Consider the SMART goals framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) when applying for an award. Make strong connections back to this goal throughout your proposal.
If possible, let data tell your story. Grantmaking is moving toward results-based funding distribution. Clearly align grant funds with program objectives, then collect ample data to be used in your next application.
Instead of using disparate systems, consolidate your information on one system to keep everyone from your team on the same page. So rather than relying on dry erase boards, sticky notes, and Excel spreadsheets, consider investing in one simple portal for grant management and reporting that your employees can access from any device, from any location.
One university even noted that by switching to a cloud-based, centralized solution they were able to decrease their internal review time by nearly 60 percent.
Transparency leads to accuracy. When the grant management process is more transparent, there is more oversight and, in turn, less mismanagement.
As Michael Wood, former Executive Director of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, stated, most of maintaining accurate reports is making sure your books and accounts are in order.
Therefore, maintaining proper progress reports is all about having a strong understanding of your reporting standards and building your record-keeping processes around those.
More than many industries, higher education grants are based on performance, that’s why accurate reports are so important. Choose a tool or software that lets you track goals and objectives and subsequently present the information in a meaningful way to your stakeholders. For instance, one university needed to better report on budget to actuals, and the adoption of a purpose-built tool allowed them to do just that.
Also, learn how to create clear visuals of where your grant money is being spent and how you are meeting your programmatic goals.
To lay the groundwork for future awarded funds and compliance with federal grants, colleges and universities should focus on future-proofing their grant management. This includes a standardized grant management process centered on consistent data elements. See below for specific strategies to win awards, maximize fund drawdown, ensure compliance and simplify reporting.