Are you a grant recipient who’s been asked to submit a report? Wondering what’s expected and how to go about it?
This post will walk you through the basics of successful grant reporting. We include tips, best practices, and a grant reporting template to make the process less intimidating, so you can focus on delivering great results for your cause.
What Is Grant Reporting?
A grant report is a document that tells the funder how you used their money and what outcomes resulted from their investment. Grant reporting is also sometimes called “progress reporting.”
As a grant recipient, you likely had to submit a detailed proposal outlining your project plan and budget in order to receive funding. The grant report is your chance to show what you’ve accomplished with the funder’s money and whether or not you met your milestones. This is also an opportunity to share lessons learned and make a case for continued funding.
Some nonprofit CRMs include capabilities for grant management, so you can track all of your grants, how much was given, requirements, and deadlines for submitting your grant reports, so you never miss a deadline.
Why Do You Need to Write a Grant Report?
There are a few reasons why grant reporting is important:
- Grant reporting holds you accountable. The funder wants to see what you accomplished with their money and will likely ask for a report before they give you more money.
- Grant reporting helps the funder understand the impact of their investment. Your report will help the funder understand how their money is being used and what difference it’s making. This allows them to make informed decisions about where to invest their resources in the future.
- Grant reporting helps you tell your organization’s story. A well-written report can be a powerful marketing tool, helping you share your organization’s successes with potential donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders.
What Should You Include in Your Grant Report?
Every funder has different grant reporting requirements, so be sure to read the guidelines carefully before you start writing. With that said, there are some elements that are typically included in a grant report:
- An overview of the project or program funded by the grant: Include a summary of what you set out to do, how you did it, and what the results were.
- A description of how the project or program aligns with the funder’s mission: Most funders have specific guidelines about the types of projects they will fund. In your report, make sure to highlight how your project or program meets the funder’s goals.
- An explanation of how you met (or didn’t meet) the project’s goals and objectives: This is where you get into the details of what worked and what didn’t. Be honest about both the successes and challenges of your project, and include stats on key metrics to prove it. This is easy to do if you have a nonprofit CRM with strong outcome-based reporting.
- A discussion of what was learned: Share any lessons learned during the course of your project. These could be lessons about what worked well or lessons about what didn’t work so well.
- Financial information: Include a financial report that details how the grant money was spent. This should include both income and expenses.
- Information about the people served by the project: Many funders are interested in the demographics of the people you serve, such as age, gender, income level, race, etc.
- Recommendations for the future: Based on what you learned from your project, what recommendations do you have for the funder or for similar projects in the future?
Grant Reporting Best Practices
Now that we’ve covered what a grant report is and why it’s important, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of grant reporting best practices.
1. Know your audience.
Before you start writing, it’s important to understand who will be reading your report. Will it be just the funder? Or will it be shared with other stakeholders, like board members or the media?
Your grant report should be tailored to your audience. If it’s just for the funder, you can focus on the data and results. But if it will be shared more broadly, you’ll want to make sure it tells a compelling story and showcases your organization in the best light.
2. Follow the funder's guidelines.
3. Keep it concise.
4. Tell a story.
A good grant report should tell a story about your project. Start with an introduction that sets the stage, then provide details about what you did and what happened as a result.
Use data and quotes to help bring your story to life. And be sure to end with a conclusion that sums up your results and highlights any lessons learned.
5. Make it visually appealing.
6. Use data to back up your claims.
When you make claims about your project’s impact, be sure to back them up with data. This could include things like statistics on programs and services generated from your nonprofit CRM, customer surveys, before-and-after photos, or testimonials from beneficiaries.
7. Edit, edit, edit.
Once you’ve written your grant report, put it away for a day or two before you start editing. This will help you come back to it with fresh eyes. Then, read through your report carefully and make any necessary changes.
Be sure to check for spelling and grammar errors and make sure you’re following any specific grant reporting requirements outlined by the funder. If possible, ask someone else to read your report and give you feedback.
Grant Reporting Template
Scope and Demographics
Results and Impact
If you have any additional supporting materials, such as photos, data tables, or customer surveys, you can include them as attachments.
A grant report is a key tool for showing funders the impact of their investment. By sharing the results of your project, you can demonstrate what you’ve accomplished and highlight any lessons learned.
If you need a tool to gather better stats on your programs and services, track grant applications, requirements, and grant reporting deadlines, check out Sumac CRM with Grant Management.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to putting together a grant report that is clear, concise, and accurately reflects the great work your organization is doing.