We have recently discussed the best way to apply for funding via a grant proposal. You may now be considering writing a grant report once you have received your grant and used it to its fullest. What is a final report on a grant? Why would anyone want to create one? What information should you include? This article will explain it all and provide you with some helpful resources.
What is Grant Reports?
A grant is spent to implement the project. It is not uncommon for a grant to require a report. You may also want to do it voluntarily. There are many benefits of writing a grant-report. You can reassure your sponsors that their investment will pay off by writing a report. By writing a grant report, you can show your sponsors the impact of their support and how it made a difference. You’re also saying thanks for their belief and trust in your project.
In writing a report on a grant you should strive to portray a favorable view of its results. Even though it’s vital to have a balanced report, remember that your grant can help secure funding in the future. Focus on positive outcomes, even if it was a failure. This could be lessons learned, new knowledge or better future decisions.
What should I include in my grant report?
You may be required to follow a specific format for the final grant report if it was part of your terms and conditions of receiving the grant. You may also want to add some extra information, or there may be no set structure. We have outlined a few key points that we know from research and experience are appreciated by funding agencies.
This paper provides an overview of the project.
Your grant has probably been received for some time. You may receive a large amount of funding from your funding agency. Your funding body will appreciate a reminder of your project. Summarize your project.
- The project’s main objectives
- Who is involved?
- Where and what activities are being conducted?
- Project timelines
- Highlights or anecdotes that you will remember
The project summary is all that’s needed at this point. Details will follow.
2. Deviations From Proposal
It is an extension of the original project proposal, with specifics on how it may have changed. It is not a project evaluation. The project will be evaluated later. It will include all the information discussed in your final grant report. Remember to give reasons for any deviations made from the original proposal. This will be due to ‘unknown factors’ that couldn’t have been accounted at the proposal phase.
We want to remain positive in the entire grant report. You will undoubtedly see some positive and negative deviations. Try to be measured in your approach.
3. Key Performance Indicators for the Project
We want to dig deeper into the project outcomes. You might have already set up project KPIs when you were preparing the proposal. It’s fine if this happened later. You can still explain the process at this point. This is about quantifying the value that a project provided. You should choose KPIs that are the most important to your funding sponsor. Choose KPIs based on your funding sponsor’s environmental agenda. The KPIs can be reduced waste, lower carbon emissions or less fossil fuel use.
By comparing a baseline state ‘before’ to a state ‘after’, you can show the impact of your project. You should also apply your KPIs for each state. The difference in the state before and afterwards is an excellent way to illustrate your project’s impact.
4. Project Benefits
You can now really drive home how much good your project did. The quantified benefits are important, but may not tell the whole story. Project benefits allow you to describe all of the positive outcomes that have been brought about by the project.
Consider your team’s development, new skills learned or how it may have inspired you to create future projects. You can think about the team’s development, new skills learned or even how you were inspired by it. It is not as important to be objective with benefits as it is when using KPIs. You can explore the full range of benefits that a project could bring, and show your sponsor just how valuable their grant is.
5. Assessing a Project
You should now reflect on the success of your project. Think about the whole project. Include both the good and bad. What you will do differently and what the team and you have learned. Honesty is okay here. You can find positives in these situations.
You may want to structure your evaluation of the project. You may want to divide the project into different sections (designs, methods, processes, etc.). Prior to creating evaluation criteria, or specific questions for evaluation, it is important to divide the project up into sections. You could go even further and test more methods to evaluate the project outcome. This may involve collecting longer-term, more detailed data on your project’s impact.
The evaluation of a project can be comprehensive or as limited as the client feels necessary. No one evaluation method fits all projects. Do some research on similar projects in order to determine what is required for the evaluation. Talking to a funding sponsor can be helpful to understand what criteria they use to evaluate a particular project.
The ultimate goal of project evaluations is to show to sponsors that you reflect on your projects, their results and how they can be improved. No matter what the outcome of a project, if you can demonstrate that you are actively evaluating and learning from these factors, you will gain respect.
6. An analysis of expenses
The major points of a final report on a grant have been covered. You may find that many people are satisfied with the information you have provided, but in certain cases more details might be needed. You can be sure that you have covered all your bases by producing a detailed budget breakdown. Even though it’s unlikely that everyone is interested, the inclusion of this information shows an attention to details.
Assuming you have tracked all the costs, either through bank records or receipts (which is usually the case), we would suggest making a simple Excel spreadsheet. If you have a large grant, it can become complicated quickly. So a high-level breakdown by project would be helpful.
As an extra point, you may want to calculate a return on investment using the KPIs that you mentioned. This is an excellent way to demonstrate that the sponsor receives value for money.
It is okay to include justifications for the figures in your spreadsheet, even though they should be the main focus. It is particularly useful when’surprising figures’ appear that may seem strange to someone not directly involved with the project. The story can be told by the graphs, which will likely support points you have already made.
7. In conclusion
As you finish your grant report, summarize the most important takeaways and next steps for the organisation. The positive impact the project had on the sponsor is reinforced by this. This also connects the sponsor to the human aspect of the project. The final report is a perfect opportunity to thank the funding provider and conclude on a high note.
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