The grant management process is a complicated one, and – without the right software – it can become even more difficult. Many smaller nonprofit organizations rely on the basic functionality of Excel to manage their grants; however, the spreadsheet-based system lacks the tools needed to properly manage the entire grant process. While it may be an inexpensive and manageable solution, the inefficiencies and data inaccuracies that results from using Excel can create more problems for organizations in the long run.
Grant management software for nonprofit organizations, however, provides organizations with the tools they needs to manage their grants effectively throughout the entire lifecycle, including the application process to financial reporting and compliance. Spreadsheets, while possessing some potential, simply do not measure up to the capabilities of grant management software. If your organization is still managing your grants in Excel, it’s time to consider moving on to a more sophisticated grant management solution. While you may think your current system is working “just fine”, your organization could be running a lot more smoothly if you’d invest in grant management software.
Take a look at the following indicators to discover if it’s time for your organization to move from spreadsheet-based systems to a more sophisticated grant management solution:
- Preparing worksheets and reports in Excel requires too much time and personnel. If your reports are taking longer than necessary to create, you need a better system and process. Your organization cannot afford to waste time or employee productivity – you need all the time and money you can get!
- Your managers and board members have difficulty answering basic grant-related questions. If your managers and board members cannot glean valuable information from your spreadsheets, it’s time to make the transition to grant management software. The software will provide adequate documentation and highlight noncompliant procedures before they become a major issue.
- Your grant funding is not being managed effectively. Are your grants being under-utilized or mishandled? This is generally the main reason many nonprofits invest in grant management software. A more centralized solution supports efficient tracking so all of your funding is accounted for and nothing goes to waste.
- Your grantors are not impressed with your spreadsheets. Some grantors require you to have the proper grant management procedures and software in place. If your organization is only managing grants via spreadsheets, you could put your organization at serious risk for losing funding.
- You need to track a multiple number of grants every year. While Excel is proficient in helping you track numbers and contacts, it is not an effective when it comes to managing multiple grants. In order to manage the whole grant lifecycle, you need a real-time, easily accessible software solution with automatic data updates.
- You lack transparency. Transparency is key to pleasing your grant providers. Grant management software allows you to track grants and updates, assign grants to key personnel, ensure that no two departments compete for the same funding, and follow reporting guidelines. If you are relying on spreadsheet-based systems, you have no way of tracking which reports have recently been submitted (particularly among numerous departments).
- You do not have a structured approval process in place. Grant management software will streamline and centralize the grant approval process. Primary account holders can approve or deny the pursuit of a grant directly within the system (something they are not able to do in Excel).
- The person who previously managed your grants left the organization. This one is self-explanatory. If your grant manager leaves the organization and you are still operating on spreadsheet-based processes, your organization is vulnerable to a decline in funding and loss of information. With grant management software, you don’t have to rely on one person’s knowledge. All of your information is stored in the system so you can continue managing your grants despite recent turnover.
When it comes to managing grants, nonprofits have a variety of methods and strategies. Using grant management software for nonprofit organizations, however, is the preferred method among grant providers and nonprofits alike. If you’d like to learn more about our grant management solutions, give us a call today at (503) 648-9051.