You're Awarded the Federal Grant, Now What?
Congratulations! You've gotten the federal grant you worked so hard to apply for. What are the next steps you should take to ensure you are successful in carrying out the grant requirements? Will your organization have a positive experience as a federal grantee?
After you have received the confirmation letter from the federal agency who
awarded you the grant, these are some steps to take to assure your
organization gets off to a good start:
- Publicize it - The federal government likes good publicity. The first ones you will want to tell include your staff and Board of Directors. It can be an exciting morale booster for an agency when they receive federal funding. Be sure you celebrate the federal award in noticeable ways within your agency, recognizing those who worked so hard to write the successful grant. A press release to your local newspaper can magnify your image within the community, as the general public often equates federal funding with strength and stability.
- Send a thank you letter - Not enough grantees remember to thank the funder for granting them a monetary award. Nonprofit agencies spend so much time and energy looking for grants, researching the facts, writing the grant and waiting for the decision, when a positive decision is finally received they forget to say a simple thank you. The bottom line is the federal bureaucrats who granted you the award love to be thanked and want to feel a connection with the people you serve. The funding agency will remember you if you send them a unique thank you - original artwork by children that your agency serves, or perhaps a thank you card signed by the residents in your women's shelter. It could make a difference the next time you apply for a grant with them.
- Organize yourself - When you receive the grant award letter, it will give you a date on which the federal funding period will begin. This date is usually 30 days or more. Use this interim period to organize yourself.
- Set aside a folder, binder or desk drawer specifically for paperwork related to this grant. You will be receiving more paperwork than you anticipated during the life of the grant; have a place set aside where you can put it so it does not get mixed up with your other paperwork. If you get a phone call from the grants officer in charge of your grant, you want to be able to impress him and put your hands on relevant documents right away.
- Have a meeting with your assistant or management team and go over the grant application you submitted, what you said you would do, and what needs to be done when you receive the money. Don't wait until you receive the money to begin thinking about it. If there are staff positions to be added, begin the recruitment process for them now. Do as much preliminary work ahead of time as you can. Delegate responsibilities and get the ball rolling.
- Ensure you have a recordkeeping system in place to track the numbers you are serving with the federal grant. This is important as the federal agency will want to know how many new lives have been improved with the money they are giving you. Set up a system to count the new people you are serving as a result of the grant money awarded to your organization.