5 Steps to Successful Grant Management

May 16, 2024 | Grant Writing

A red three ring binder with the word "DOCUMENT" on the spine

In the grant world, so many people focus on the award. There is a lot of emphasis on writing a successful proposal and winning the money, but the truth is, the award is just the beginning.

The only way to keep the grant award, and find success in future applications, is to properly manage the award. That means you must implement the program you spelled out in the proposal and follow all the funder rules and regulations.

Grant rules and regulations vary from funder to funder, program to program, but if you follow these five simple steps, you’re likely find success in grant management. And if you want to learn more about grant management, check out the latest Fundraising Hayday Podcast episode HERE.


There are a lot of moving parts in grant management, especially federal grant management. An award agreement to read and understand. Start and end dates for the grant. A budget to follow. Deadlines for a variety of reports. A multitude of grant rules and regulations. And remember, the three most important rules of grant management are to document, document, document.


For many, the money is the biggest concern. Organizations need to understand how funders pay – payment up front, drawdowns as necessary, or reimbursement requests. No matter when you receive your funds, be sure to document every penny spent, to include purchase orders, invoices, receipts, checks, and even cleared checks at times. And through it all, you have to follow the approved budget or seek approvals when changes are necessary.


In your grant application, your organization outlined the activities that will take place, how many people you will serve, who will be responsible for what, and a myriad of other things. The grant application spelled out planned goals, objectives, and an evaluation plan – all of which must be reported to the funder, along with successes and failures of the work.


The types of reports vary from funder to funder. If the grant is federally funded, an organization can be expected to submit a narrative report and financial report, at a minimum. Other regular reports include, but are not limited to, Davis-Bacon Wage Act monthly wage sheets, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise monthly reports, and Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act reports. The grant award agreement spells out all required reports and their applicable deadlines.


When the grant program is complete or the grant award date arrives, whichever happens first, it is time to close out the grant. This usually involves final reporting on objectives and the tally of expenses. Organizations should work with their funder to ensure all documentation is complete. And remember, no grant is officially closed until the funder says so in writing. The date of the closeout letter/email starts the clock for the retention of your records. Most documents must be kept for 3 years, though some funders require a 5- or 7-year retention schedule.

Grant management is a time-consuming task that should be completed regularly – sometimes daily. It takes a lead individual, often a grant professional, working in conjunction with staff from the finance department and the program manager. Through it all, remember to DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.

Amanda Day
Fundraising HayDay

A podcast about grants & such.

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