For any next steps with deadlines, create Tasks instead of Notes
Tasks are a great way to keep track of cultivation efforts, LOI submissions, and reporting deadlines.
Tasks will allow you to set up a deadline and get email notifications as the deadline for that task is approaching.
The “Assignee” gets instantly notified, and “Collaborators” get email reminders 2 weeks before the deadline, 1 week before, 2 days before, 1 day before, and 2 days after. If anybody goes into “checkmark” the Task complete, it will stop any future email reminders.
Example Tasks to create
Cultivation: Initiate contact with funder
General: Get Board Approval to apply
Submission: LOI due on ___
Submission: Financial statements sent to funder by ____
Reporting: Q4 report due ____
Use the Sorting and Filtering options to narrow down on Funders - When going through all your grant matches, you can Sort and Filter to prioritize the ones most relevant to you:
narrow down by Funder Type (Corporate vs. Government vs. Private Foundation Grants) or by Funding Use (General Operating grants vs. Capital grants vs. Project/Program).
Duplicate a saved opportunity - If an opportunity applies to multiple projects, save other users’ time by duplicating the entry and saving it to any additional projects. Additionally, keep in mind that you can filter searches by Saved Opportunities across the organizations.
Hide from all projects - If your organization is apparently ineligible for an opportunity, hide it from all projects to save other users’ time. Additionally, keep in mind that you can filter searches to exclude Hidden Opportunities across the organizations.
Our recommendations for when to change a grant Status:
Researching (Potential): looked like potential fit at a glance but still need to determine actual fit, have not yet decided to apply for it / not decided to add it to your grant calendar yet.
Grants left in “Researching” will have deadlines that continuously roll over to the next cycle in your Tracker.
Planned (Upcoming Proposals/In the Works): fairly confident you’ll go after it, and will either go for the next deadline or a later cycle.
Unlike grants in Researching, grants in Planned will not roll over when the deadline passes in your Tracker, because the Submission Goal added signifies “this is the deadline I’m committing to”.
Once you change the Status to “Planned” (or any later stage) you’ll be able to add a personal Submission Goal and Amount Requested.
You can always edit the Submission Goal if you need to push it back.
LOI In Progress/Application In Progress (Active): you’ve started to build a relationship (i.e. started reaching out to the funder, etc.) or started working on an LOI or Proposal.
You could potentially add Documents (i.e. grant proposal template, the submitted LOI, or charts that detail a program’s success).
LOI Submitted/Application Submitted: once you've submitted the LOI or Proposal.
When you change the status to “Submitted,” you will be able to add a “Date Submitted”.
Awarded - Active: you’ve been notified that you won the grant and have outstanding tasks to complete.
Awarded - Closed: you've been notified that you won the grant, and do not have outstanding tasks to complete.
When you change the status to “Awarded,” you’ll be able to add an Amount Awarded and Date Notified.
This would be a good time to add any Reporting Deadlines as Tasks.
You can also “Duplicate” the grant to re-apply in the New Year by going to the bottom right corner “More Options” > Duplicate > Assign to new year > this will create a separate record of the grant.
Declined: you’ve been notified that you were declined the grant
You’ll be able to add a Date Notified.
If the funder gave you feedback on why it was declined, you could add this feedback to the “Notes”.
Abandoned: you started to go after the grant but didn’t actually apply. Perhaps you still want to go after it in the future so you want to keep it on your radar.
Note: grants in "Abandoned" will continue to show up in your Deadline Digest emails every Monday so you stay up to date on the future deadlines.
Where to prioritize time between prospecting vs. tracking/applying/nurturing:
You’ll want to strike a balance between the two so that you are devoting time to apply for a grant and build a relationship with the funder, rather than always searching for new opportunities.
Example: after a team has determined 3 great-fit grants that all have deadlines in the next month (or quarter), efforts will be shifted towards grant writing for those 3 proposals, and relationship building with those funders, and less effort will be spent prospecting new grants.
Cadence to generate Reports:
Example use case for Reports: Bi-weekly reports of grants in “Researching” sent to the leadership team so they can get approval of which grants to go after and change to “Planned”.
Bonus features: PDF reports have clickable Grant names that open a detailed page with that grant's Overview, Eligibility, and 990 data - anyone can access these grant details, even if they do not have an Instrumentl account.
Adding a grant or funder you found outside of Instrumentl to your Tracker
You can look up any funder or grant opportunity in the Quick find, and save them ad-hoc to your Tracker, even if they did not show up in your Matches.
Look for the green + Add New button at the top right of your Grant Tracker. You can click on "Add one" to add one grant at a time, and search for the Funder and Grant Program or Opportunity name.
Using Instrumentl with Excel
If you’ve been keeping spreadsheets of historical grants you’ve won or lost in the past, or grants you’ve previously researched, Instrumentl can import the spreadsheet directly to your Tracker, so you can have everything in one place.
Navigate to the right hand side of your Tracker and click on the green +Add New > Import your grants spreadsheet. Download our Grant Template, fill in the mandatory fields with the grants from your own spreadsheet, then submit the completed Grant Template using the "Import your grants spreadsheet" button. Our team can usually import these within a few business days.
View this video (spreadsheet tutorial starting at the 1:15 mark)
Our Help Center also has tons of documentation (can be accessed by hitting the "Help" section on the bottom left corner of your account). Some helpful links include:
Do you offer live trainings?
Do you have free grant educational resources?
You’ll find free grant writing resources on our Instrumentl Blog. Some favorite articles:
How can I contact support?
If you run into any questions, message us through the chat bubble in Instrumentl or email [email protected]. Our team will get back to you within 24 hours.
We’re very excited to work with you! Please reach out if you need anything.