Advancing Nonprofit Capacity

Don’t Flirt with Disaster. Plan.

Today’s blog is by JWS Associate Scott Herr, PhD. It’s a timely reminder to make sure others in your organization are familiar with the details of your work.

Grant writers wear many hats. Along with proposal writing and other duties that may include development or communication responsibilities, we:

  • Research and identify prospective funding opportunities
  • Coordinate and track grant activities
  • Report to funders

While it’s great to feel appreciated and receive glowing feedback for your many efforts, your solo work may be a hidden threat to your nonprofit. Are you the only person in your organization who knows about the important details related to your agency’s grants management process? If so, then your organization is at risk of falling, and falling hard.

In the tragic event that something happens to you, other people need to be able to take over your role. There are steps you can take as a grant writer to help minimize damage to your agency:

  • Maintain a folder for every grant. Along with essential documents, include in the file a one-page summary of critical processes, such as requesting draws on funds or reporting; the schedule for those processes, and user names and passwords needed to access reporting or financial systems, if applicable; and copy of any instructions
  • Create one document that lists the usernames/passwords for all grants to maintain in a secure location as a back up
  • Train at least one other person to perform grant-related reporting or draw activities
  • Name and contact information to get technical support

Taking these simple measures could save your colleagues much frustration. Planning for when you’re no longer at your organization (regardless of the reason) is critical to the health of your nonprofit, but it’s also a useful tool for you to re-evaluate your own processes to make sure they are efficient and effective.

Do your colleagues know how to handle the grants process if you’re gone?

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