5 Tips for New Staff Making Grants Management Software Changes

Leading grants management software changes

Does this sound familiar? You recently started a new grants management job and are embarking on the tough journey of changing the grants management solution (or lack thereof). If only you could talk with someone who just went through this to get some advice…

Lucky for you, I did just that.

During the past year I worked with Sally* as she successfully convinced her new bosses and colleagues to change their grants management software. Afterwards, I spent some time with her discussing lessons learned and suggestions for others. Here are her pearls of wisdom.

  • Do Your Research: This isn’t merely market research, but also research within your organization. You need to understand the existing operations, including your organization’s unique challenges and inefficiencies. But, don’t forget to keep in mind what does work well. Once you understand the current state of affairs, you can start looking at different grants management solutions. Having learned what does and does not work well will help steer your conversations with the vendors. Make sure to get supporting data on your proposed solution that will help you “sell” it internally.
  • Expect Pushback: Even if, during your interviews, management expressed a desire to make changes to improve their process, don’t be surprised if these same individuals now seem opposed to the idea. Some people can embrace change in theory, but can’t seem to move forward when actually faced with it. This is likely to be even more the case if you weren’t tasked with this as the new hire.
  • Frame the Conversation: When responding to the inevitable naysayers, frame the conversation in terms of existing problems and how your solution will address them. This includes juxtaposing the existing software (if any) with the proposed software, and potentially other competitors, to show how your recommendation would have the most significant positive impact. Couching your ideas in that manner will make it harder for someone to reject them.
  • Engage Your Team: For some organizations, the grants management “team” is really an army of one. For those in a management position, you should involve your team during the entire process. You’re much more likely to get help in the areas above if they’ve felt it was genuinely a team decision and not a dictatorship. Additionally, having the support of the team goes a long way towards convincing the ultimate decision makers.
  • Set Expectations: Be careful when persuading your audience that you don’t oversell it. When you implement the new grants management solution, some things will work as expected while others may work better or worse. Don’t set yourself up for failure by promising the moon; you’ve done your research and your proposed solution is better, but nothing is perfect. When facing continued challenges, Sally closed the deal with, “Some things will work, some won’t, but we should give it a shot.”

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.

Author: M. Dunbar
November 03, 2015, 01:49 PM

Friends Don’t Let Friends Require Paper Grant Applications

paper grant applications

While many grantmakers have moved their application processes online, a large number of grantmakers still require their applicants to submit grant proposals and progress reports on paper or via email.

Some foundations have been using paper applications for a long time and feel there is no reason to change, but there is a significant cost to inefficient grants management – to both the foundation and its grantees, and ultimately to the social impact that both are trying to achieve.

The Center for Effective Philanthropy determined that 13% of every foundation grant dollar is spent administering the grant.  Across the nonprofit sector in the US, nearly $6 billion per year is spent on grants administration.  That’s a lot of lost impact!  For a foundation that awards $1,000,000 in grants annually, $130,000 is spent administering the grants.  The grantees bear most of that cost, but both the grantmaker and the grant recipient benefit from streamlining the process.

Here are seven reasons that friends should not let friends require paper grant applications:

  • Data entry (and re-entry) is time consuming and error-prone.  Once a paper is application is received, it needs to be logged and tracked.  With paper (or email) applications, someone at the foundation has to enter information into a grants database, Excel sheet, or other tracking system.  That data entry process is both time consuming and error-prone.  With an integrated online application and grants management system, there is no data entry that has to be done by someone at the foundation.  Information from the application automatically populates the grants database, saving both time and the possibility for errors.
  • Information submitted on paper can’t be easily aggregated or analyzed.  Increasingly, grantmakers want to be able to look at information across a group of grants to see how much money was awarded over a period of time, analyze information about the recipient organizations, or see the impact the grants had on the issues that the foundation is trying to address.  With paper applications, grant information such as people served, intended outcomes, etc., can’t be easily accessed and aggregated – at least not without someone at the foundation copying and pasting – or re-typing – that information.  With an integrated online system, reports on the distribution of grant funds as well as outcome and demographic information – or anything else that the foundation wants to track – can be generated at a few button clicks, using information that the grantee or applicant submitted in the grant proposal or progress report.  In fact, PhilanTrack is specifically designed to aggregate grantee-entered information to help grantmakers evaluate the effectiveness and impact of their grants and programs.  And PhilanTech’s staff will be happy to advise your organization on how to take advantage of the system and its capabilities to support your grantmaking goals.
  • Real-time access to information. Trustees, reviewers and other stakeholders are increasingly not in the same geographical location as the foundation’s physical office.  With paper applications, someone (either the applicant or a foundation staff member or volunteer trustee) has to print many copies of each application and send them across the country or the globe prior to a board meeting.  Many foundation professionals have lost count of the number of hours they spend each year pulling together board packets with collated copies for each trustee of each proposal under consideration.  Moving online can also be a great way for family foundations to engage younger family members who may just be getting involved in the foundation.
  • Trees.  Think of the trees!  Printing multiple paper copies of every application and every report costs countless trees per year.  Moving the process online enables all foundations – but particularly foundations that fund environmental causes – to align their internal grantmaking processes with their missions.
  • Reducing ineligible or unqualified applications.  As clear as grantmakers make submission guidelines, hopeful nonprofits frequently submit funding requests even if they’re ineligible.  Two features of online application systems help foundations save time and resources by discouraging that activity: eligibility quizzes and letters of intent.  Eligibility quizzes can be tailored to the foundation’s specific guidelines and pose a series of questions to applicants.  Applicants must affirmatively answer that they meet each component of the foundation’s funding guidelines.  If an applicant does not meet one of the eligibility criteria, the organization is prevented from submitting an application, thereby significantly reducing the number of ineligible or unqualified applicants.  Letters of inquiry, as we’ve written about before, can effectively help reduce the administrative burden on both the grantmaker and the applicant with a short version of the application to determine whether it’s worth the time required from both parties for the nonprofit to submit a full application.
  • Contact management and centralization of information.  Managing grants requires managing a lot of information about the organization – from simple data like the organization’s address to more complex information like the intended outcomes of a funded project, and everything in between.  Managing contact information for grantees is important, and tracking interactions is as well.  With an online grants management system that also manages applications and progress reports, all grantee- and grant-related information is in one centralized location.  You can look up a grant, see what the organization outlined in the proposal, who the grant contact is and send that person an email or see when the next report is due – all with just a few a button clicks, rather than having to track down the paper copy of the proposal, then look up the relevant grant in the grants database, and the contact information in Outlook.
  • Continuity and institutional memory.  Over time, most organizations develop their own systems and processes for filing – and finding – documents.  But what happens if there is staff turnover?  With an online grants management system, the organization’s complete grantmaking history is stored in an organized, easy-to-access and easy-to-use online location.  If a new family member joins the board, or if the program officer or grant manager leaves, her successor can easily pick up the mantle and see the organization’s whole history, which reports are due when, and what information was submitted in each proposal.  And all of that information is available at a couple of button clicks rather than by pouring through tons of documents in filing cabinets.

Moving to online grant applications doesn’t mean automatically accepting unsolicited proposals.  If your foundation has an invite-only grantmaking process, you can still gain all of the benefits of moving your application online while only inviting the organizations that you wish to have apply.  Read more here about why it makes sense to move your application online even if your organization doesn’t accept unsolicited proposals.

PhilanTrack is specifically designed to manage the full lifecycle of grants.  In addition to streamlining the process for grantmakers, PhilanTrack helps your grantees and applicants manage their grantseeking more efficiently so that your grant dollars go further towards supporting the programs and services they are intended to fund.

To see how PhilanTrack can save you from using paper grant applications, contact us for a demonstration, or download our guide to getting started with online applications.

 

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fsse-info/516326731
Author: Dahna Goldstein
March 07, 2013, 10:30 AM

Invite-Only Proposals? Why Online Grantmaking Still Makes Sense

files

If your foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, you may think, "why should we move our grantmaking process online?" or "Won't we then get flooded with unsolicited proposals?"

The short answer is no, you won't get flooded with unsolicited proposals.  Moving online doesn't mean changing your process from invite-only to unsolicited.  It doesn't mean opening a portal for every grantseeking nonprofits to approach your foundation.  You can still invite selected organizations - and only selected organizations - to apply.

Why, then, does it make sense to move your process online?  With an invite-only process, you can still get all of the benefits of streamlining your grantmaking with an online system:

  • It will save you time, and provide easier access to information.  With an online system, grantees enter information (everything from their organization and contact information to proposals and progress reports).  That information flows directly into a format that you can view and manipulate.  There's no need to re-enter grantee or applicant information.  And all relevant grant and grantee information is in one place, so you can easily view the foundation's whole history with a given grantee organization without having to look in different files (either paper files or virtual files, depending on what your organization is currently using).
  • Trustees can access information remotely.  I talk to a lot of family foundations that have trustees in different physical locations (from different offices to entirely different parts of the country -- and sometimes different countries).  With an online system, trustees can simply log into the system from wherever they are to view current grant, grantee, and proposal information.  That means that the foundation staff person (or the trustee who usually collects information) doesn't need to spend hours - or days! - putting together packets of information prior to board meetings for trustees to review.
  • The online process enables grantmakers to do things they haven't been able to do before (or at least haven't been able to do easily).  Tools like Word, Excel and Outlook are great for writing documents, creating spreadsheets and managing email, but they weren't designed to manage grants.  With an online grants management system, foundations benefit from features designed specifically with grantmakers in mind -- everything from the ability to view all information about a particular grantee in one place (their history with the foundation, proposals and reports they've submitted, contact information, etc.) to the ability to create board packs in a few button clicks.
  • It's easier for grantees.  With an online system, grantees can access information from anywhere at any time.  With online grant proposals, they don't need to print 6 copies of the application, their audited financials, 990s, and everything else required in the proposal packet and then FedEx it to you.  They can also log into the online system and see when their next progress report is due -- and even get an automated email reminder prior to the due date.  And with PhilanTrack, grantees can manage all of their grant information for all of their funders in one centralized online location (whether or not their other funders are using PhilanTrack), saving them even more time that they can dedicate to programs and services - helping your grant dollars go even further.

Several of our grantmaker clients don't accept unsolicited requests, and have benefitted greatly from moving their processes online, and inviting online proposals from pre-selected organizations. 

Are you considering switching from an offline grants management process to an online grants management system?  Sign up for a PhilanTrack for Foundations webinar, or contact us to see a demonstration and learn about how we can help.

 

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/manc/1427691715/
Author: Dahna Goldstein
January 24, 2013, 09:42 AM

How to Prepare Your Board for Online Grant Applications

Stack of Folders

If you're thinking about online grant applications for your foundation, you may be wondering how to get your board, well, on board.  Here are a few tips to position yourself to lead your board and your organization into online grant applications.

  • Get buy-in.  Who in your organization will be involved in using an online grant management system?  Talk with your board chair early in the process to get her or him on board.  If your board chair is likely to resist the idea, recruit another board member who is more likely to get on board, and the two of you can work together to gradually educate your board chair about the benefits of online grant applications.
  • Communicate early and often.  As you start the process of exploring options and preparing to move your system online, get input from people who will be involved (though who are involved in the grant application and evaluation process now, and those who will use the online system) and communicate clearly throughout the organization - and even to your grantees and applicants - that you are planning to move the process online, and when you are planning to make the move.
  • Mitigate anxiety.  Particularly for an organization that has been doing things in the same way for a long time, the prospect of change can bring up a lot of emotion.  Some of it will be positive ("just think of what we can accomplish with an online grant application!" "I'm so excited about all of the time we're going to have by moving online!"), and some of it will be negative ("What if I can't learn how to use the system?"  "What if the foundation doesn't need me any more to process applications?").  Understanding that people will experience that range of emotions is the first step in trying to mitigate the anxiety that some people will feel.  Creating ways for people to feel involved in the process and feel that their voice is heard goes a long way, as does clearly communicating what support will be available along the way.
  • Training and support.  From the start of the process, it's important to communicate that support and training will be available.  That training and support should come in different formats and at different times, taking into account the fact that people learn differently and have varying levels of comfort with technology (and varying levels of comfort with their varying levels of comfort with technology).  Talk to people about what kind of support they need.  Check in throughout the process to ensure that support is being given.  And create low-key ways for those in need to request additional support.

What are your top tips for preparing your board members for online grant applications?

Click me

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/7803088/

Author: Dahna Goldstein
August 04, 2011, 06:06 PM

Trends in Online Grantmaking

This is the first in a series of periodic looks at trends that we at PhilanTech see developing among our clients and others in the field.  These posts will include grantmaking and grantseeking trends, as well as other items of relevance to grantmaking and grantseeking.  If there is something specific you'd like to see covered, please leave a comment below.

trends in online grantmaking

Three trends in online grantmaking:

  1. I've discussed online LOIs before.  Particularly with the increased volume of grant requests that is accompanying the economic recovery, this is a trend that is continuing, and is one that I think is positive.  Inviting applicants to submit an LOI prior to a full proposal saves both the grantmaker and the grantseeker time.  It has the added benefit of helping some grantmakers feel like they can ease their eligibility restrictions a bit in the hopes of discovering new and intersting programs, but do so in a way that doesn't unduly burden either party;
  2. Quantifiable outcomes.  More grantmakers are looking for their grantees to be able to quantify anticipated outcomes when they apply for a grant, and then report back on those outcomes and how they fared over the course of the grant.  This continues to be fueled by an interest in impact and measurement, which is a subject of ongoing debate in the philanthropy world (in terms of what can and should be measured, what "impact" means, what it says about a "good" nonprofit, and, importantly from the grantseeker perspective, what is involved in collecting and sharing impact-related information with funders);
  3. A character count debate.  As more foundations accept proposals online, foundations see an opportunity to do one of two things: provide applicants with more flexibility, or provide stricter guidance so that applicants are providing more targeted (read: less verbose) information.  Both are valid approaches.  While I lean more towards allowing more flexibility, the reality of a foundation program officer's work day (and that of a trustee or review committee member) is that long-winded applicant response is both less desirable and less effective.  Two takeaways here:
  • Grantmakers can suggest word/character limits without enforcing them;
  • Grantseekers really need to view what they're submitting from the perspective of their readers, and respect the grantmaker's guidelines, even if a response is shorter than you would like it to be.

What trends are you seeing in online grantmaking?

Click me

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/knolleary/5091257338/
Author: Dahna Goldstein
July 06, 2011, 04:27 PM

Streamlining Grant Management – CEP’s Grantmaker Assessment Tool

streamlining grant management

We at PhilanTech are fans of Project Streamline (as readers of this blog may have discerned).  Project Streamline is very much aligned what we’re committed to: helping to streamline the grants administration process.  While we’re approaching streamlining by creating online grants management tools to help both grant makers and grant seekers, Project Streamline is developing principles, spreading knowledge, and developing, with the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) – a grantmaker assessment tool.

This assessment tool, a series of questions to which grantmakers can respond online, asks a series of questions that start to identify streamlining opportunities consistent with Project Streamline’s principles.  For example, grantmakers are asked if they require grant applicants to submit the same information regardless of the size of the grant.  (One of the core streamlining principles is right sizing applications to match the amount of information request from grantees – which is a rough proxy for the amount of effort required to create an application – with the size of the grant.

CEP then provides an assessment, and is also aggregating the results from the foundations that go through the process.

The early results are both discouraging and encouraging.  Amber Bradley, writing on CEP’s blog, notes that most foundations that have responded so far do not think there are opportunities to streamline their processes.  Yet, she notes, most of those same respondents also indicated that they require their grantees and applicants to submit information that is publicly available.

The opportunities to streamline are significant, and many of them don’t require major changes.

If you're a grantmaker, please consider going through the grantmaker assessment tool for your organization.

We look forward to seeing more results from CEP, Project Streamline, and the Grantmaker Assessment Tool.  And if you’d like to learn about how PhilanTech can help your organization streamline, please contact us.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ncreedplayer/3970853240/ (modified)

Author: Dahna Goldstein
April 05, 2011, 11:31 AM

Streamlining Grants Management - A Little Humor and a Lot of Truth

Vladimir Nabokov wrote, "Satire is a lesson, parody is a game."

Grant T. Goldhammer and Ophelia Pain's article entitled "A Strategic Nonprofit Reorganization Plan" is just the type of satire the sector needs to drive home some critical lessons about improving relationships between funders and grantees.

In it, the authors (one of whom, according to the Nonprofit Quarterly, on whose pages both have appeared, created the Philanthrobabble Generator) satirize several common dynamics between funders and their grantees, attempting to turn the relationship on its head, in the form of a letter - really a manifesto - from a nonprofit to its funders.  For example,

Program autonomy. We will no longer seek funding for specific projects of interest to the foundation community;​ instead, all future grants will support activities at our organization’s sole discretion. This change will allow us to develop programs that best meet the needs of the communities we serve and provide for greater public input and accountability.

and

Streamlined grant-application process. We send you an invoice, you send us the money. No staff or board review on the funder side. This streamlined approval process will reduce meetings and bureaucracy as well as free up foundation staff and funds for expanded grantmaking.

(read the whole piece here)

While, as satire, the piece clearly goes to an extreme, it makes some important points:

  • Nonprofits need general operating support.  This has been a much-discussed topic in recent months (and years!), but little has changed in terms of the numbers of grants awarded for general operating support versus program grants;
  • Funder-grantee dynamics.  Funders have money.  Grantees want money.  Funders ask grantees to do things.  Grantees want money.  Grantees therefore do things.  Those things are not always the best use of the grantees' resources.  Collaborations are great, for example, and funders are frequently in an ideal position to identify potential collaborations.  Requiring specific collaborations is another story, and not necessarily beneficial to all paries;
  • Streamlining grant applications.  While the segment quoted above clearly takes it to an extreme, streamlining the grant administration process has benefits not only for the grantee, but also for the funder.

What do you think?  What lessons can we - as a sector - learn from this satirical send-up of the funder-grantee relationship?

nabokov

Nabokov monument photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Monument_Nabokov_Montreux_23.12.2006.jpg
Author: Dahna Goldstein
January 06, 2011, 06:35 PM

What I Learned about Grant Management in 2010

blackboard

It's that time of year - the time for "the top" of the year lists.  I'm sitting on a plane, reflecting on the past year, and the six months since this blog started, and figured I'd contribute my own list, in the form of things I've learned and observed about online grant management this year.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Foundations are increasingly using online LOIs.  This is both an indication that more foundations are moving their grant application processes online, and, I think, a reflection of the current state of the economy and potentially the start of the implementation of some of the recommendations of Project Streamline.  To the first point, some foundations that have not yet moved their whole grant process online are still requesting online LOIs.  As indicated in an earlier blog post, I think this is a good trend for a number of reasons.  In terms of foundations that are still requesting multiple paper copies of applications, perhaps LOIs are a gateway to moving the whole process online;
  • Despite some progress, online grant applications - and reporting - continues to be a challenge for foundations.  The Technology Affinity Group's bi-annual survey of foundations indicated online grantmaking and donor services remain the top technology issue that foundations are unprepared to address. While more foundations indicated that they had adopted online systems (40% indicated that they had an online application, though not necessarily a complete online system), the majority of foundations still do not have online systems;
  • 2010 was a rough year for nonprofits.  That's not news at this point, but one of the things that really struck me in the State of Grantseeking 2010 survey that PhilanTech conducted with GrantStation was how many really small grants fund an average nonprofit (a “typical” nonprofit in the survey receives grants between $7,310 and $50,000, but 161 organizations – 20% - reported that they had received grants under $1,000).  Given the effort (time = money) involved in putting together a good grant proposal, then the effort (time again = money) involved in reviewing and approving a grant (not to mention monitoring the grant and evaluating impact), the inefficiency of many small grants is striking.  Small grants aren't likely to go away (and, in some cases, shouldn't), but the sector as a whole, as well as the individual foundations awarding those grants, has a responsibility to ensure that the cost of managing the grant doesn't outweigh the benefit to the grantee and its constituencies;
  • Foundations are gradually starting to share more information online.  Of the 77,000 foundations in the U.S., only 29% reported having a website or an annual report.  While that number has increased, the relative absence of online information, particularly given the ubiquity of the Internet, mobile devices, etc., creates an information barrier for grant seekers, and ultimately makes grant research more costly for those organizations.  This year saw some progress on that front, with more foundations publishing not only their guidelines on their websites, but also information about past grants, information about the issues they fund, resources for grandees and other organizations and people interested in those issues.  Some foundations have even embraced social media as a tool to further their missions and those of their grantees.  The Foundation Center's Glass Pockets initiative highlights some of these efforts and tracks the progress of the sector as a whole - and is itself a commendable step in increasing and embracing transparency in grantmaking.

What did you learn about online grant management in 2010?  What are your predictions for 2011?


Author: Dahna Goldstein
January 03, 2011, 04:19 PM

When You’re Ready for Online Grants, but Your Foundation Isn’t

I talk to a lot of foundation professionals who are interested in online grants management, but not quite ready to make the leap.  Why?  Their paper forms are working for them (or are at least sort of working for them), and while the individual I’m talking to may really understand the benefit – to the foundation and its grantees – of managing grants online, The Foundation isn’t ready to change the way it’s been doing things.

("The Foundation" could be some or all of your colleagues or your organization’s board members, or an organizational culture that isn’t accustomed to change.)

Does this sound familiar?  If so, here are a few things you can do to start the conversation inside your foundation:

  • Find out which of your colleagues is similarly excited about online grant applications and who might have some hesitations;
  • Talk to the folks who have hesitations to find out what they are:
    • Are they concerned about the foundation getting flooded with unqualified applications?  (If so, your foundation can add an eligibility quiz to its online application to filter out unqualified applicants)
    • Are they afraid they won’t know how to use an online system?  (If so, there are lots of ways for them to get support and learn how to use the system)
    • Do they think that the status quo is just fine?  (If so, you might consider sharing the Project Streamline report with them, or encouraging them to talk to other foundations and perhaps some of your grantees to understand how moving grants management online helps not only the foundation but your grantees as well);
  • Talk to the folks who are in your camp, and put a plan in place to recruit the resistors.  The process here can’t be aggressive lobbying – it has to be finding out who among your compatriots has a good relationship with the resistors, and creating an environment where the resistors can feel safe to talk about what’s holding them back.

What do you think?  What are some ways you have found to move the conversation forward at your foundation?  I’ll write another post soon with your ideas and a few more of my own.

two people meeting

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mydigitalslrcamera/3784049371/

Author: Dahna Goldstein
November 17, 2010, 06:36 PM

Online Grant Management – Right Sizing Grant Expectations

ruler

Earlier today, I heard a business executive talking about "right sizing" his company, euphemistically discussing layoffs, reductions in staff size.

Right sizing isn't necessarily about reductions - it's about making adjustments.

Right sizing grant expectations is one of the recommendations in the Project Streamline report, "Drowning in Paperwork."  It's easy to say to take that recommendation to mean that foundations should reduce their requirements, that they should make their applications shorter, their reporting less frequent and lengthy.

But that's not my interpretation (nor, I think, is it what the Project Streamline folks mean).  Foundations have an obligation to be good stewards of their endowments and the 5% that they grant.  They have an obligation to ensure that the organizations their grants fund are valid organizations that are aligned with donor intent.  Depending on the foundation and its mandate, it may have additional or more specific obligations.  And some degree of information must be collected from the grantee to facilitate meeting those obligations.

Here’s a guideline: before you include a requirement in a grant proposal or progress report, ask yourself four questions:

  • Do I need this information to make a good decision?
  • How will I use this information?
  • Can I get this information easily without asking the applicant/grantee to supply it for me?
  • How difficult/time consuming will it be for the application/grantee to prepare this information?  Does that seem like a reasonable use of their time, given the size of the grant (or the potential grant)?

(Ok, so that last one was two questions, but you get the idea.)

I wrote an earlier post about increasing use of LOIs, and I think it’s applicable here.  Short form applications (whether LOIs or a short proposal) are a great way to collect information from grantees without creating negative net grants.

In fact, PhilanTech research, conducted with the Urban Institute, suggests five essential categories of questions for reports, represented by the following questions:
  • What did you say you were going to do with our grant?
  • What did you actually do?
  • How did you spend our grant money?
  • What were your challenges?
  • What did you learn?
A short-form proposal wouldn’t look all that different:
  • What are you going to do with our grant?
  • What makes you the right organization to do it?
  • How will you know when you’ve done it?
  • How will you spend our grant money?
  • How will you share your results/experience/learning?
Every foundation will have its own variation on the questions above, and will likely require additional information, and that’s ok.  But please think of your grantees, your information needs, and answer the four (ok, five) questions above when putting together your requirements.

And grantees – you have a responsibility here too: know what is involved in managing a grant from your end.  How long does it take you to put together an application?  To monitor/report on your grant?  How likely are you to receive a particular grant?  In what amount?  Look at the total cost of managing a potential grant -- hours of staff time X hourly rate (based on that person’s salary) + opportunity cost of not being able to pursue a different grant or other activity with that time – and decide whether that grant is worth it to your organization.

Together, we can all work to continue to streamline grants management and get grant dollars to organizations that will use them well.



Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iliahi/408971482/

Author: Dahna Goldstein
October 28, 2010, 06:59 PM

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