In this article, Chris Bicknell, Little Green Light Co-founder and President, shares some tips on how to use Little Green Light to simplify your grant management process.
Searching for and keeping track of grants you’re seeking for your nonprofit are probably among the many tasks your development office is trying to manage. By using the Goal functionality in Little Green Light, you can stay on top of all those to-do items and deadlines and easily maintain an annual record of your efforts, which can be conveniently referenced for next year’s asks. Sound too good to be true? It’s not!
We recognize there are a lot of foundations out there, each with their own guidelines and procedures for applying for a grant. As one program officer said to me, “When you’ve met one foundation, you’ve met one foundation.” We won’t try to tell you how you can succeed in your actual proposals, but we will show you how you can better manage and track deadlines in Little Green Light.
Let’s assume you are looking through some other organization’s wonderful Annual Report. (We all do it, and if you’re not, you should!) In that amazing $100,000+ category, you notice that the X Foundation awarded that other organization a grant and you know it is about time to apply for one for your organization. You research the foundation a bit and confirm that it will be a great fit. You also learn that the deadline for the Letter of Intent is more than a month away—a lifetime!
You log into your Little Green Light account and make sure X Foundation has a record and that their contact information is up to date. You put some of your research into the record so your colleague doesn’t have to search for it in 10 different places to believe you that it is worth applying for. Since you’re feeling bold, you set up a goal for $100,000 and line up the initial tasks, with deadlines, for you and your team (if you have one).
The Goal might look something like this in Little Green Light:
We’ll then presume success, so here is the high-level view of relevant deadlines for the X Foundation:
- June 19 – Letter of Intent. When that is done and sent off—easy, of course—mark it done and upload it into Little Green Light for future reference. Record the confirmations and other information as desired.
- June 30 – Success! you’ve been invited to submit a full proposal. Be sure to upload the completed file to Little Green Light for safe-keeping (and for reference next year when you re-apply).
- Sept. 25 – Congratulations! The Board of X Foundation approved a grant of $100,000 for your organization. Be sure you enter it as a pledge in Little Green Light.
- Oct. 5 – Agree to the terms of the grant, return the paperwork, and set up the key tasks you need to meet the terms (interim report in 6 months, final report in 12 months, and so on).
- Feb. 24 – Foundation sends check and you enter the gift against the pledge. Yippee! Don’t forget to send a thank you note.
Once you’ve actually submitted the proposal, it is easy to see it, together with others, in a list of Goals in Little Green Light:
A few other tasks in the grant management process that you might want to keep track of:
- Aug. 25 – Interim report done and uploaded into Little Green Light
- Aug. 25 of the following year – Final report submitted and uploaded into Little Green Light
Along the way, all phone calls, emails, notes from site visits, and other communications needed to cultivate and steward the organization making the grant award can be tracked and recorded in LGL. Internal deadlines and documents can be tracked as well. If your program and finance colleagues need to complete tasks by certain dates you can manage those deadlines in the Goal and upload their internal documents too.
At the end of 16 months, you not only secured $100,000 for your mission, you created a comprehensive track record of your grant management process in a web-based system that you or your colleagues or successors can reference anywhere, anytime.
Interested in learning more about how Little Green Light can be used to manage your development operations more easily? Join an Introductory Tour webinar for a demo and Q&A session. Free webinars are offered every other week. Register for an upcoming session today.