Hi! I’m Kate Martin, the Grants Manager at Dr. Phillips Charities! Welcome to our blog “The Juicy Details”! We’ve started this blog with you in mind – and by you, I mean grant writers, nonprofit organizations seeking grant funding, or anyone who is curious about grant writing.
We’ll talk about good grant writing, share resources, and of course talk about what Dr. Phillips Charities wants to see when we receive Letters of Intent and Grant Proposals. Want to know the Juicy Details? Read below!
Opening the Present
Getting a grant is like opening a present at the Holidays. You’re all excited about tearing through the wrapping and seeing what you got, but the day after you realize –“Now I have to do something with it!”
Think of it like Aunt Sally giving you a new sweater. You told her you knew the perfect occasion to wear it. In her happiness, she asked you to take a picture while wearing it and send it to her, and you agreed. Your grant proposal was your promise to the funder to make some impact through your program, just like your promise to Aunt Sally. Now you need to follow through. While Aunt Sally might give you another present even if you don’t send her your picture, a grant funder is not as likely to provide another grant.
It’s always best to have your decorating done BEFORE the Holidays, but sometimes we wait until the last minute. Similarly, the easiest way is to have a program implementation plan in place before you are awarded a grant. That way you can just implement the plan, gather your data, and be ready to write the report when the time comes.
Making the Implementation Plan is like decorating for the holidays. You need to get everything out of the attic, unpack it, and organize everything by decoration type for each room in the house. Getting everything out of the attic is the first step. It, like the initial implementation and planning meeting, sets the tone for everything that will come next. Gather your team members together, set a foundation for good communication, and discuss scope and needs of the project and for grant reporting.
Unpack the Decorations
Unpacking the decorations (and even reminiscing over your favorites) is like creating and assigning individual tasks to build accountability into the plan. Responsibilities should be clearly defined as should the monthly spend for the project. You also need to outline what outcomes need to be measured and followed for success for the reporting process. Like untangling lights or making sure you have the matches ready for lighting candles, making it a policy to report to the grant coordinator monthly is important. This allows you to tell if the program is achieving its goals, showing where tweaks need to be made, or that you’re learning something unexpected during the program implementation. There’s nothing worse than realizing all those lights on the eaves of the house do not work after all the work is done.
Organize by Decoration Type
How do you want team members to report program and financial information to the grant coordinator? This time we’re looking at functional reporting and tying pieces of data together when giving them to the grant coordinator. For reporting purposes, program performance often is tied to budget expenditures, and data can show positive or negative progress in reaching program milestones. Both types of information need to be followed and sent in a format that can be used later. A good rule of thumb is to have information followed and submitted to the grant coordinator monthly.
That way, when it’s time to write your grant report, the grant writer/grant coordinator has all the information at his or her disposal to show grant program progress and outcomes, tie activities to your budget and how funds are spent, show any changes or tweaks that were made during the grant process to improve outcomes, and improve organizational transparency. It’s a perfect picture of grant impact! (AKA, that sweater from Aunt Sally!)
The Thank You Note
You also want to make sure you thank Aunt Sally too. Making sure your plan matches the Grant Agreement requirements is important, but so is returning the signed grant agreement. Every funder also likes a thank you, and for the news of the grant and program to be shared with the world – in your newsletter, in a press release… well before the reporting takes place. Just like Mom said, after the Holidays you need to sit down and write those thank you notes!
For other helpful advice about what to do post award visit: https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/npt_management_tips/3-steps-for-program-implementation/ and https://www.tgci.com/managing-your-grant
And other helpful tidbits from a different perspective: https://www.flagstaffbusinessnews.com/six-steps-successful-grant-implementation/
Thank you for a wonderful year. We look forward to what 2022 will bring. From All of us at Dr. Phillips Charities, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!