Grant Reporting

Are you laboring too much over grants? Grants are great to have, and they’re often crucial to an organization’s mission, but there are only so many hours in the day to apply for and manage those grants. Grant professionals are susceptible to burn out from the heavy responsibility and high-pressure, deadline-driven work, which continues day in and day out in our profession. Grant applications and management can even get in the way of your organization’s mission. I was recently on a call with a client who was looking for help managing their grant portfolio. When I asked why they were seeking support, the client shared a striking comment: “We are so busy trying to get the money that we struggle to actually carry out the work.” I understood completely because I’ve seen this state of affairs before.

You want me to write about what? How can I write about progress when the right data wasn’t collected to measure progress? Grant professionals are frequently faced with the reality of gaps in data in pre-award, and post-award. We are asked to respond to sections which require a discussion of national, regional, and local data to justify need; as well as sections requesting data-supported rationale for the proposed intervention, and finally a proposed series of measurable objectives indicated by an improvement over baseline. Sometimes there is something to work with. Oftentimes we are asked to work magic!

Do you remember the first time you wrote a report for a funder and had to explain away an undesirable outcome (or more)? I do. Picture it: coffee on drip. Report questions pulled, outcomes and program-related questions sent to program staff. Me, a rookie grant professional at the time, ready to tackle the report…or so I thought. And then I got the email: one of the program’s stated outcomes fell significantly short of the goal. As in, the targeted outcome was 80%, but the actual outcome was 40%. *Insert appropriate amounts of rookie-level panic here, then breathe.*

Braided funding, supplanting, and leveraged funds are important concepts to understand for the purposes of effective grant planning (pre-award) and for successful grant management (post-award). Put simply, braided funding refers to the concept of using multiple funding streams to support the expenses of an organization, program, or project. Having more than one funding stream helps to minimize risk should one funding stream dry up. In addition, having one or more confirmed revenue source helps build confidence among other potential funders.

  Successful Grant Reporting What about when you’re left without a format!? Grant writers tend to be rule followers. We crave structure and details. We’re all about formats, deadlines, and word counts (well sometimes). But what should you do when a funder wants a report but doesn’t provide...