There is no one-size-fits-all approach to monitoring your grants. As Our Community discovered when we canvassed a small group of grantmakers, the best approach for you take to monitoring will depend on the nature of your organisation, the organisations you fund, and even your geographic area.
Proportionality – the golden rule
Your monitoring strategy should be proportionate to the level of funds, capability and assessed level of risk of grant recipients
What are some of the options for monitoring?
- Keeping in touch by telephone or making the occasional visit (or both) may be sufficient, particularly for small, short-term programs.
- For larger grants where money is spent over a number of years, it might be more appropriate to include formal monitoring conditions in the contractual agreement.
- Formal monitoring conditions can include performance criteria and agreed goals.
- Funding recipients can be invited to make presentations to the grantmaker's trustees.
- For one-off capital expenditure items, you can require that a claim for funds be submitted within a particular period of time, and require copies of invoices before releasing funds.
- You can require that an evaluation be submitted, say, six months after acquittal documentation has been provided.
- You can request inspections of facilities and equipment.
What should we do if we identify problems?
- Engage in constructive communication.
- Provide additional, non-financial support.
- Where other endeavours fail, suspend or cancel future payments.
- Be firm with people if necessary to ensure they do the right thing.
- If funds have not yet been released and a problem is identified, do not release the funds until a satisfactory explanation has been provided.
- Where a major discrepancy is identified related to the use or implementation of funding, you might ask the grantee to explain why any future applications should be considered.
What should we be keeping in mind?
- Some communities or groups have limited administrative resources, and can't afford to be tied up with too much paperwork.
- Informal monitoring can work very well - it is not always necessary to have a formal process in place.
- Ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget can sometimes take a lot of nagging and hands-on work on the grantmaker's part.
- Ensure your grant recipients know you want them to advise you of any issues early on, rather than to make assumptions about how best to address them without any input from you.