Congratulations! You have done the hard work and secured the grant funds and now you can relax and enjoy spending the money. Haha jokes. Sorry! Now the actual work starts.
Once you have been notified about your grants success there is still a process to be followed before you can receive any money. You will need to sign a funding agreement with the funding body. This agreement will set out what your responsibilities are, what you must do in exchange for the grant money and also when and how they will pay you the funds.
Whilst some funding bodies will pay you the entire grant amount up front, many will pay in instalments, with payments triggered at certain points in the project life. Others won’t pay you anything until you have completed the project, meaning you need to spend your own money first and then get reimbursed. What will be the case for your grant depends on the funding body and the amount of grant funds. But it will all be made clear in the funding agreement. If you are concerned about when you are being paid, be aware – the funding agreement can be negotiated to some extent.
Your job is to review the agreement and make sure that:
- you can do what the agreement requires you to do e.g. meet the timeframes
- you will receive the funding you need, when you need it
Don’t forget, it is a legally binding agreement so don’t agree to something that you do not think is possible for you to comply with.
The other thing the funding agreement sets out that you need to action now is the reporting requirements. You may be required to report regularly throughout the project or maybe just one final report, or acquittal at the end. Either way, you need to read the agreement and find out what you need to report on BEFORE you start your project. Ask the funding body for the acquittal template, if they don’t provide it as part of the funding agreement.
You need to prepare yourself to be able to easily complete the reporting requirements. If you set it all up before you start your project, the final acquittal report should be simple to complete. If not, it may be near on impossible. For example, if the acquittal requires before and after photos and you don’t realise that until the end of the project…and you didn’t take any before photos.
Once the funding agreement is signed then you are ready to start your project, delivering it in line with the timeframes, budget and scope set out in the agreement. Make sure you keep the funding body in the know – if an issue arises, let them know. They want you to succeed so they will help where they can. The agreement can be varied if necessary (though you are not getting any more money!).
The worst thing you can do though is to change the scope or timeframes of the project without talking to the funding body. Remember, the agreement is legally binding. If you don’t do what you said you would, you may need to pay the money back. So talk to the funding body before you make changes and if you hit any road bumps.
Good luck!!! If you would like more information about Whitney Consulting and our services, or would like help with a grant application – click the button below and we will be only to happy to help!