We know that managing grants can be confusing, and we’re here to help.
When you don’t have an effective strategy in place to manage and store your grant data and documents, it is easy to make mistakes. Mistakes can put your program objectives at risk, harm your relationship with funders, and potentially prevent you from getting funding in the future. In some cases, they can result in having to pay back the award.
To help you avoid mistakes, we want to give you 3 tips that will help you manage your grants effectively, report efficiently, and perform well in the Single Audit so you can keep winning more funding in the future.
1. Create Processes
Never underestimate the importance of creating standard processes when you’re managing grants.
Establishing standard processes:
- Gives insight into your program’s financials.
- Helps you stick to the project timeline.
- Puts you in a better position for the Single Audit.
Uniform Grant Guidance (UGG) requires you to report on your financial progress (i.e., your "performance") to your funder at least once a year, but you don't have to wait until the end of the year to run these reports.
By creating a standard process to run reports for yourself once a quarter, or even once a month - you can fix inconsistencies between your budget and expenses before they get out of hand.
Here is an example of a simple standardized monthly reporting process:
- Run a budget status report at the end of every month.
- Review budget discrepancies and correct/resolve them as necessary. - Discrepancies shouldn’t occur if the grant is budgeted correctly and is being spent appropriately.
- Review expenditures and double check that the expenses are allowable.
- Establish a sign-off procedure with another team member to ensure these activities have been performed and double checked.
Standardized processes like this help you catch problems early, fix them faster, and ensure you have the records and receipts you need before closeout.
If you have a grants management system like AmpliFund, you can run reports anytime you want with just a few clicks and automate your standard workflows. If you don't have a grants management system, you will have to manually collect all this data, make sure you're documenting everything correctly, and ensuring the right people are signing off on every step.
2. Set Reminders
Between application deadlines, reporting deadlines, and day-to-day tasks, it can feel like there are just too many dates to remember. Keeping track of deadlines is something that trips up even the most seasoned grants professionals, but managing it effectively is essential.
Missing application deadlines means you don’t receive critical funding, and missing reporting deadlines can put you at risk of noncompliance.
Automated reminders help you stay on top of deadlines and tasks in addition to helping you plan effectively.
AmpliFund has a Calendar that automatically imports your tasks and deadlines, gives you and your team visibility into what is due and when, and sends you email reminders to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
You can still keep track of deadlines by setting task/deadline reminders with your digital calendar if you don't have a grants management system, but you will have to do a lot more work to import the individual tasks and make sure you’re communicating everything to your stakeholders so they can keep track too.
3. Centralize Everything
Does the thought of sorting through hundreds of paper records and receipts at the end of the year fill you with dread?
When you are managing an award without a grants management system, the paper copies of all your receipts, records, and internal communications can overwhelm you, and your space, quickly. It becomes even more challenging when you're trying to cross-reference everything saved on paper with the data you have recorded in spreadsheets.
If all your grant data isn’t centralized in one system, it can result in a lot of headaches and anxiety. Even more, it can end in a failure to drawdown, noncompliance, and can even get in the way of winning future funding.
Grant management software can help you centralize all your data, documents, and internal communications in one digital place, so you have access to everything you need whenever you need it.
With AmpliFund you can pull any type of data from the system into reports to monitor progress, communications, and documentation in a matter of minutes because it’s all stored in the same place. You can even create custom reports to track information for your specific needs.
As a bonus, centralizing your grant data in AmpliFund streamlines audits later down the road and shows funders that you have the program infrastructure in place to manage more funding in the future.
Learn more about the benefits of centralizing all your grant-related information in AmpliFund in our “Grant Management Centralization Guide.”
*Photo by Stefan Dahl from Canva.