You just won a grant! Now what?
Congratulations! You just received the amazing news that a funder is awarding you the grant you worked so hard to win. This is an exciting time, with plenty of reason to celebrate. However, don't let the celebration distract you from the very important steps you need to take to manage the grant — and the relationship with your new funder.
We know that there's a lot to unpack when it comes to receiving a grant, so our experts have compiled a master checklist that every grant awardee should follow. Following these steps will keep you organized so you and your team don't miss any deadlines or overlook requirements associated with your grant. Keep reading to learn more.
Send the funder a formal acknowledgment letter
The first item on your to-do list is to send your funder a formal acknowledgment letter. This letter is not only important for practical purposes (letting them know you actually received their gift) but it's also a chance for you to express your thankfulness and demonstrate how proactive you will be to communicate with the funder moving forward. For formal acknowledgment letters, it's best to skip the email and send a physical letter written on your organization's letterhead.
Properly save the award letter and any other important documents
We know that inboxes can become cluttered quickly. That's why we recommend saving the award letter and any other important documents you receive immediately in a designated folder. Doing so will prevent a frantic search later on as you strive to submit reports on time.
Inform your team
Make sure you notify members of your executive team, program staff, and finance department of your grant award. Members from each of these groups have a stake in how the grant is handled — whether they have fostered the relationship with the funder, will manage the program that the grant supports, or will be responsible for creating reports down the line. When sharing information about the grant, it's a good idea to include any important deadlines pertinent to these groups so they can plan ahead. Don't dive into too many details just yet though. Giving your team a general timeline is a good first step.
Add important dates to your personal calendar
If you are the grant manager, it's a good idea for you to add any and all important dates to your personal calendar. This not only includes reporting requirements and deadlines but can also include important milestones and other significant dates associated with the grant. Having these dates on your personal calendar will also help you stay organized to remind various departments of any upcoming deadlines they may have.
Send a personal thank you to your funder
Either someone at your organization already has a personal connection with someone at the foundation or now is the time to forge one!. It's incredibly important to send this contact a personal "thank you." Unlike the formal acknowledgment letter, this can be a more casual communication, such as a phone call (which is preferred) or an email. Don't miss this valuable opportunity to bolster your relationship with a funder who has demonstrated their willingness to support your organization.
Meet with the program staff
It's a good idea to schedule a quick meeting with the program staff associated with the grant within a few weeks of receiving the award. Use this meeting to provide a quick overview of all grant requirements, budgets, and reporting methods so everyone is on the same page as the program moves forward. You may also want to invite specific members of your executive or finance teams to this meeting if you feel they will benefit from a more in-depth look at the timeline you sent earlier in the month. While this first meeting serves as a good kickoff, don't forget to send your team members reminders when deadlines are approaching.
File all necessary paperwork
Finally, if your funder requires any preliminary reports or other paperwork, make sure you submit those documents on time. This includes cashing the reward check once it arrives. The first deliverables you provide will set an impression for how your organization will manage the grant moving forward, so make sure it's a good one!
Give yourself a pat on the back — you are officially a grant winner! We hope that this checklist serves as a valuable resource to you as you begin to put your hard-earned grant dollars to work.
Interested in winning more grants? Contact our team today to learn more about how our experts can help your organization optimize its grants strategy.