Grant Management: What It Is and How to Do It


If your organization is thinking of funding a grant, it is important to understand the grant life cycle and grant management solutions for each stage of the grant process.

What Is Grant Management?

Although the term “grant management” can be used in relation to grant recipients, it can also apply to grant providers. For recipients, grant management means writing proposals and reports, keeping track of funds, and ensuring that grant requirements are met. Grant donors manage the other side of the process by: setting up the grant, reviewing applications, selecting worthy recipients, disbursing grant funds, and ensuring their money is being put to good use.

Increase Your Impact with Grant Management Software

Effective grant management is important throughout the entire life cycle of a grant, which can be broken into three stages: pre-award, award, and post-award. Each stage requires certain actions from the grantor and the applicant.

Stage One: Pre-Award

The pre-award stage encompasses everything that occurs before the grant recipient is chosen, including both the planning and application process. During this stage, the granting organization must work through the following steps:

  1. Development. Finalize the details of the grant opportunity you are about to offer. What is the purpose of the grant? How much will be offered? Who will be able to apply, and what criteria will you use to select the recipient? What will you require of the grant recipient, and how will the organization report to you? Will this be a recurring opportunity that eligible organizations can receive every year, or a one-time award to fund a specific project? You’ll need to consider all these questions while drafting a grant form.
  2. Announcement. Once you have all those details sorted, it’s time to announce your new grant program. Just like running a successful scholarship campaign, you must ensure qualified applicants know about your grant and how to navigate your application process. Vast amounts of grant funding go unclaimed; you’ll want to thoughtfully promote your grant opportunity to ensure you reach the right people.
  3. Consideration. After the application window has closed, you will need to be able to retrieve and review all the applications. Submittable’s streamlined grant management platform makes it easy to collect, organize, and screen all the applications you receive. The entire process can be customized to suit the needs of your organization.

Stage Two: Award

During the award stage, the grantor decides which applicant(s) will receive grant funding. Once the recipient has been selected, the grantor should notify all applicants of the decision. The grantor must then draft an agreement that grant makingspells out the terms of the grant.

The recipient and grantor both sign the agreement, and the funds are disbursed to the recipient. Although this process might seem fairly straightforward for grants with a single recipient, managing awards for a larger grant program can quickly become overwhelming without a strong grant management system in place.

Stage Three: Post-Award

After the grant agreement has been signed and the funds have been disbursed, the post-award stage begins. During this stage, the grantor and recipient work to ensure any expectations or requirements outlined in the agreement are being met. As the grantor, you may require the recipient to send you periodic reports about how the funds are being used and what is being accomplished. You can also set up an auditing program with on-site visits and in-person interviews.

Either way, grant management is just as important during the post-award stage as any other stage. Grant fraud is a serious offense. The best defense against it is preventative. However, proper grant managers ensure the grant funds provided are being used in accordance with the grant agreement. The sooner you know about a problem, the less money will be wasted. Make sure you are checking in with the recipient and are aware of the work being done.

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