Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

AndrewNSW  Author: Andrew Thompson


Good record keeping is critical in maintaining your organisational knowledge – and vital to a successful grants program.

Picture this scenario…….

You’ve started in your new role as the Trusts and Foundations Manager.

It’s your third day in the job and a colleague comes to you with “by the way, our final project report to the funder is due at the end of the week!”.

Project Report?




Organisational knowledge?

You scramble through the pile of sticky notes left by the previous incumbent. You delve into the depths of the computer server, searching for any clues of what you need to report on.

What was the project name?

Who were the key staff involved?

Where did they record the expected outcomes?

At this stage, just the name of the key contact at the Funder would be a great start!!!

As I observe organisations who are successful in their grant seeking, a common thread is that they can accurately monitor, track and report on where each project is up to and how the grant funding is being utilised.

It’s important to record your grants history, past and present, into a centralised location – document or database. Details such as:

* Funder relationship – existing relationships or networks; has the Funder supported your organisation before? What conversations have been had with the Funder?

* Which project you applied for – project name, ask amount and relevant program delivery staff

* Which grant was applied to – the funder may have multiple grant rounds

* The status of each application – prospect, submitted, successful, unsuccessful

* The date the application was submitted

* If successful, what date the funds were received and;

* the due date of the acquittal / funding report

* Feedback on the application – if provided

Not only will this information assist you in developing and maintaining a relationship with your funders; it will also ensure you can produce the relevant data when preparing funder reports, board reports and annual reports.

Time and again, I support people that have recently commenced with an organisation who subscribe to GEMS (Grants Expertise Management Systems) - it’s a great part of my job when new users of the system discover all of the relevant project information has been recorded in one centralised database.

No need to scramble through a pile of sticky notes – all the information needed is accessible and easy to find!!

If you would like to understand how you can better manage your organisations knowledge, check out our GEMS Demonstration online or contact us for more information.

Alissa Author: Alissa Bermingham


The Strategic Grants’ Customised Grants Calendar and integrated online Grants Expertise Management Portal (GEMP) incorporates funding opportunities from across Australia and New Zealand.

Our customised grants calendar lists ALL philanthropic, Government and corporate opportunities whose funding interests match those of your organisation.

So, how do we narrow down the gargantuan range of grants in our database to build a customised Grants Calendar unique to your organisation?

We build a grants calendar based on the research undertaken by our talented ‘SG Calendar Team’ who collate information to create a unique profile for each organisation – which produces a customised grants calendar. The organisational information we gather includes:

* Legal Eligibility / Status

* Program / Service delivery

* Beneficiaries

* Geography – where does your organisation deliver programs

* Grant Range required

The GEMP system does an automatic match on the above information, flagging all the grants that match each organisation’s profile for inclusion in their grants calendar.

For example, an animal welfare organisation operating solely in Victoria won’t see grant opportunities supporting animal welfare initiatives in Western Australia, because the system identifies that the organisation and grant are not a match.

The final stage of the calendar build process is when the SG Calendar Team review the calendar to ensure only relevant grants are included, and none that should be there, are excluded.

The GEM Portal saves our clients hours of valuable time, making room for simplified prospect research and more time for developing robust project plans and great grant applications. To get an idea of how the GEM Portal can support you, check out a demo at: