5 ways spreadsheets fail nonprofits

Sage Intacct Grant Tracking for nonprofits

While grants can provide numerous benefits to nonprofits, they also require diligent attention to management. To ensure that new and recurring grants continue to be awarded, having the appropriate tools and processes in place is crucial for delivering on promises and maintaining accountability. Read on to learn about what’s at stake with using spreadsheets, and automating processes to revolutionize grant management with Sage Intacct.

What's at stake when using speadsheets?

It’s clear that the consequences of mismanaging a grant can be severe, with a wide range of negative outcomes. Here are some additional points to consider when it comes to grant mismanagement:

5 ways spreadsheets fail nonprofits

1. Grant management teams have difficulty sharing the spreadsheets.

Managing grants involves several steps, from finding and winning them to reporting on their outcomes. To accomplish this, you’ll need two separate teams: a pre-award and a post-award team. These teams will include staff members from various functional areas, such as fundraising, project management, leadership, and finance. However, handling grant tracking spreadsheets can be challenging when multiple people have access. Often, only one person can edit the spreadsheet at a time, which can lead to overwritten data and confusion.

2. Reporting requirements may create multiple versions.

Each grantor may have its own set of specialized reporting requirements. Organizations usually create distinct spreadsheets to meet these requirements. However, this can lead to issues with version control. It’s easy to lose track of who has control of each report and whether derivative reporting spreadsheets have been updated when the primary spreadsheet is updated.

3. Spreadsheets are prone to errors.

Adhering to the terms set out in grant contracts is crucial and cannot be emphasized enough. Your organization’s reputation rests on transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, even the most diligent staff member can make typographical errors. Spreadsheets, which lack features for validating data or flagging erroneous transactions, can exacerbate this issue. As a result, mistakes caused by inadvertently swapping numbers within spreadsheets are often not discovered until it’s too late.

4. Spreadsheets do not scale well.

Small nonprofits that receive a few small grants a year can use a grant tracking spreadsheet to manage their awards and expenditures. However, as the organization grows and secures larger grants, managing the funding operation with spreadsheets can become challenging. With a greater number of grants to manage and larger awards to track, spreadsheets can quickly become complex and difficult to manage.

5. Spreadsheets lack good security features.

While passwords are the only form of security available for spreadsheets, a reliable grant management system should offer a range of accountability measures. These may include role-based access levels and audit trails that document all changes made.

Revolutionize Grant Management with Automation

Grant tracking spreadsheets have their limitations, but automation can help to overcome these issues. For effective grant management, modern technology with a centralized database is crucial. A grant management system is a specialized application that streamlines the grant process by automating administrative tasks for fund-seeking organizations. Nonprofits seeking grants can further enhance their operations by integrating fund accounting, time and attendance, project management, and CRM solutions.

Sage Intacct Grant Tracking and Billing centralizes all grant documents and program delivery details for secure, comprehensive views of grant management. It provides the grants team, staff, and auditors with a single, shared source of truth.

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