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If you’re reading this post, it means your organization’s application has earned a grant. Now, you and your team are either in the middle of implementing your project or coming to the end of your program and need to write a report. Grant reporting is one of the essential components of grant management. It allows grantors to see how you’ve used the funds and contains many details about your grant program, from the moment you receive the funds to closeout.
A well-written, high-quality grant report can secure a lasting relationship with your funder and even help pave the way for future or increased funding. On the other hand, a rushed report with little details or gratitude can create a barrier between your organization and your grantors. If you’re wondering how to write a grant report that is sure to impress for the end of your program or want to know how to prepare for writing one before reporting time, follow this guide for some best practices.
A grant report is a formal summary that organizations write to update funders and reflect on the original request’s goals, challenges, and outcomes. This report details how your agency used the funds and its impact on your program, project, or community. A grant report will also include budgeting details and any changes you or the funder may have made to the grant proposal.
Writing a grant report is a vital step in the grant process because it assures the funder your agency is using the funds as intended in the grant agreement. The grant report also allows your organization to highlight the role the grantmaking foundation played in your work.
Though some funders will have a list of guidelines for their grant reports, others may not. In this case, it can be daunting to try and figure out what to include in your report.
If your grant agreement does not include specific details about what information you need to provide, follow the guide below to learn how to write a grant report appropriately and effectively.
The first thing you should include in your report — or any correspondence with your funder — is a heartfelt message communicating your gratitude. Though this may seem like common sense, reminding your grantor how thankful you are can go a long way. Address your funder by name, whether they’re a staff member, officer or trustee of the foundation, and thank them for accepting your application and allowing your agency to embark on a new mission or project.
Even if you regularly communicate with your grant agency, it’s still crucial to reiterate your appreciation for the grant funds you’ve received. You can also express your hopes for a continued relationship in the future.
Next, you need to provide financial data for how your organization or agency used the money. Depending on the type of grant you receive, funders may give you direct cash for you to spend or provide you with funds on a reimbursement basis. Either way, it’s critical to record all receipts, proof-of-purchase documents and other accounting data you need to demonstrate compliance, such as technology, materials, staffing, utilities and other project expenses.
You might also need to include your organization’s financial data to comply with other legal grant reporting requirements. In addition to providing the actual costs, you should also describe each one, explaining how you chose to allocate these funds and how they contributed to the grant’s overall purpose.
In the grant activities section, you should include a brief narrative describing the activities you’ve implemented so far and how they fit into your broader program objectives. Grantors will want to see how your individual expenditures contributed to these activities.
To help write this section, you can use the details from your original grant application. Include any changes you’ve made since signing your grant agreement, such as if you leveraged volunteer resources to maximize your funds. Describe the process for how you accomplished any significant milestones in your program or project this far and highlight any organizations you’ve collaborated with and how they supported your project.
For this step, summarize the goals and aspirations you outlined in your original application request. This section will vary widely depending on the project you’re implementing and how far along you are in the process. Using your initial grant proposal, you can reflect on your fundamental objectives and discuss what you’ve learned, your assumptions, the changes you want to see and whether your program has met your expectations.
If you’re writing an end-of-project report, explain the results and outcome of these goals and their impact on your agency and community. Describe how the grant funding positively impacted your results and what you and your team have accomplished. Providing additional information in your report, such as demographic details or qualitative data, can demonstrate your organization regularly monitors your project progress.
You can include specific numbers that relate to your project, such as how many meals you provided, how many patients you’ve helped or how many clients you’ve served since the beginning of the program. This real-time data can help grantors see where and why their funds helped you make a difference in the community. You may also want to share participants’ quotes or stories of transformation that resulted directly from your agency’s project.
While grant reporting allows you to emphasize your success, it’s equally crucial to discuss where you expected to do better and how you came to a resolution. With any project, there will always be unexpected factors that can make meeting your proposed deadlines and objectives challenging. Throughout your grant program, keep a detailed list of obstacles you and your team have faced, including:
Though this can be a difficult section of the grant report to write, be open and honest with funders. Share your challenges and how you used creativity and resilience to overcome them. This information can be helpful for your grantor, who can advise other grantees who implement similar projects in the future.
Grantors want to know that the projects they’ve supported will remain successful and continue to make an impact even after closeout. In your report, share your project or program’s plans and how you intend to sustain them, such as earned income, fundraising or additional grants. Discuss the next phase or direction of your project and any preparations your organization has made to continue the impact and influence the funds from your grantor have made.
Now that you know the fundamental elements of a comprehensive report, let’s review some grant reporting best practices to consider when it’s time to communicate with your funder.
Grant report writing can be complex, especially if you’re in the middle of implementing your program and managing many other responsibilities. At IGX Solutions, we created the IntelliGrants platform to help organizations keep all their grant data in one place while adhering to grant reporting best practices and regulations. With this software, your team can effectively manage performance tracking, view complete data from a centralized point, and monitor status and critical deadlines throughout the entire grant life cycle.
Our IntelliGrants solution also enables organizations to use a wide range of configurable tools and scalable features, so you can maximize productivity and audit and report with confidence. Now that you’ve received your grant, don’t let reporting become an obstacle. To experience our industry-leading grant management reporting platform for yourself, book a demo with us today or contact us for more information.