Four Reasons Grantors Require Reports and One Thing You Should Never Leave Out of Your Report
Financial records. Metrics for success. Detailed narratives. Impact analyses. These are typical components of the reports you’re required to submit when you receive grant funding.
Grantors, including private foundations, community foundations, and federal and state agencies, don’t require reports because they enjoy paperwork. Let’s talk about four reasons you have to file that grant report.
1. Grant reporting helps a grantor understand what impact the funding had on a community, organization, or individual. A funder wants a good return on the investment which usually comes in the form of positive outcomes. That leads to the second reason grantors require reports.
2. Positive outcomes make great stories. Great stories are essential elements in marketing, branding, and public relations. When grantees use funds in ways that truly change people’s lives, the grantor benefits from the goodwill it generates. That’s why you see personal stories on funders’ websites and in their annual reports and marketing materials.
3. Grant reporting is an opportunity for self-reflection on the part of your organization and its people. Grantors use reporting as a tool to gauge what you learned while managing the grant. Be honest about any challenges you faced during the grant implementation. Funders want to work with people who can acknowledge weaknesses, learn from mistakes, and develop creative solutions that help their organizations improve and progress. Additionally, grantors can use this information to assist future recipients.
4. Finally, grantors require reports because they need them for their fiscal reporting. Federal and state grants are subject to audits. Typically these audits are accessible to the public. People want to know that agencies are spending tax dollars responsibly. Private and community foundations have to file reports with the IRS. Their finances are open to public scrutiny as well. Just like their grantees, funders are expected to be accountable for how they use the money.
There’s one component of grant reporting that I haven’t mentioned, and that’s saying “thank you.” Begin your report with thanks and end it that way as well. Your grantors will appreciate the fact that you’re grateful for the funds. Thankfulness can help you develop strong relationships with funders.