How Technology Helps Win and Manage Grants. Table of Contents

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1 Page 1 How Technology Helps Win and Manage Grants Most nonprofits rely to some extent, or wholly, on grants. These grants come from various and diverse sources but one thing they all have in common is that they require extensive staff time. From initially researching and applying for the grant, through administering it, to reporting accurately on how the funds were utilized, takes expertise, organization and time. How are organizations, already stretched thin from increased demand for services and the after effects of a global recession, to manage? Table of Contents Introduction... 2 Why grant management processes take too much time... 2 Improve productivity with the right software... 2 Win more funding by managing the grant pipeline... 3 Improve budget management... 4 Achieve greater collaboration... 4 Earn more grant renewals... 5 Top features of comprehensive grant management software... 6 Conclusion... 6

2 Page 2 INTRODUCTION For many grant-funded organizations, acquiring, managing, and reporting grants is a time consuming and inefficient, yet vital, part of their operations. And now grantees face increased competition to win grants and are striving to provide additional financial accountability and success measures to grantors. Fortunately, today s grant management technology enables you to automate processes so that you can efficiently and effectively apply for and win more grants, demonstrate performance to earn more grant renewals, and manage every stage of the grant life-cycle, from application to budgeting, reporting, and final close-out. Grant management technology also saves time, so you and your team can focus more energy on your organization s mission and less on paperwork. Why grant management processes take too much time In most nonprofits, organizational leaders and talented staff members spend too much time poring over spreadsheets in order to track grant applications and deadlines, create budgets, allocate funds and report on performance. Using spreadsheets to manage grants can be inefficient, error-prone and labor intensive. That s a lot of administrative time spent for each grant, and it is troubling for three reasons: First, a grant application process that takes nearly a full work week means that many organizations will lack sufficient time and staff to win enough grants. Second, if organizations are unable to focus on measuring success, reporting performance, and developing a good relationship with grantors, it diminishes the likelihood that existing grants will be renewed. Finally, time wasted in inefficient grant management processes actually diminishes the net worth of the grant, if it is received. Improve productivity with the right software What makes grant seeking so time consuming? Most grant-funded nonprofit organizations need more than one grant to operate. They have to interact with multiple grantors (federal, state and individual foundations), with each grantor having their own application guidelines, questions, and requirements. Grantors may award funds at different times of year. Nearly all grantors require financial and demographic reporting from organizations to demonstrate mission performance, but the way grantors wish to view that data may be different for each grant. Grant management technology can help organizations apply for grants, track and receive funds, budget, and report success measures in order to win more grants and receive grant renewals. Grant management software automates your grant application process, reminding you of critical due dates and managing key documents so you have easy access to important information. You can check your budget to ensure that existing grant funds are fully used, and forecast expenditures for remaining periods within a grant. With grant management software, you can enable your entire team to share a view of all activity related to a given grant to foster better collaboration. Everyone can

3 Page 3 understand the budget, expenditures and performance results related to a grant. Having the right software means you won t have to wait when you need answers, so you can act quickly and decisively on the issues that are important to your organization. Win more funding by managing the grant pipeline For grant-seeking organizations, it s useful to think of grant funding as a pipeline. You ve got to put the right amount of applications in one side of the pipeline in order to win grants that produce adequate funding on the other side. A steady flow is preferable and more reliable than a torrent of new funding followed by months of a dry, empty pipeline. To keep your organization well-funded, you need a steady supply of grants in each stage of the grant lifecycle application, distribution, and renewal. There are two key factors in winning grants: The ability to complete on-time, accurate, grant applications and to demonstrate past mission performance. Good grant management solutions support both functions. Apply for grants more easily As discussed, grant management technology can help keep you on track with application deadlines by alerting you to important dates. It can also help you see across the entire grant pipeline to ensure that you re applying for enough grants now to satisfy future funding needs. And grant management solutions make the application process itself much easier, by consolidating and storing all of the relevant information in one centralized database for easy access to grant information, program details, performance measurements and key contacts.

4 Page 4 Show grantors why your organization is most deserving Accuracy and accountability can give you the edge when the competition for a grant is steep. Accurate forecasting and measurement help you back up your proposal with hard data that shows grantors exactly what you can accomplish with the funds. By using technology to precisely track past budgets and results, you know exactly how much you will need in the future, and you can outbid other organizations that aren t able to show effectiveness on such a detailed level. By collecting data and reporting on success metrics, your organization can easily demonstrate its positive impact to grantors, individual donors and the public in general. If your organization is fortunate enough to win matching grants, you ll want to maximize the funding you receive for these programs. It s critical to identify, track and report on individual donations, with a solution that integrates good fund accounting and/or fundraising processes. Improve budget management To ensure your grant pipeline is flowing at maximum capacity with the highest level of efficiency, select a grant management solution that addresses the complete grant lifecycle. It should include integrated financial analysis and budgeting, contact management, collaboration tools, document management, success tracking, and performance reporting. Budget tracking is crucial to ensuring that your organization fully uses the grant funding received while observing restrictions. If you don t fully expend the funds, you face losing future funding; if you overspend, you must find additional funding to cover the overage. A grant management solution frees you from manual budget monitoring and helps keep your organization in a positive light from the point of view of your grantors. Useful grant management budgeting features include: Budget building tools by items or dollars for budgeting different types of grants, the ability to quickly create pro-forma budgets to include in grant applications, and integration with your financial accounting solution. When you choose a grant management solution that integrates with your accounting system, budget information related to individual grants can be incorporated into your overall organizational budgets and financial reports. Achieve greater collaboration With a grant management solution, your organization can enjoy greater transparency across programs as well as easier access to meaningful reporting. You can quickly check on how each program is performing against relevant grant objectives, or instantly review the actual expenditures versus the budget for each grant. Better reporting and analysis facilitates more informed executive decision-making. And when you can share this information across your organization, it is easier for members of your team to collaborate with each other and achieve mission success.

5 Page 5 Centralized storage of grant-related documents A good grant management solution should include electronic document management to help you organize and secure important grant records. There are many details and documents to track with every grant: applications and proposals, contact information, reporting periods, and indirect cost rate. Document management provides a centralized, electronic file-storage system in which you can store all documentation for each grant and quickly access and share the information whenever you need it. Easy and in-depth reporting Whether you need a report to share with your staff, your grantors, your board of directors, or even an outside auditor, having grant management software means the information you need is literally at your fingertips. Failing to follow grant-specific reporting requirements can jeopardize current grant funding or prevent your organization from earning a grant renewal. Multiple grants with unique reporting periods can confuse even the most competent, organized staff. Grant management software simplifies the procedures of reporting, enabling you to produce financial updates and reports on success measures quickly and easily, as well as track grant spending across multiple fiscal years. Look for a solution that offers out of the box reporting with built-in charting plus scoreboards that track your progress and successes. On-demand performance information It s easy to lose track of the big picture when you re working through the busy day-to-day tasks of delivering services. But to ensure that your programs are successful and to protect future funding, it is critical to be able to access a high-level view of performance and share it with other members of the team. If your grant management solution includes business intelligence tools, such as real-time dashboards, you can get a quick, graphical representation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) anytime. By keeping an eye on success metrics, your team can improve collaboration on projects and ensure that your organization is performing well enough to secure new grants as well as renewals. Earn more grant renewals To earn renewal of continuing grants, nonprofits must be able to collect and report on success measures. Financial success measures enable grant makers to determine where their funding provides the greatest impact. To increase the benefit of their contributions, grantors choose not to renew grants for organizations that cannot adequately demonstrate performance. Renewals are important because continuing grants allow your organization to build a lasting relationship with important grantors and to work in cooperation with grantors to build sustainable programs. When it s time to renew your grant, technology makes it easier to show how you used each dollar, and to project your performance in the next grant year.

6 Page 6 Organization and communication are vital to maintaining healthy relationships with grantors. Missed deadlines or unreturned calls don t encourage renewed funding. Grant management solutions help you maintain an open, responsive dialog with your grantors by providing your development department with contact information, success metrics, expenditure details, deadline alerts, and in-depth reporting. With effective grant management, no detail will be overlooked and neither will your organization when it s time for grant renewal decisions. Top features of comprehensive grant management software 1. Built in program success measures and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 2. Easy to use business intelligence tools with grant-specific reports for success measures, performance, and budgets 3. Streamlined project management that encourages greater collaboration 4. Organization-wide document sharing, including document tracking and version control 5. Advanced budgeting capabilities, including multiple budget templates, line-item budgeting, and pro-forma budgeting for grant applications 6. Workflow management to improve productivity and efficiency across the organization 7. Contact and communication management to build grantor relationships 8. Grant application tracking, including date tracking and reminders to help you manage your entire grant pipeline 9. Internal controls to ensure the highest levels of accountability and security 10. Seamless integration with Fund Accounting solutions providing up-to-the-minute program and grant balance tracking, indicators, and financial oversight. Conclusion If your organization relies heavily on grant funding, you need an automated system that addresses every stage of the grant lifecycle, from application to final reporting. Using spreadsheets is frustrating, time consuming, and prone to data entry errors or incomplete reports. Grant management software can help members of your organization apply for new grants, receive grant funds, budget, track and report on success measures, manage grant-related documents, develop lasting relationships with grantors, and earn grant renewals. By effectively managing the grant pipeline, a grant management solution can help ensure that your organization applies for enough grants to fund its mission and to provide a stable cash flow. It also enables executives to review organizational performance at-a-glance and make informed decisions about programs, grants, and future plans.

7 Page 7 ABOUT ABILA Abila serves strategic leaders and managers in dynamic nonprofit organizations, associations and government agencies with comprehensive membership management SaaS and software solutions. Organizations trust Abila to simplify and streamline accounting, donor and grant management and large scale fundraising processes so they can perform their best work and focus on delivering their unique mission. For Abila, it's personal and backed by a team with more than 50 years of experience dedicated to helping organizations achieve their vision. For more information, please visit

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