Monday, March 9, 2015

Keep your grantors happy.

What do you think of this email?

"We recently got approved (from an LOI) to submit a grant to (a very well-known foundation).  When we got the application, it had all sorts of conditions. Like, we had to keep our cost per service day under $10.00 per person, we had to serve at least 300 people per year, we had to submit a monthly report and we couldn't use any of the money to advertise the service.
We can't begin to match those conditions, and we don't feel that $10.00 cost per service day is anything close to reasonable. But we desperately need the grant.  What would happen if we tried but didn't meet the conditions after we got the money?"

The answer to the person's question was right in the requirements…the money would have to be returned if the grantee failed to meet at least 90% of the requirements.

One of the hardest things for some nonprofits to understand is that the grantor wants to have control of how their money is spent.

Most NPO's understand that they will have to submit some sort of report when the grant ends, detailing what was done with the money. What they seem less prepared for are interim reporting requirements.

Admittedly, this foundation had some pretty stringent requirements, but the amount of money was substantial.

In many grantor/grantee relationships, the nonprofit is basically acting as a subcontractor for the grantor.
Remember, foundation grantors are nonprofits too.  They have a mission and a vision just like you do, and they want assurances that you can and will help them achieve that mission. The larger the grant, the more control the grantor may want to retain.

Not all grants are structured so tightly, but be sure that you are fully aware of the grantors' expectations before you submit the application.

Even if your grant doesn't require interim reporting, grantors may appreciate receiving some sort of communication letting them know how your program or project is going. And by all means, and even if it isn't requested send them a summary report and a thank-you message when the grant is done. It's human nature to want to be appreciated, and your courtesy could very well mean the chance to form an ongoing partnership with the grantor.  

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