After all your hard work, attention to detail and ensuring all your responses comply and match the requests of the grant application, you are successful in securing a government grant.
Time to celebrate. Time to pat each other on the back and praise the whole team for their efforts.
It’s also time to tell everyone in your network that you have secured the grant – winning a grant will be great for your company’s profile and will help attract attention from the industry, investors, researchers etc about what you do.
Government grants are never easy to secure, so it’s really worth celebrating.
But not for too long.
Once that grant agreement has been inked, it’s time to really put the heads down and start delivering on the promise/s stated in the grant application. Usually, the greater the grant amount, the more deliverables and responsibilities there are for the grant recipient.
Here are a few reminders of what to do next:
If you have secured a small, community grant for instance, it’s probably just a matter of signing/co-signing a standard, short agreement with the relevant government agency and delivering the event or the activities described in your grant application by the agreed date. Showing evidence of the event actually taking place through media reports, photos, YouTube videos or social media posts are more than adequate to validate and acquit the grant monies received by your organisation.
Payments for small grants are usually in two tranches. One which will represent around ¾ of the total amount to allow you to get the planning and execution underway. A second payment will be made usually after you have completed all the agreed items in the agreement including a report/evaluation, submission of itemised accounts and evidence of the event or activity taking place. This is standard government grants practice and will be used internally to evaluate and document the broader grants program.
For larger grant amounts, things get more complicated. This is where you and your project delivery team will need to keep precise and auditable records of all aspects of the grant. Depending on the agreed conditions of the grant and the duration / size of the grant, you will be required to provide reports (quarterly, biannual), give updates in presentations, hold project control board meetings and give audited financial reports to government to indicate that things are on track and you are spending public money responsibly and in the way that it was intended.
The key deliverable dates (reports, meetings, payments etc) must be strictly adhered to – make sure they are NEVER overdue. Usually there is a process to undertake if a project falls behind the agreed timeline (which they often do due to a range of unforeseen circumstances) and you need to confirm what these processes are before starting the project.
Have dedicated people in your team ready to go – this may require some shuffling around of roles, or even recruitment to ensure that the resources necessary to deliver the project are there and ready to go. If you are collaborating with another organisation, make sure all the details of this arrangement (fees, roles, IP, confidentiality, etc) are formally in place BEFORE the commencement of the project.
This may all seem like Project Management 101, but there is nothing that irks government more than believing that project teams are in place and capable and to then be told that they are not! It’s not a good look and government will very quickly lose confidence in your team if this becomes evident. Such a situation does not bode well when you seek future grants.
So, in summary:
Celebrate your success.
Confirm all the details of the agreement and get your team in order.
Count the deliverables, note the payment dates and conditions and put the pieces in place for a smooth start.
Keep on track with milestones deliverable for the ENTIRE duration of the grant.
Be accommodating, flexible and consistent in your dealings with government. This will definitely set you on the right path from the get-go.
Achieve, achieve, achieve. Hit every milestone effortlessly and show you and your team are capable and know your craft.
If you can demonstrate timely, high quality execution, then further grants will come!
Go to it!