Congratulations! You got the grant! It probably took you a long time to get here. The entire grants process—from writing the application to receiving the award—can take anywhere from six months to several years. But really, your work has just started. Now it’s time to do what you promised and manage the grant effectively.
In this post, we’ll cover what you need to do after you’ve gotten the grant, from thanking the right people to building a long-lasting relationship with grantors.
Step 1: Say Thank You
Start by saying thank you to the grantor. In the long run, the best way to say thank you is by following the reporting requirements, being easy to work with, and showing that the funds had an impact (more on that later). But start by making your grandmother proud by sending a formal thank-you message. (This message can be a letter, an email, a phone call, or all of the above.) Especially in our digital age, handwritten thank-you notes are more valuable than ever. So if you have the time, consider adding this extra-special touch.
While you’re saying thank you, be sure to celebrate all the people at your organization who helped you get the grant. This recognition and appreciation help keep them motivated so they’ll work just as hard on getting the next grant, and they’ll be motivated to work hard on the tasks to see this grant to completion.
Step 2: Shout It from the Rooftops
Share the good news with people inside and outside your organization. Tell your board members, staff, and supporters about the grant. Consider adding a Grants Received or Partners section to the Fundraising section of your website so people can easily find more information about the grants that you received. Of course, before you do any kind of publicity, be sure the grantor will be comfortable being publicly recognized.
Step 3: Review How You’ll Use the Funds
Set up a meeting with everyone at your organization who will be involved in the project or program funded by the grant. Include all departments—development, finance, and programs—that will be involved. The whole organization needs to do the work, manage the finances, and report back.
Ensure all key players are up-to-speed on the project’s goals, steps, and strategies so you can hit the ground running. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll have impact stories, data, and results to share with the grantor. Stress the importance of tracking outcomes and regular reporting for this project or program. Set your internal deadlines before your external deadlines, so you don’t miss reporting deadlines. If the funds you received from the grant are earmarked for a particular purpose or restricted in a specific way, be sure people understand how they can and cannot use the funds.
Step 4: Share Results with Grantors
Remember that grantors have needs and priorities, too. They need to show how the funds they give organizations make a meaningful impact. Make it easy for them to show and share this impact by supplying your grantors with the reporting they request in a timely fashion. If the grantors don’t ask for specific impact or outcomes, consider reaching out to them and offering stories, data, or other information about the work your organization is doing.
Many grantors are also subject to governmental regulations and guidelines that dictate the type of reporting information they will need. Be sure to follow all instructions and provide all requested information, no matter how major or minor. Before you submit it, have someone review the information for accuracy and to be sure it tells the story you want to share.
Step 5: Nurture the Relationship
Throughout this process, work to build a long-lasting relationship with the grantor. Keep the grantor in the loop about your program’s progress, as well as any obstacles you encounter along the way. If you are straightforward about problems as they begin to appear, grantors won’t get any unexpected surprises later on. Remember that the only way you’ll get a grant from this grantor again is if you’re straightforward and upfront about how you’re using their funding.
If you’re just joining us, check out my other posts in this Grant Seeking 101 series to help you on every step of your grants journey:
For even more personalized content and help on your grant-seeking journey, check out Blackbaud’s Organizational Best Practices workshop OBP: Fundraising—Grants. Then check out our upcoming Blackbaud University Day sessions on grants and grantmaking at bbcon 2019.