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Are you tracking grants effectively?

Updated August 29, 2022 by Virginia Davidson

tracking grants effectively

When it comes to managing a grants program for your nonprofit, do you have a way of tracking those grants effectively?

For many nonprofit organizations, applying for grants from private foundations can be an important component of their annual fundraising plan. Ideally, the process of applying for funds from a private, grant-making foundation can be a straightforward one.

As Erik Hanberg writes in The Little Book of Gold, “The foundation lays everything out for you: this what they do fund, this is what they don’t, this is when you should ask, this is the form you should fill out, and this is the information you need.”

Having clarity helps, but you’ll want a system in place to track and manage those application and reporting deadlines. Otherwise, you may miss opportunities to apply for funding. Plus, missing reporting deadlines for grants you’ve received can have consequences such as being ineligible to apply for continued funding in the next round.

What grant information do you need to track?

Your organization needs a way to:

  • Store contact information and eligibility requirements for grant-making entities
  • Track both application and reporting deadlines
  • Record successful grant applications as either pledges (award letter describing distribution timeline) or gifts (check received with award letter)
  • Record personal interactions with your contact at the grant-making entity
  • Store documents pertaining to your application, such as letters of intent, the application itself, and any other materials

Now that you have a sense of the kinds of information you need to track, let’s discuss why having a system to maintain that information is key to managing an effective and efficient grant management process.

How an effective grant tracking system can help:

  • It ensures that you don’t miss funding opportunities and deadlines
  • It allows you to easily access and refer to prior applications
  • It helps fundraising staff work more efficiently and effectively, minimizing stress and frustration
  • It serves the organization well in the long run, so important knowledge about your organization’s relationship and history with the foundation doesn’t disappear when an employee retires or leaves
  • It removes bottlenecks so that key information is available to multiple team members

If you’ve ever found yourself digging through your inbox searching for key communications with a grant-making entity, or you’ve woken up in the middle of the night worried you missed a deadline, then it’s time to put a system into place. Little Green Light can help you track and manage grants so that you stay organized and are able to devote your energy to putting together effective applications and reports. By using LGL’s task functionality, as well as contact reports and goals, you’ll be able to manage the important details that grants involve.

If you’d like to get a more detailed look into how to streamline your organization’s grant proposal process using Little Green Light, watch this webinar.


Are you looking for more fundraising tips and best practices?

For a limited time, we are offering two valuable resources that will strip the mystery out of fundraising and, for users of Little Green Light, will supply you with specific, actionable information on how you can implement these ideas using LGL.

The first resource we want to direct you to is Erik Hanberg’s The Little Book of Gold. Forbes rated it as a Top 12 Must-Read Book For Nonprofit Employees, and it’s packed with practical, real-world fundraising wisdom that really resonates with us.

The second is LGL’s Companion Guide to The Little Book of Gold. Each chapter of Erik’s book covers an essential aspect of fundraising, and in LGL’s Companion Guide we’ve written corresponding chapters that show you how you can use Little Green Light to implement Erik’s advice.

How to access The Little Book of Gold and LGL’s Companion Guide

For Little Green Light customers:

In 2022, Little Green Light customers can download their FREE digital copy of Erik’s book, The Little Book of Gold, and LGL’s Companion Guide right from within their LGL account. Simply visit the Help page in your account and click the blue “Get free copy” button at the top right of the page.

For non-LGL customers:

Erik Hanberg’s The Little Book of Gold is available at Amazon, the author’s website, and wherever books are sold. LGL’s Companion Guide is available as a free download at


It’s no small task to navigate the various guidelines, the different application formats, and the deadlines of each foundation. Check out Chapter 7 of Erik’s book for great information on finding grant opportunities, developing relationships with those foundations, and managing the application process. And, for LGL users, our companion guide will show you how to use LGL’s functionality to implement Erik’s advice.

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