Grant reporting, the easy way

If done well, reporting can be a really good use of your time. To achieve this impossible-sounding goal, consider the following:

1. Reporting gives you an excuse to stand back and consider the difference your work has made. Reporting, done well, is an opportunity to clearly articulate your successes (and bask in them!), as well as identify ways the project could be further improved.

2. Pay it forward. Reporting is your chance to show the funder what an excellent investment they made by awarding your grant. Impressing the funder with the excellence of your work generally improves the odds that funder will make future grants to you and to Lawrence.

Good reporting is all about good planning:

Review the outcomes and assessment sections of your proposal.

What did the proposal promise would happen? What measurable outcomes were identified? Indicators for those outcomes? What assessment methodology was proposed? The proposal should provide a good road map for your reporting.

Put reminders on your calendar for reports due. 

Remember how many times you've scolded students about not waiting until the night before the due date to start an assignment? Take your own advice. Ensure you aren't frantically scrambling to gather information for a due (or overdue!) report, by setting up reminders on your calendar well in advance of each reporting deadline.

Plan ahead for what you will report.

Find out if you can get a copy of the funder's report format, so you know exactly what information you will be expected to provide in interim and final reports. As you set up your work-plan, be intentional about building in documentation and evaluation along the way -- so that filling out the reports will be as easy and stress-free as possible.

Submit complete reports on time.

It sounds obvious, but it bears repeating. Submitting timely, complete reports that conform to the funder's reporting requirements is an important part of the grant process.