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Finding a cost-effective grant management system

The less you spend on administering your grants, the more you can allocate to your recipients.  We know how important value for money is to grant makers of all sizes – and we have seen again and again how the right grant management system can save funders time and money.

Cost-effective grant management is crucial for funders for several reasons.

Primarily, it ensures that the significant portion of funds allocated for grants is directed towards their intended beneficiaries, which maximises the impact of philanthropic efforts. Efficient management reduces administrative overhead, allowing more resources to be channelled into vital projects.

As a corollary, effective tracking and reporting of grant expenditures build trust with donors and the public. We know as much as you do that transparency and accountability are critical to any modern grant giver.

Perhaps most importantly, streamlined grant management processes save time and effort, enabling funders like you to focus on strategic planning and evaluating the outcomes of their grants.

The right grant management system for you will allow you to save costs across the whole funding cycle.

What questions should you be asking a potential supplier of a grant management system when seeing a cost-effective solution?

Obviously, we hope that you will come to us to have these conversations, but we want everyone to make fully informed decisions when they procure a new system.  You can ask us anything – even if you aren’t ready to think about changing your system yet.

  • Budget: Does the software fit within your budget? Are there any hidden fees, planned increases, or paid-for extras that you might need. While we’re not really trying to sell AIMS to you here, we pride ourselves on being upfront about our costs – we find that clients appreciate knowing what they will pay when we first start discussing their project.
  • User experience: The software should be intuitive and easy for staff to use. Training time and costs should be minimal, allowing for a smooth transition to the new system. A system that your staff don’t enjoy using will add hurdles on the way to efficiency and complete adoption.
  • Customisation: Look for software that can be tailored to meet the specific needs and workflows of your organisation. How much do you want to customise in-house, and what are the costs of your software provider making changes for you? Customisation options could include fields, templates, and reporting features. What is the balance of cost to customisation – would an off-the-shelf solution work for you with a few tweaks, or do you need something entirely bespoke?
  • Compliance and reporting: Verify that the software can handle compliance requirements specific to your industry or region. It should also facilitate efficient reporting to stakeholders and regulatory bodies. Look for software that offers robust analytics and reporting features to help you track the impact of your grants and make data-driven decisions.
  • Data security: Prioritise software with robust security features to protect sensitive grant information and donor data. Encryption, user access controls, and regular security updates are essential. We don’t need to explain to you the risks (and inherent costs) of data breaches.
  • Scalability: Choose a solution that can grow with your organisation. As your grant portfolio expands, the software should accommodate increased data volume and complexity. Grant management software that can meet your longer term needs will save you money and time in the future.
  • Support and training for your team: Assess the availability of customer support, training resources, and user communities. Responsive customer support can be crucial when issues arise. Are there hidden costs associated with on-going support?
  • Accessibility: Consider whether the software offers cloud-based or mobile accessibility, allowing users and applicants to work from various locations and devices.
  • Performance and speed:  How can the potential supplier demonstrate that the software performs efficiently, even as data volumes increase. Slow or lagging software can hinder productivity. What are their back up solutions and what will happen in the event of a system failure at any level?

A well-structured grant management system can do much more than simply streamline administrative tasks—it can also save a substantial amount of money.

One of the primary ways a good grant management system saves money is by making the application and review processes more efficient. These systems often provide online portals where grant seekers can submit their proposals and required documents. This not only reduces the time and effort spent on handling paper applications but also the risk of errors and lost documents. On the reviewing side, automated workflows can speed up the evaluation process, reducing the time and resources required for manual coordination.

With a robust grant management system, many administrative tasks can be automated. This includes tasks such as data entry, tracking deadlines, and sending reminders to applicants and reviewers. By automating routine tasks, organizations can significantly reduce the workload on their administrative staff, allowing them to focus on higher-value activities.

We know that you know that effective financial management is a critical aspect of grant administration. A good grant management system can help organisations track grant funds more accurately and generate detailed financial reports. This not only ensures compliance with grant requirements but also minimises the risk of financial errors and audit findings. By preventing financial discrepancies, organisations can avoid costly penalties and reputational damage.

Collaboration between grantors and grantees, as well as within grant review teams, is crucial for success. A grant management system often includes features that facilitate collaboration and communication. This can lead to fewer misunderstandings, quicker issue resolution, and a more streamlined grant management process, ultimately saving time and resources.

Properly monitoring and evaluating the progress and impact of grant-funded projects is essential. A good grant management system can help funders collect, analyse, and report on project data efficiently.

A well-designed grant management system can include built-in compliance checks and risk management tools. This proactive approach helps organisations identify and address potential issues before they become costly problems.

A good grant management system is an investment that pays dividends in the form of cost savings and improved grant administration. By increasing efficiency, reducing administrative workloads, enhancing financial tracking, and promoting collaboration and compliance, these systems can help you make the most of your grant funding. We have worked with funders of all sizes for decades – talk to us about how we can help you save money and give grants better.

AIMS grant management software supports the giving of thousands of grants each year.

Get in touch with our experts for a no strings chat to discuss your needs today.

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