If you were successful in winning a grant, take a moment to celebrate! After all your efforts, it is a great feeling knowing your hard work has paid off now! Haven’t found a grant yet? Start your search at GrantWatch.com, the leading grant listing directory!
But, what happens next?
The grantmaker’s guidelines typically indicate the funding distribution schedule. Since each funding source is different, the time from your notification about your win to receiving the actual grant funds will vary. In the meantime, here are 10 tips to help you prepare for the steps following your win!
1. Celebrate your win
First, congratulate your team and everyone who pitched in to help write your winning grant proposal. Secondly, thank the funding source for giving your organization the opportunity and resources. And finally, share your news on social media platforms so your supporters can celebrate your win with you.
2. Open a separate bank account
Usually, when you win a grant this is a common prerequisite. However, if it is not, we strongly advise it. Having a second bank account helps to keep the grant money separate from any other funding you might have and will avoid accounting complications.
3. Confirm all the details
Before accepting the grant money, you want to confirm the details of the agreement and get your team in order. For instance, double-check contact details and banking information. You also want to have dedicated folders ready for reports and deliverables. Additionally, assign clear roles for each team member, such as who will be responsible for audits, reports, updates, etc.
4. Audits, reports, and progress
To help manage the grant funding, most grantors will provide you with a list of what they need from you moving forward. This list will include allowable/unallowable expenses and your reporting timelines. Furthermore, you will be expected to provide audited financial reports and programmatic reports. You will also have to give updates in presentations and hold project control board meetings to show that things are on track and you are spending money responsibly and in the way that it was intended.
5. Everything must be approved in writing
There are strict guidelines on what you can and cannot spend your awarded money on after winning a grant. Consequently, if you spend funds on something without the approval of the funding source, you may have to return the grant. Submit all questions regarding allowable expenses to the funding source first. This is better than receiving a penalty for misrepresentation.
6. Keep a hard copy and an electronic copy of all reports and records
Record all reports, receipts, obligations, and expenditures and store them in both hard copy and digital formats. The funding source can ask for proof of your expenses and request receipts at any time. Any misrepresentation through delinquent and insufficient reporting may result in site visits, audits, and possibly jail time, if fraudulent.
7. Meet the deadlines the funding source sets
Keep on track with milestone deliverables for the entire duration of the grant. The key deliverable dates (reports, meetings, payments, etc) must be strictly adhered to, so make sure they are NEVER overdue. Usually, there is a process you have to take if a project falls behind the agreed timeline. Failure to abide by the stipulations set forth by the funding source can result in severe consequences, including the possibility of being banned by the funding source.
8. Build a positive relationship
Aim to be accommodating, flexible, and consistent in your dealings with the funding source. This will definitely set you on the right path from the get-go. For example, you could experience unexpected circumstances which may lead to a need for more grant modifications or grant extensions. By having a positive relationship with the funding source, you may receive more flexibility.
9. Achieve, achieve, achieve
Hit every milestone effortlessly and show you and your team are capable and know your craft. If you can demonstrate high-quality execution in a timely manner, then additional grants will follow!
10. Review your results
At the end of the term of the contract, you will need to return any unused grant money to the funding source. You should always review the data and determine the results of your program or project. Use that information to analyze areas of strength and weakness and determine where more or less funding is required.
To summarize, once you win a grant, these 10 tips can help:
- Take a moment to celebrate your win and thank others involved.
- Open a separate bank account to help you manage the grant funds.
- Confirm all the details and make sure your team is ready before accepting the funds.
- Adhere to the guidelines outlined by the funding source.
- Ensure purchases are approved by the funding source.
- Keep a hard copy and an electronic copy of all reports and records.
- Submit your reports, statements, and invoices on time.
- Build a relationship with the grantmaker to encourage future funding.
- Hit every milestone and execute your goals.
- Review your results.
Securing a grant is only half the work. Once you win a grant, you are expected to record and report every cent that is moved. Remember to get organized! It will make a world of difference.
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