Reporting back to us on your grant can be time consuming, and can feel stressful or even intimidating. And if you have other funders too (which we know many of you do), you might feel like you are repeating yourself or doubling up on work.
But when it’s done right, reporting should be both an important part of your relationship with us as your funder and useful to your organisation. And we want to help you achieve that!
So, in this blog our funding team have given us their absolute top tips for grant reporting to The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland:
1. Check if you need to report!
While most of our grants require regular reporting, some might not. For example, we won’t always ask you to send us a full report if you have a grant from National Lottery Awards for All Scotland (our most popular fund). If in doubt, just ask your funding officer. You might save yourself a job!
2. Answer these three questions:
- What did you do?
- What difference did you make?
- What did you learn?
“Some people write a very long report telling us what a great year they had … but don’t tell us what they actually did!”Stephen, Funding Officer
3. Feel free to be flexible on format…
You don’t have to use our standard report templates. Your funding officer can send you a template if you need it. But we’d like to encourage you to report back in a way that is most useful for you.
This could be an evaluation you have carried out already, a report you have done for another funder, photos, or even a simple ‘talking head’ video if that works for you.
4. …But don’t forget the financials
Do get creative – but remember we will also need to see a budget showing how you’ve spent your grant. We think a spreadsheet usually works best. Feel free to use your own layout. Just make sure it’s clear what money we gave you, and how that was spent (rather than just showing the whole project costs).
For example, you could include columns comparing your actual spend of the grant compared to the budget in your application form (which we can supply if needed).
Try to gather this information early so you can send it with the rest of your reporting.
5. Share the joy
Why not get the people who participated in your activities involved? A quote, case study or even a short video from a participant can be a brilliant way to get across the spirit of your project. It can be really powerful to show us where an individual started out, and where they are now with your help.
6. Keep it honest
“Small improvements are still worth celebrating.”Aine, Funding Manager
In other words, we don’t expect every project to tell us they’ve changed the world.
And don’t be afraid to tell us what went wrong or what was challenging. Firstly, we might be able to help. Secondly, we want to know how you dealt with it, what you changed, what you learned from it.
7. Don’t save it all up till the deadline
“You won’t get any surprises at the end of year and you’ll have everything ready to pull together a report”Jennifer, Funding Manager
If you gather evidence of how your work is going regularly through the length of your grant, you’ll have more chance to talk about it and learn from it in your organisation as you go. It might be easier said than done – but it will probably save you an end of year headache.
Similarly, if you need to change anything about your budget or grant before the end of the year (or the end of the grant), just get in touch with your funding officer.
8. If in doubt, just ask us
If you are not sure about what you need to include in your report, when it’s needed, or anything else – just ask your funding officer. We are always happy to help, and would rather you didn’t suffer in silence, or spend loads of time putting together information we might not need need.
Good luck with your reporting!