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Accounting offices of grant-funded nonprofits are too often the last people to know when a new grant comes in, and the burden of managing grants is often so high the organization cannot apply for …

Accounting offices of grant-funded nonprofits are too often the last people to know when a new grant comes in, and the burden of managing grants is often so high the organization cannot apply for more. This presentation provides three ways the business office can drive the organization to additional funding.

This presentation was originally delivered as part of a web seminar. The notes provided on the slides serve as a synopsis of the discussion, but the presentation is designed to be delivered live. If you would like to arrange for me to give the presentation please reach out to me at

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  • 1. GET MORE GRANTS(Franklins and Jeffersons too!)
  • 2. AREYOUMAXEDOUT?There are some nonprofits who won’t apply for additional grantfunding because they can barely manage the ones they have. One moregrant would be the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back”.
  • 3. The #1 reason youlose your funding isinefficiencyNonprofits that lose funding do so because theaccounting department spends too much time tryingto manage the grant restrictions and reportingrequirements. Processes are handled manuallyoutside the system and not in a timely fashion.
  • 4. What should you doabout it?There are plenty of books and articles aboutapplying for grant funding, but very few aboutwhat to do once you have the grant in order tokeep it and possibly expand the dollarsreceived from that funder in the future.
  • 5. THREE WAYSTO BUILD GRANT FUNDINGTHAT LASTSThis presentation is designed to give nonprofitaccounting departments suggestions to elevatetheir role in the process and better managethe financial aspects of grant funding.
  • 6. 1LEADIt starts with a change in approach.Rather than wait for the contract toland on your desk, take the initiative tolead your grant writers anddevelopment staff from the beginning.
  • 7. Non-financestaff mightnot see thewhole pictureInternal managers and staff don’t always speak in numbers. So they don’talways understand how their actions affect the organization’s ability toadhere to the grant contract. If the accounting department can educatethe rest of the organization before the first dollar is spent, then the seedshave been sown to renew that funding and increase it in the future.
  • 8. Partner withgrant writersBut to really lead thecharge, accounting needsto partner directly withgrant writers. The budgetcannot be a surprise, andgrant writers need towork together withfinance when creatingbudgets. That way thegrant structure fits withinthe organization’sfinancial practices fromthe very beginning.
  • 9. CONVEYIMPACT2Even if everyone is on the same pageinternally, keeping your funding isn’tguaranteed. You have to set yourselfapart by demonstrating the value youadd to the funds you’ve received.
  • 10. Understand thevalue of each dollarFundamentally, this means knowing whereevery dollar goes and understanding the ROI tothe funder for each dollar you spend. This isn’treally the value of the dollar to you, it’s thevalue you add to every dollar you’re given.
  • 11. to tell the best storyBlend datafrom allsystemsThe best way to show the value you bring is tocombine data from your case management orother program management system with yourfinancial data. That way you can provide a “unitsdelivered per dollar given” ratio. Having this datawill set you apart when applying for new grants,and it will give your funders a better reason tocontinue to give you money in the future.
  • 12. OVERcommunicate!Even the best data on the impact you have won’tdo any good if you don’t tell anyone about it. Notonly should you over-communicate with funders,but you should also stress communicationinternally and even with the general public.
  • 13. BE ACCOUNTABLE3This is the be-all and end-all of raising more money. You must prove you are doing what you saidyou could do when you applied for the grant. Put simply, stewardship is doing your job well.Accountability is being able to prove it.
  • 14. Know yourfundersinsideandoutIn order to demonstrate yourcommitment to accountability, youneed to understand the rules eachfunder has put in place. Betweenspending restrictions, reportingrequirements, and indirect costrecovery, each funder is different.You need a way to easilyunderstand those differences andcomply with them withoutincreasing your administrativeburden.
  • 15. Follow their formatThe easiest way to lose funding is to be out of compliance with grant requirements. And this iseither a timing issue or a capability issue. It can be hard to mold your existing structure into thefunder’s reporting requirements, but it’s an absolute must in order to demonstrate yourcommitment to the funder. But it can’t take all of your available hours or require you to addheadcount just to do it or you’ve unnecessarily burdened your funders and your organization.
  • 16. othersaccountableHoldAccounting alone cannot hold the fullresponsibility for compliance. The entireorganization must be accountable to thefunder. This is where leading the processcomes full circle. You can’t hold othersaccountable if you don’t set theexpectations on the front end. And ittakes an organizational commitment totruly be accountable to your funders fordelivering your results.
  • 18. LEAD1First, you need to be at the table even before thegrant has been awarded. You need to help yourgrant writers understand the impact of the budgetsthey are creating – both on the organization andon the likelihood you’ll be awarded the grant!
  • 19. LEADCONVEY IMPACT12In order to truly differentiate yourself from the sea ofapplicants, you need to be better at describing thevalue your organization adds on top of the dollars.Define exactly why a funder should give you theirmoney by combining data from various systems. Thiswill also focus your internal efforts around a specificKPI that will allow you to get more grants.
  • 20. LEADCONVEY IMPACTBE ACCOUNTABLE123And of course, if you can’t prove you did what you said you were going to do, specific to the waythe funder needs to see it, you can’t expect the funder to renew. Just like the neighbor whoreturns your tools in better shape than when you lent them, you need to prove you treated thefunder’s money like your own.
  • 21. WHATQUESTIONSDOYOU HAVE?Contact me with any questions or comments!Jeff SobersSenior Product Marketing ManagerBlackbaud, Inc.jeffrey.sobers@blackbaud.comTwitter: @jeffsobersSlideshare: jsobers1