Grant Writing Calendar: How to Better Manage Your Grants

Author:

Ryan Carruthers

,

Content Marketer at Instrumentl

Reviewed by:

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Published:

August 26, 2021

Last Updated:

November 8, 2023

The anxiety that stems from the thought of "missing grant submission deadlines" is enough to keep anyone up at night. 

Just take the unfortunate news headline that the city of Oakland lost millions of funding dollars due to a missed deadline.

This is a stark reminder of the high stakes—we all need a  well-managed grant calendar. 

This is where Instrumentl steps in, far surpassing the capabilities of manual spreadsheets, to ensure you'll never miss a deadline again.

This blog post will:

  • Discuss what a grant calendar is
  • Highlight why having a grant calendar is crucial for non-profits
  • Explain how to create and manage your grant calendar
The Ultimate 5-Step Grants Calendar Planning Guide


Do You Need A Grant Calendar To Stay Organized?

Do You Need A Grant Calendar To Stay Organized?

A grant calendar is more than just a tool; it's an essential lifeline for nonprofits seeking funding. It is a meticulously organized schedule that:

  • Keeps track of grant opportunities
  • Monitors submission deadlines
  • Logs follow-up dates
A grant calendar is a strategic tool used by nonprofits and researchers to schedule and track their funding opportunities. It includes grant deadlines, application statuses, and award dates.

A well-curated grant calendar is a foolproof way to never miss a funding opportunity and always complete application processes punctually. The calendar typically includes essential details like:

  • The name of the grant
  • Application deadline
  • Expected decision date
  • Notes on the application process

Traditional methods of maintaining grant calendars involve manually updated spreadsheets. But, this system can often be time-consuming and error-prone. 

This is where Instrumentl shines, offering a far superior alternative for managing your grant calendar. By automating the tedious tasks, Instrumentl ensures the grant management process is not only smooth and efficient but also highly effective

There Are 3 Methods You Can Use To Track Your Grant Deadlines

There Are 3 Methods You Can Use To Track Your Grant Deadlines

Let's look into the ways you can keep up with upcoming grant deadlines.

Spreadsheet templates

While spreadsheet templates like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets may seem like an easy solution, they often fall short of effectively managing grant timelines. 

The process of updating these grant timeline templates is:

  • manual, 
  • time-consuming, and 
  • prone to human error. 

A small mistake can lead to missed deadlines or inaccurate information, negatively impacting your funding.

Manually using sticky notes and to-do lists

Manually tracking deadlines with sticky notes and to-do lists can be a chaotic process. 

Not only is it disorganized, but it's also unreliable. Sticky notes can be lost, and important deadlines can be overlooked amidst a sea of other tasks on your desk.

At first glance, to-do lists may seem like a viable option, but the time and effort required to manage individual lists for each grant can become overwhelming quickly. Plus, these methods do not provide a comprehensive overview of all grants and their deadlines.

Online alerts

Subscribing to email alerts from foundations and funders might also feel like a convenient solution, but it has its drawbacks. Your inbox can quickly become cluttered with alerts, making it easy to miss an important deadline.

Plus, it's not unusual for these alerts to go to your Spam folder. Moreover, this method doesn't provide a consolidated view of all your grant applications and deadlines.

Grant management software: The superior solution

Grant management software, like Instrumentl, presents the most effective and reliable way to manage your grant calendar. Here's why:

  • Automated Updates: No more manual entries. The software automatically tracks and updates the grant timeline for you.
  • Centralized Platform: All your grant information and deadlines are stored in one place, making it easy to monitor and manage.
  • Source Research: Instrumentl allows you to easily research and match your nonprofit with relevant funders.
  • Alerts and Reminders: Receive timely reminders for upcoming deadlines so you never miss an opportunity.

With Instrumentl, you can say goodbye to the inefficiencies of traditional methods and embrace a more efficient, organized approach to managing your grant calendar.

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What’s Included in a Grant Calendar?

For your grant calendar to be effective, here’s what it should include:

Grant Name

This is the title of the grant you're applying for.

Funding Organization

The name of the organization or foundation offering the grant. This information allows for quick reference and contact.

LOI or Application Deadline

The cut-off date for submitting your letter of intent or application. It's crucial for ensuring timely submissions.

Internal Deadlines

These are self-imposed deadlines for researching, writing, and reviewing applications ahead of the actual submission deadline. They help structure your work process effectively.

Amount You Plan to Request

The funding amount you intend to ask for. This allows for better financial planning and management.

Funding Purpose

Whether the funding is for a project or program, this clarifies what the grant money will be used for.

Owner

The person or team responsible for the grant application. It helps to assign responsibilities and accountability.

Primary Contact at the Funding Organization

The primary person of contact in the funding organization. This information allows for direct communication when necessary.

Link to Grant Page

The URL of the grant information page. Useful for quick access to detailed information and updates.

Project Status

The current standing of your grant application or project. This helps monitor and track the progress of your grant applications.

Notes

Any additional comments, reminders, or important details related to the grant. These provide extra context and reminders when necessary.

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How to Create a Grant Calendar in 5 Steps

Creating a grant calendar might seem like a daunting task, but with a step-by-step approach and the right tool, it becomes a breeze. 

Creating a grant calendar with Instrumentl is a game-changer. It streamlines the grant management process with automated updates, a centralized platform, and timely reminders, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.

Here, we'll walk you through the process of setting up your grant calendar.

The first step is to create a free trial on Instrumentl. This will allow you to start searching for grants suited to your cause. 

Pro tip: Create a free Instrumentl account and access grant search features for 14 days.

Step 1: Set Up Your Nonprofit Within Instrumentl

Once you've signed up, navigate to the dashboard and create a new project. Click the box that says “+ Project.” This is where you'll begin your search for grants.

navigate to the dashboard and create a new project

From here, you’ll be prompted to add a bit of info describing your project details. 

In this case, you’ll want to complete the “Project Name” and select the button that says “Tracking” only. Click “Create Project.”

Project Name

Step 2: Upload Your Grants to Instrumentl

Next, set up your first tracking project. Unlike setting up matches, this step focuses on tracking only. 

Instrumentl allows you to save hours of manual data entry by uploading your existing grant spreadsheet using this grant timeline template

This process takes a couple of days, depending on the number of grants you're importing. But you also have the option to add each grant individually.

Download The Grant Spreadsheet Upload Template

First, navigate to the “Tracker” tab of your project.

navigate to the “Tracker” tab

On the right-hand side of your screen, select “Add new.” From the drop-down menu, click on “Import your grants spreadsheet.”

Import your grants spreadsheet

Add Your Grants To The Spreadsheet Template

Follow the prompts to upload your desired spreadsheet. Be sure to copy any and all rows from your current grant spreadsheet into our template.

Add Your Grants To The Spreadsheet Template

Upload Your Spreadsheet of Grants

Select “Finish upload,” and sit back and relax while Instrumentl formats your spreadsheet. 

Upload Your Spreadsheet of Grants

Step 3: View Your Grants Calendar

Once you've uploaded your grants, you can view them in the Calendar view within Instrumentl. 

Here, you'll see all your grant deadlines and work within Instrumentl’s calendar view. 

Review Your Calendar

To see the calendar, select “Calendar” from the dashboard.

Review Your Calendar

Here, you’ll find all of your upcoming grants formatted in a nice, easy-to-read calendar. 

Review Your Calendar

You can see deadlines, add tasks, and use filters such as by status (e.g., Researching vs Application Submitted). 

Edit Grant Details

You can edit details on individual grants by clicking on them.

Edit Grant Details

From there, all the applicable grants will be shown on your calendar. 

all the applicable grants will be shown on your calendar

Step 4: Grow Your Grant Opportunities By Enabling Matches

To expand your grant opportunities, you’ll want to allow matches. Using Instrumentl’s matching feature will allow you to quickly find grants that are a good fit for your organization. This action saves you countless hours of internet digging.

Find Matches for Your Project

First, select “Edit” from the “Project Actions” button.

Find Matches for Your Project

This time, instead of choosing “Tracking,” you’ll want to click “Matches & Tracking.”

Matches & Tracking

Next, you will be prompted to provide details about your nonprofit to help find the most suitable grant options. 

After you’ve filled out this form, click “Save and Exit” to see your matches. 

Save and Exit

Step 5: Save Grants to Your Grant Calendar

Finally, you can review your matched grants and save them to your grant calendar. With Instrumentl, you can sift through potential grants in a format similar to an email inbox.

 You can quickly analyze each grant's relevancy and save the ones you're interested in, which will then be reflected in your calendar.

Save Your Grant Projects

To save your grants, simply click on the "Save" button located at the bottom of the screen. 

Once clicked, a pop-up window will appear where you can write any notes about the grant that you would like to revisit later.

Save Your Grant Projects

With Instrumentl, you can organize your saved grants by marking them with tags like "Researching."

Researching

This feature helps to segment your grant opportunities according to your progress and makes it easier for you to keep track of your research.

Leverage Your Grant Tracker To Stay Organized

Once you have saved various grants to your grant calendar, they all get stored in a dedicated tracker section. You can easily access this by navigating to the "Tracker" tab in your dashboard. 

Here, each grant is listed with all its essential details — from deadlines to the stage of application. The tracker also displays any notes or tags you've added, making it a one-stop shop for managing your grant progress. 

Leverage Your Grant Tracker To Stay Organized

Better Manage Your Grants with a Grant Calendar

Instrumentl helps you stay on top of your grant deadlines, track project status, and even grow your grant opportunities –all in one user-friendly platform, far superior to manual spreadsheet updates.

But the process of grants management doesn't stop here. To truly master this art, it's crucial to keep learning and adapting.

Continue your journey towards grant management excellence by reading our comprehensive guide, How to Manage Grants. Packed with insights, tips, and strategies, this blog post will equip you with the knowledge and tools to effectively manage your grants and maximize your nonprofit's funding potential.

Ryan Carruthers

Ryan Carruthers

Ryan Carruthers, a Content Marketer at Instrumentl, specializes in unraveling the world of grants and nonprofit success.

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