I recently attended a great Tweet Chat #GrantChat hosted by the Grant Professionals Association @GPANational. I must admit, I was there to “lurk and learn.” And did I get a chance to learn a lot! I also discovered that there are some things ResultsPlus can do to help with some of the commonly identified problems (but I was too new to the medium to be comfortable commenting). Does this mean that there aren’t a number of improvements that can be made to ResultsPlus to help with Grants Management? Of course not, it just made me realize that, while I learned a lot about what we can research for the future, it is also true that a number of people are unaware that, perhaps, their existing CRM tools can help them in some ways.
I will try to identify where ResultsPlus can help, and what I’ve learned we should research to potentially improve our product. Let’s start with where ResultsPlus can help: We can help on the side of the organizations receiving grants. We are not a tool to help with the funder’s side of the commitment.
For organizations receiving grants:
- Reporting deadlines was highlighted as an issue.
- Maintaining a central repository for documentation was an issue.
- Separating grants from other donations from a foundation was an issue.
These are three things with which ResultsPlus can help. The product natively supports these functions, though “listening” to the tweeters, I’ve learned some ways in which we can improve on this in future releases. I will attempt to identify where we can help and where we can improve.
Reporting Deadlines: ResultsPlus supports multiple deadlines for grants. However, at this time, we only support 3 that are specific to reporting (initial, interim, and final). For the future, we can expand this to be unlimited. Deadlines appear within ResultsPlus on the calendar, so they are easily seen. Additionally, people can schedule other contacts to occur as reminders for reporting needs, specifically associated with the granting organization.
Central Document Repository: An unlimited number of documents can be associated with grants in ResultsPlus. This enables organizations to store proposals, guidelines, reports, and other documentation in a central location, accessible by all who have security to read and work with grants.
Maintaining Separation between Grant Monies and Donations from the Same Entity: ResultsPlus forces a differentiation between outright gifts, pledge payments, and grant disbursements. Because of this, reporting can be done on separating these types of income. However, the total value, including all forms of income received from the entity is used for summaries of that entity and there may be times when this is undesirable for an organization. That being said, it can be somewhat mitigated because grants are often designated for specific programs and have different funds than, say, outright gifts that may be unrestricted, or designated for something else.
The above ways of working with the management of grants is, of course, done from the CRM/donor relationship side of things. This is not a substitute for ensuring that you are handling them in whatever way is required when it comes to accounting. There may very well be different needs there.
Attending the #GrantChat was an interesting and informative experience for me, and I am glad to have had the experience. Are there things in ResultsPlus that help you manage grants you’d like to highlight? Are there specific improvements you’d like to see to better help you in your efforts?