How to Streamline Every Phase of the Grant Lifecycle


For every grant your organization offers, completing the funding lifecycle requires extensive planning, implementation, and management. While you can’t eliminate any of these three essential lifecycle stages entirely, you can simplify each step.

Learn how to streamline every phase of the grant lifecycle to save your team time and resources.

Phase 1: Pre-award planning

Although the first phase of the grant lifecycle may only last between one and four months, funding organizations have the potential to waste the largest amount of time during this step.

For most grantors, the pre-award phase includes everything from planning and announcing the opportunity, to receiving applications and reviewing candidates. All of these steps can become time-consuming and resource-intensive without effective management.

Rather than allowing candidates to submit paper materials or asking staff members to track applications manually, organizations can save substantial time by using a single software system that handles every step of the process.

With high-powered grants management software, your organization can accept, track, and review grant applications in one centralized system. Applicants will gain confidence when using a professional application form. Administrators will save time and hassle throughout the management process and reviewers will find it easy to access information and process their workloads efficiently.

Phase 2: Award implementation

The second lifecycle phase tends to be the shortest, usually lasting just one month, but it has the potential to make a major impact. During the award phase, organizations inform applicants about the results of the grant, work closely with grant recipients to finalize details, and release funds.

While this phase may seem relatively straightforward, organizations can encounter roadblocks if they fail to collect sufficient information during the application phase. To streamline the award phase, grantors should gather candidates’ complete contact information during the application process so that they can easily communicate via mail, email, or telephone.

Creating a time-sensitive process for securing required signatures and disbursing grant funds to eligible accounts can also ensure that your team efficiently completes this phase of the lifecycle. Grant management software can help your team avoid missing deadlines or wasting time on unnecessary communication.

Phase 3: Post-award management

The final phase of the grant lifecycle is generally the longest and may span multiple years, depending on the specifics of the grant. Since an organization’s staff, priorities, and capabilities may change during this period, it’s essential to develop a streamlined process for overseeing the post-award phase. Naturally, the reports and results that this phase generates can be effective public relations materials, making this a key component of the lifecycle.

Rather than spending time communicating with recipients individually or risking data loss by conducting award management in a secondary system, organizations can streamline the process by integrating third-party applications with submission software. With an integrated grants management system like Submittable, organizations can easily allow automated communication throughout the final phase of the grant.

Using Submittable’s labeling options and integrations with Zapier, teams can take post-award management to an entirely new level. This functionality enables organizations to generate tasks and reminders automatically, making scheduling simple and streamlined, even over a multi-year period.

With a combination of straightforward app integration, easy automation, and advanced planning, teams can save time and resources throughout the lengthy post-award process. By streamlining this crucial data-gathering step, organization’s funding opportunities will have the potential to do the most good.

Why cost your team time and resources when it’s so easy to take a smarter approach to the grant process? Put these tips into practice today to start streamlining each phase of your organization’s grant lifecycle.

Sarah Aswell
Sarah Aswell

Sarah Aswell is an editor and content strategist at Submittable. She’s also a writer and stand-up comedian who gets rejected via Submittable all the time. You can read her comedy criticism at Forbes, follow her on Twitter, or learn more about her creative work on her website.