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A guide to effective post-grant management for funders.

At AIMS Software Ltd, we have facilitated the giving of hundreds of thousands of grants over several decades.  We have seen what works, and where funders struggle to measure impact and assess the success of their grant making programmes.  With this in mind, we thought we’d share our top tips for anyone seeking to hone their post-grant processes.

Post-grant management is a critical phase of the grantmaking process that ensures funds are used effectively and that desired outcomes are achieved.

Monitoring plan

Begin by establishing a comprehensive monitoring plan before awarding the grant. If you clearly outline what you will track and how, including financial reports, progress updates, and outcomes measurement, the data you receive is likely to be significantly more useful for your own reports.

Documentation is essential for accountability and transparency, so we recommend that funders require grantees to provide regular reports in writing, or other recorded forms of communication. Ensure you have a system to file all reports alongside the successful grant applications. We, obviously, believe you should have a robust grant management software programme like AIMS to help you streamline this process – for your ease, and for full transparency at all stages of grant making.

Communication

Encourage regular and open communication with grantees. You can create a supportive environment where they feel comfortable sharing progress – challenges as well as successes. This allows you to troubleshoot, as well as provide your expertise as part of the grant. Value from a funder isn’t always simply financial. You could offer capacity-building support if your grantee faces challenges in project implementation. This could include technical assistance, training, or access to additional resources.

One of the most important things we see in successful funders is a desire to be flexible and open to changes. If you can recognise that unforeseen challenges or opportunities may arise during the grant period, you are more likely achieve a meaningful grant making programme. Sometimes, you might need to adjust the grant terms or strategies to optimise impact.

Relatedly, we love to see funders acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and milestones reached by their grantees. We know that recognising the successes of those they fund is likely to motivate and build morale – and thereby increase impact for the funding organisation.

Financial oversight

Continuous monitoring financial reports and budgets, on an agreed schedule, allows funders to ensure that funds are being used as intended. When issues or challenges arise, address them promptly and collaboratively with the grantee. We see most that successful funders are proactive in finding solutions and offering support.

Outcome evaluation

Plan your evaluation processes before opening your grant programmes, allowing for bespoke evaluation if the projects you support require it. Evaluate the impact of the grant by assessing whether the intended outcomes have been achieved, and how they deliver against your key objectives.

Grant Closure

We strongly suggest that you build a smooth grant closure process into your systems. At the appropriate moment, review the final report and financial statements, and assess whether the grant has achieved its intended impact. We believe that feedback at this stage to the fundee has long term impact for them, but also for the funder.  Maintaining relationships beyond the grant period allows for longer term partnerships, which in turn can lead to more significant impact and collaborative opportunities.

Learning

You can use insights from the grant management process to inform your future grantmaking strategies – many funders choose to share their learning with peers and the broader philanthropic community. By continuously evaluating your own grantmaking processes and post-grant management practices, you are able to most effectively and efficiently make grants – saving money and time. We always recommend that funders seek feedback from grantees to identify areas for improvement.

Effective post-grant management is not just about financial oversight. It allows you to ensure that your investments make a lasting impact, to the fundees, their beneficiaries and to the wider community.

We have worked with funders of all sizes all over the world.

There are very few questions we haven’t yet had to consider. You can ask us anything.

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