. While each plays a key role in managing a facet of your organization’s financial and fundraising information, grant tracking software manages different components of your organization’s fundraising operation that neither accounting nor donor management software supports particularly well: think of grants management software as institutional donor management software. Your individual donor management software is great (hopefully) at managing your individual donors, but grant information is different (organizations versus individuals) and the process of requesting and reporting on funds has different requirements. And accounting software can help to manage the financial aspects of your grants program, but there is much more to managing grants than keeping track of dollars and cents.
- It won’t help me solve my biggest grantseeking challenge. Grantseekers consistently report that their greatest grantseeking challenges is lack of time. Grant tracking software helps solve that problem by creating some efficiencies in the grantseeking process, specifically: keeping all grant-related information in the same place helps reduce time spent searching; automated email reminders to colleagues reduce time spent chasing down colleagues to provide needed information, not to mention helping to avoid missing deadlines; the ability to easily reuse similar information from past proposals saves time spent saying, “now where did I write that great paragraph about this part of the program? I want to use it in this proposal.” With the right grant tracking software, that process can take a couple of minutes rather than a couple of hours. Is your greatest grantseeking challenge something other than lack of time? Grant tracking software will probably help with your greatest challenge, too.
- It’s too expensive. Any investment a nonprofit makes has to weight the costs and benefits. No doubt grants management software costs money, but the benefits include not missing deadlines, saving time, better relationships with funders, institutional memory, and more. And while each grant tracking software solution is priced differently, the right software for your organization is priced to be affordable for your organization’s budget, allowing you to make a clear case that the costs are far outweighed by the benefits to your organization.
Are there other things that are preventing your organization from trying grant tracking software? Comment below and we can help clear up other misconceptions about grant tracking software for nonprofits.
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