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What Is a Grant Management Dashboard?
Before doing anything else, you must understand what a grant management dashboard is. These tools offer a single place to view, analyze and share your grant's key metrics. A visualization dashboard provides the most intuitive way to understand information, which is crucial for something as highly regulated as grants.
Having all the data you need in one place makes it easier to spot and address errors or alarming trends before they cause larger problems. It also makes it easier to give other parties, like your grantor, a complete picture of your operations, which is important for transparency. Real-time reporting features take these advantages further.
A grant management dashboard should integrate with your other software to make data collection and sharing seamless. Other features to look for include various presentation options, collaboration tools, real-time analytics and cloud support.
Role of KPIs in Grant Management
Dashboards help give your grant programs direction and offer needed traceability to grantors, so they must track KPIs. These are metrics that indicate your success in a given area. Monitoring relevant KPIs provides hard data on where you're doing well and where you can improve.
Just as financial metrics offer insight into business performance, grant-related KPIs reveal how well you use your grantor's funds. You can then point to specifics when they inquire where their money is going. Alternatively, you can monitor them to see if a project isn't yielding results, informing changes to make more cost-effective use of these investments.
After making these changes, tracking the same KPIs can reveal their efficacy. Monitoring similar metrics in future grant projects will help you embrace long-term improvements and learn how best to use funds.
“Flexible product with great training and support. The product has been very useful for quickly creating dashboards and data views. Support and training has always been available to us and quick to respond.
- George R, Information Technology Specialist at Sonepar USA
Essential KPIs for Grant Management Dashboards
Making the most of a grant management dashboard begins with knowing what KPIs to track. Here are five essential categories of metrics you should monitor to manage these funds effectively.
1. Financial KPIs
Financial KPIs are the most straightforward and one of the most important categories. These metrics reflect the hard monetary data relating to your grant. That includes the amount of money received, how much of the investment has gone to each department or project, and your current unspent balance.
These KPIs help monitor your spending, informing any necessary changes in fund disbursal or new, more cost-effective strategies. Some grant reporting standards also require financial data, so these metrics may be a matter of compliance.
2. Performance KPIs
It's also necessary to track performance-related KPIs if your organization has received multiple grants or expects to see similar investments in the future. These include the number of grants you've managed, your successful applications and similar metrics.
Tracking how many grants you've applied for, received and successfully managed shows future investors your potential. Any discrepancies between applications and successful grants suggest rethinking your strategy in using these funds. By contrast, if no significant disparities exist, you can be confident you're using the money wisely.
3. Efficiency KPIs
Efficiency KPIs are similar but take a more granular look at how efficiently you've used grant funds. Specific metrics within this category include the time it takes to manage a grant, overhead costs, time breakdowns by project or department, and returns on investment (ROI).
These are particularly important when applying for more funds from existing grantors. Success rates for these funders can reach as high as 90%, while a 30%-40% success rate is excellent for a new grantor. Given this trend, focusing your efforts on existing relationships is best. Offering hard data on ROIs and return timelines assures previous funders you're efficient with their money.
4. Compliance KPIs
Compliance is another crucial area to track to boost funder trust and transparency. Related KPIs include the number of audits performed, audits passed, compliance rates and your standing in any grant-specific regulatory goals.
These metrics are crucial because many grants come with strict regulatory requirements. Nonprofits expending $750,000 annually in federal awards must perform independent audits or face serious penalties. Non-government grantors may have their own requirements to determine if they'll engage in similar partnerships with you in the future. Tracking hard data relating to these goals streamlines that process.
5. Grant Impact KPIs
Your grant management dashboard should track KPIs indicating your program's impact. These metrics vary depending on what your grant is for, but they should reflect your grantor's goals in funding your organization.
Impact KPIs for an environmental grant may include carbon reduction in kilograms or tons. Relevant KPIs for a social change grant could be the number of students put through high school or the number of jobs you've secured for unemployed individuals. Whatever the specifics, these metrics show that your grantor's funds are making a difference where they want them to.
Leveraging Business Intelligence Tools for KPI Management
Once you know what KPIs to track for your grant management dashboard, you should use business intelligence (BI) tools to manage them. BI is similar to big data in that it offers insights from data sets but offers specific answers about your business rather than broad trends. BI tools can help collect and interpret data from across your organization. Consequently, they're an important part of KPI monitoring.
Without these tools' visibility, you may find it challenging to gather the information you need to track a KPI accurately. Some BI tools also include predictive analytics, which forecasts future performance based on current trends. Applying this type of analysis to your grant management KPIs can help you stay on course and target your goals more effectively.
KPIs Are Crucial for Grant Management
Effective grant management requires an in-depth understanding of all the assets and processes impacting your program. You must set and track relevant KPIs to gain that understanding.
A BI-powered dashboard is indispensable for monitoring and managing these KPIs. Combining all your data in an analytics-capable, efficient dashboard leads to more strategic decisions. You'll impress grantors and boost your chances of future funding.