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!
I hear the groans across the internet: Ringing in the New Year with Grant Reporting? UGH. But this grants enthusiast cannot imagine a better way to ring in the New Year! In 2022, let’s embrace a friendlier relationship with grant reporting and your funders.
Funders are not just using grant reporting to police the way you used grant funding. I mean, yes, we do look at how the money is used and see if it aligns with how you told us you would use it. Other than trying to avoid the mistakes reported in the Foundation Little Book of Horrors that give us chills down our spines, what do we really want to know? The purpose and impact of the project and your organization’s work. Your impact shows the impact our grant funding makes too!
Believe it or not, grant reporting is a way to create a stronger relationship with your funders, to teach us about what you learned and how it fits into the larger picture of your work, and how it helps those that you serve. You can leverage your reports by sharing this same information with potential donors or by including it in annual reports or in newsletters. Not to mention, it also can help increase your chances for future grant funding.
The Great Ball Drop
Let’s celebrate with what Dr. Phillips Charities (and most funders) look for in grant reports. We’re announcing it here (unfortunately not to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, though)! We focus on three main things – how things went, what you learned, and how will you apply that new knowledge to help the community in the future.
When we look at your report of the results and impact of funding, we tend to ask the following questions:
• Did you reach your quantifiable goals set in the proposal?
• Did the program reach the desired results? If not, give us an honest assessment of why the results weren’t reached, how you could/did solve issues, and what you will change for the future of the program?
• What was the project’s overall impact? Highlight some details, and maybe share a story about someone impacted by the program.
• If it’s too early to tell whether the program will ultimately be successful, talk about your intermediate findings and what positive changes have occurred.
• What are your lessons learned? What are the project’s major takeaways (including unexpected challenges or unexpected positive results)?
• If your project could benefit others in the nonprofit sector, what did you discover? Do you plan to share information with others? If so, how?
Turning to the financial report/grant budget tracking, be sure to answer the following:
• What are all the costs associated with the project? Include salaries, hourly paid wages, equipment purchases, travel expenses.
• How close does the project’s actual budget (both expenses and income) match the original grant budget proposal?
• If you needed to make major changes to the way you used grant funding, did you talk with us and reallocate with our prior consent?
• Do the dollars follow the narrative? If not, why not?
3,2,1… Happy Reporting!
The fireworks in this case take the form of a well-organized and compelling writing style. It’s not just for grant writing anymore! It brings the oohs and aahs to grant reports too (just like fireworks). Easy ways to add a little “boom, frizzle, frizzle” to your report:
• Use subheadings and bullet points to help organize information and to make large amounts of information easier to read and digest.
• When possible, use charts and/or graphs for results that can be numerically quantified.
• Include anecdotes or testimonials to bring the program to life and engage funders further.
• Include photos (when possible).
• Be brief – tell us the whole story, but do not write a novel.
• Meet your deadline! If your report might be late, call us, explain why and ask for an extension at least a few days in advance of the deadline. We’re really understanding… ahead of time.
Then use your reports to have conversations with us (and others) about where your organization is heading next, what we could collaborate about, and strengthen our relationship and positively impact on our community.
Here’s to great grant reporting in the New Year… and beyond!