Metrics for Grant-Seeking By: Kellie Brungard, GPC



As a grant professional, are you asked to identify performance measurements for your organization or clients? Evaluating the performance of a grant department or grant professional is a nuanced task. Yet data helps leadership and the board of directors quantify the year-to-year success and progress toward department goals. All too often, an organization will set unrealistic goals without adequate resources or available opportunities or set unreasonable expectations for the number of applications an individual needs to submit. Looking at a “success rate” can fail to consider the organization’s readiness, quality of program design, or ability to identify strong opportunities and stewardship. So, how can an organization effectively evaluate the performance of a grant department and set realistic goals? How can grant professionals articulate their skills and achievements to those who are data-minded?

Grant Professional Association’s GrantZone has over 70 discussion threads on grant metrics, from understanding if a new position’s expectations are realistic to helping directors identify accurate metrics for a team. This breadth of discussion speaks to the intricacies, frustrations, and desires of grant professionals around how organizations assess and measure performance.

Understanding the workload not captured in the data, the different types of work, and the considerations that go into each of the metrics can ensure the results are evaluated responsibly. Here are strategies to implement that will help organizations measure the right data:

  • Include grant professionals in the conversation of goal setting and dashboard development. This can help an organization set a realistic goal for grant funding to be raised, identify additional capacity that will be needed, and develop plans for stretch goals.
  • Determine how the data is to be used – do you need to track progress towards fundraising goals and individual capacity, or will it be used to evaluate individual performance? Having a universal understanding of what an organization hopes to gain from metrics creates purpose.
  • Develop metrics that incorporate different activities related to grants (e.g., stewardship, reporting, program design) that create a holistic view of the department’s work.

As previously mentioned, several sources exist to help a grants department establish performance and progress metrics. Measuring Up: A Review of Current Grant Professional Performance Metrics” in the Journal of the GPA (2018) that looks at performance evaluation for grant professionals, common measurements used, and recommendations for better metrics. Searching the GPA Grant Zone for “grant metrics” yields several discussions on realistic goal setting, developing a scorecard, and the use of ratios or success rates. The GPA annual salary survey includes benchmark data for grant professional workload, including the mean of proposals written by an individual (13 proposals), mean of clients consultants work with (26 clients), mean of applications partially (14%) and fully (72%) funded, and the average number of grant proposals managed (24 proposals) during a 12-month period. Below are suggestions of metrics that could be used to track performance or progress. Keep in mind that many of these can be used for grant departments or professionals; defining the purpose of the data will help determine what to track.

Grant Department Metrics

  • Number of new funder relationships established or number of funder interactions
  • Number of new projects/programs/initiatives implemented from a grant secured
  • Types of new populations served, new programs, or program expansion because of grant funding
  • Amount of increased giving from existing funders
  • Number of new funders engaged
  • Number of funders renewing/awarding for consecutive years
  • Number of lapsed funders who were reengaged
  • Number or percent of awards less than $10,000, over $25,000
  • Perceived effort of funder (to analyze the benefit of the dollars received versus the required effort to manage)
  • Number of programmatic reports submitted
  • Number of financial reports submitted
  • Number of desk reviews or site visits completed
  • # of grant-related financial deficiencies or findings
  • Percentage of funding expended

Grant Professional Metrics

  • Percentage of reports submitted on time
  • Average number of days ahead of deadline applications were submitted
  • Number of new prospect applications submitted
  • Number of hours spent on professional development
  • Number of employees trained in grant management and reporting practices
  • Progress toward granting professional certification or professional certification
  • Processes improved
  • Percentage of awards or dollar amount raised towards new programs/projects/strategic initiatives
  • Percentage of awards or dollar amount of increased giving from existing funders
  • Score of government proposals (if applicable)
  • Number of high-match prospects identified
  • Number and quality of partnerships or collaborations developed

With hundreds of years of collective experience working with clients, AGS has developed templates and resources to support a variety of situations we commonly encounter as grant professionals. AGS also offers several on-demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle.

If you are interested in grant services, training, or federal review services, or are interested in our career opportunities,  Julie Assel, CGMS, GPC, President/CEO, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you with a quote for grant services.

This blog post is aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills.

Competency #2: Knowledge of organizational development as it pertains to grant seeking

Skill 2.8: Identify best practices in grant seeking that match organization’s needs with potential funding opportunities

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