No matter the circumstances, a grant represents an incredible opportunity for your NPO. Grants can help you push your operations to unbelievable new heights, and you can use this opportunity to make a real difference in your community. That being said, it’s surprisingly easy to waste this opportunity if you’re not careful. Without some form of management to help you navigate this tricky process, it’s very difficult to take full advantage of everything a grant has to offer. Grant management helps you make the most of this prospect so that your NPO can provide even more to the community at large.
What Is Grant Management?
In many ways, grant management is exactly what it sounds like: the process of managing the requirements and overall use of a grant. However, that simple description doesn’t really do the phrase justice. In reality, grant management is a complex, time-consuming operation conducted by numerous specialists.
People are often confused about grant management because they don’t have a clear understanding of what a grant actually is. At face value, receiving a grant might seem like you’re simply being given money or services for free – but this just isn’t the case. Grants are structured like contracts; there are strict requirements and conditions that you must follow closely.
Entities that issue grants want to know how their money is being used, which makes sense when you think about it. After all, why would they simply issue you a blank check? These organizations need to prove their money is being used by reputable NPOs. Unfortunately, corruption is a major issue these days, and some disreputable NPOs funnel money back into the pockets of the board members. Effective grant management helps to eliminate the chance of this happening.
Grant management is more than simply following rules and showing entities how you’re spending your grant. This is your chance to show grantmakers that you can be trusted. By communicating in a clear manner and accurately reporting how you’re spending the grant money, you can increase your chances of receiving more grants in the future. If you mismanage your grant and you can’t communicate efficiently with your grantmaker, you will more than likely not be issued another grant.
Can I or My Employees Perform Our Grant Management Ourselves?
Virtually all grants require management of some kind, as one person simply cannot handle the workload involved with even the most basic grants. This becomes clear when you consider all of the different aspects of standard grant management. One senior leader typically directs the grant management budget, the hiring of staff, and the overall strategy. Human resources professionals may also be required to manage the team. In addition, a number of employees focus entirely on the financial aspect of the grant. Entire accounting firms or independent finance professionals assist in grant management.
Other possible employees include grant writers, grant coordinators, grant managers, and many others. With all that said, the exact requirements for grant management depend on the grant itself. For example, Google’s Ad Grant provides NPOs with $10,000 worth of Google Ads per month. Unless you have specialists who are specifically trained to use Google Ads, it’s very difficult to make the most of this opportunity.
Speaking of computer skills, modern grant management requires you to use advanced budget-tracking and reporting software. These programs help you communicate with your grant providers in an accurate, transparent manner. Software can also assist you with overall project management and the grant application process. Once again, you will likely need specialized team members who can help you implement and use these types of programs.
As you can see, grant management is not a one-person job. If you do try to do this all by yourself, you’ll soon find yourself in over your head. The time and effort you and your employees spend in attempting grant management will cost your NPO hundreds or even thousands of dollars in labor time and, at the end of the day, may not be done properly. To avoid wasting your grant, your time, and your money, it’s best to hire qualified individuals who can help you navigate this process. Whether you prefer to assemble your own team or enlist the services of a professional grant management company, you’ll find that this operation is much more feasible when you get the help you need.
Can I Get My Volunteers to Manage Our Grants?
As an NPO, you might already have an extensive team of hard-working volunteers who are ready to take on just about any task. You might be wondering whether you can simply instruct your volunteers to help with grant management instead of hiring professionals. While it’s true that volunteers are some of the most committed and driven individuals out there, they usually don’t have the necessary skills and experience to handle grant management.
Consider all of the various roles and responsibilities associated with grant management. Can you really expect an average volunteer to understand the intricacies of grant management? Sure, you might be able to train your volunteers to do this, but how long will that take? Are you going to put them all through accounting school? Will you teach them advanced aspects of human resources or computer skills? Who will train them if you don’t have a firm grasp on these concepts?
At the end of the day, it’s obvious that even volunteers need help sometimes. While these hard-working individuals can perform admirably in supplementary roles, grant management professionals are required to do the heavy lifting. And remember, they are after all volunteers. Even the most dedicated volunteers may have things come up in their lives which make volunteering not possible anymore.
What Happens if I Mismanage My Grants?
Despite everything you’ve read so far, you might have a voice inside your head that is saying something like: “Why don’t I just try to handle this without professional grant management? After all, what could go wrong?” Unfortunately, there’s a lot that can go wrong. At best, you could simply get frustrated and spend way too many hours doing relatively simple tasks. Worst case scenario? You lose your grant entirely.
Staying in compliance is one of the main reasons why professional grant management is so important. With one or two inexperienced individuals attempting to handle reporting and other requirements, it’s easy to get lost. Unfortunately, the penalties for mishandling these important steps go further than a simple headache. Failing to comply with grant requirements can result in fines, audits, and loss of funding.
You may also encounter significant roadblocks simply because you’re trying to juggle too many different pieces of the grant management puzzle. While a team of professionals can work together as a cohesive unit with each other and the grant provider, communication issues can arise if you’re trying to do this all on your own.
If you’re relying on volunteers, you might not have a clear idea of who’s responsible for each part of the grant management process. As mentioned before, failing to communicate with your grant provider in a professional manner can lead to significant issues as you try to secure more grant funding in the future.
Is Grant Management Worth the Money?
Have you ever heard the slogan, “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur”. Many NPOs are reluctant to take advantage of grant management because they’re wary about the costs. While it’s true that grant management isn’t free, you’ll find it’s not as expensive as you might think and is a worthwhile investment that actually pays for itself. NPOs with professionally managed grants are typically more profitable. This is because their grant providers are more likely to take them seriously, and as a result, they generally receive more funding in the future.
Grant management also expedites the entire process, which means you can apply for more grants and handle the workload of multiple grants at the same time. All of this saved time and increased funding quickly adds up. In addition, qualified specialists can help you with the specific requirements of your grant.
The aforementioned Google Ad Grant is an excellent example of this. By hiring professionals who actually understand the ins and outs of Google Ads, your NPO can take full advantage of this opportunity and spread your message like never before. Professionally implemented Google Ads can spark a surge in business for your NPO, and your grant management expenses will seem minimal in comparison. This is just one example of how grant management can easily pay for itself.
Why You Need Grant Management
When considering whether or not to take advantage of grant management, you should remind yourself why you got involved with NPOs in the first place. The aim of this entire process is to help people. That’s what is really important here. There’s no point in getting distracted with the time-consuming and stressful process of grant management when you have a community that needs your help.
Enlisting the help of qualified professionals saves you from spending too much time with administrative and technical tasks. When you delegate this process to those who have the necessary experience and skills, you can focus on what’s really important: the mission of your NPO.
Who Can Help Me With Grant Management?
There are many reputable services out there that can provide you with tons of help when it comes to grant management. One great example is Mission:More. Our company focuses entirely on the Google Ad Grant. We have a team of experienced specialists with the necessary technical skills to help you maximize this grant – essentially turning a small grant management budget into a huge $10,000 per month marketing budget! If you want to take your NPO to the next level, visit our website to find out how Mission:More can help your NPO obtain a $10,000 / month advertising grant and provide professional, and very affordable, Google Ad Grant management.