5 Best Practices for Managing the Complete Grants Lifecycle
By: Emily Nelson | March 7, 2023
ARTICLE — Do you have a system in place to manage the lifecycle of your grants?
For most non-profit organizations, managing grants is a vital part of operations. Grants must be researched and then applied for; once a grant is received, it must be set up within the organization’s system, and the money must be allocated and tracked. Finally, the grant and any remaining transactions must be closed out at the end of the process. Organization and clarity are vital throughout this process to ensure that your organization complies with donor guidelines and makes the best use of its time.
However, many non-profit organizations attempt to manage these grant lifecycles without proper tools and processes. Their management system may involve a series of spreadsheets, scattered across various people’s computers (or worse: printed papers spread across their desks). This process leads to a lack of transparency and clarity, which results in costly mistakes. And constantly looking for information from a handful of different sources, without knowing which source is the absolute truth, leads to wasted time and inefficiency.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There are new automated tools and processes that can improve your organization’s grants management. Read on for five best practices for managing the complete grants lifecycle.
- Implement an automated internal workflow for approvals. Once a grant or fund has been identified as a potential match for your organization, a proposal, or letter of inquiry must be created. These proposals typically must be approved by multiple members of your organization, which can involve many back-and-forth emails and wasted time. Improve this step of the grant management lifecycle by creating an automated internal workflow to expedite the process.
- Keep all grant documents in the cloud. Important grant-related documents, such as terms and conditions, all too often reside on just one person’s computer. Siloed documents are not available to everyone, potentially causing compliance problems due to a lack of awareness. Avoid this problem by storing all documents in the cloud, using a grants management application that all members of your organization can access. Not only will everyone have access, but you can be confident that everyone is accessing the most correct and up-to-date versions of essential documents.
- Standardize how all grants appear in your system. Tracking grants manually—for instance, using spreadsheets—creates several problems: it’s challenging to ensure the presentation of the data is standardized across various grants, and when that data needs to be analyzed, used, or presented, you can waste time deciphering the data and reaching out to others for explanations. Instead, use a system with a user interface that provides consistency in how the data and data tracking is presented. This process increases the ease of use and the speed required to analyze the data.
- Establish a close-out process. The close-out process is one of the most critical stages of the grants management lifecycle. You need to verify that all supplier payments, grantee payments, and cost reimbursements are complete; you must validate that all grant-related POs are closed or billed, and you have to track the closure of any sub-awards. Simplify this process by establishing a structured close-out process for your grants and building it into your automated system. This process ensures that all expenses are approved and distributed before the grant is closed.
- Implement 360° visibility of grants between incoming revenue and outbound payments. Transparent reporting is accomplished in modern cloud platforms and provides real-time access to information. All data is current and available 24/7 on any device, allowing complete visibility for the best decisions.
When a non-profit organization combines the PyanGo automated grant management solution with the NetSuite ERP – the world’s #1 ERP – it can achieve solid visibility across the grant lifecycle.
If you’re interested in implementing a grants management solution that provides all this functionality and more, consider PyanGo’s Automated Grants Management application.
It integrates seamlessly with NetSuite ERP to provide a grants management solution that saves time, reduces errors, and is easy to use.
Click here to schedule an online product demonstration.