by Senior Accounting Manager, Emily Cook
You did it! After months of researching potential funders, endless hours of crafting grant proposals and several “no thank you’s,” you got a grant! So… now what? The following “Five R’s” will help you build lasting relationships with your funders and position your organization for continued success.
- Requirements: Prior to accepting grant funds, you must be confident you can meet the stipulations of the grant to avoid disappointing grantors who may ask you to return the rewarded funds. You must review the grant requirements as well as your original application to ensure you can still achieve the goals you outlined in your initial request. If programs have changed or been omitted, consider asking the grantor to reallocate their funds to a different program or offer you a chance to re-apply for a different program.
- Results: Your supporters are committed to your mission, and they are interested to know the impact of their contribution. In addition to a brief narrative describing the activities funded by the grant, create and monitor a system to quantify and track specific metrics of interest such as number of people served by a new facility, amount of scholarships awarded to students in need, the percentage increase in program outreach or the number of meals served. You can also project upcoming expectations and plant the seeds for future giving by demonstrating the trajectory of current programs or mission expansions.
- Responsible Spending: Grant funds are a result of significant effort from you and the donors. As such, it is pertinent to be prudent in spending these funds. Before writing a check or entering into a vendor contract, ensure you have performed your due diligence and researched options and prices. Furthermore, it is important to evaluate efficient solutions and collaborate with team members for additional ideas and resources. Remember to retain vendor communication, expense tracking, and purchase orders and invoices as supporting documentation.
- Reporting: Most funders have policies surrounding the percentage of budgets they will fund, potential attest requirements such as compilations, reviews or audits, as well as specific financial and programmatic information they are looking for. Financial statements are typically a must, but you should proactively communicate with your funders to ensure you are giving them the information they need to feel confident when investing in your organization. Ensure any required reporting is current and accurate, addresses specific reporting requests, and is submitted in a timely manner.
- Remember Lessons Learned: In order to gain the confidence of grantors, it is important not only to show what you have accomplished but also lessons learned that will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of future programs… Organizations who continually strive to improve will strategically position themselves for success. Grantors, often times, do not see growing pains as a negative strike but focus on how you use what you learned to contribute to future achievements. The ability to show growth from these mishaps demonstrates the desire to continually improve and createstrust in the eyes of your donors.
At Salmon, Sims, and Thomas, we are dedicated to our clients’ success and have over 25 years of non-profit experience. SST’s CK Team provides clients with the financial tools they need to further their mission by automating and streamlining financial systems, providing fractional CFO services, including grant reporting, and serving daily transactional needs. The attest team provides audits, reviews, agreed upon procedures and compilations and issues relevant, useful management recommendations to guide clients to success. Our tax department assists with tax planning and filing as well as consulting on non-profit organizational structures, protection of tax exempt status, and sales, franchise and unrelated business income tax. For more information on how we can become a part of your team and serve your financial and accounting needs, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214 274 3941.