Why Sparkrock 365's ERP Helps Nonprofits with Grant Management

A nonprofit worker woman smiling, looking up, and holding onto a grant cheque the organization was award. Sparkrock 365's nonprofit ERP helps nonprofits, charities, and associations with grant management.

While significant to an organization's sustainability, nonprofit grants are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they provide the funding that supports the mission and operations of nonprofits. On the other hand, grant management involves copious amounts of tracking, reporting, and complying. The opportunity cost of managing a grant can be as significant as the funding it provides. It makes both the application process and the post-award management challenging. This is especially true when considering the rigorous demands of audit compliance, which makes managing awarded grants overwhelming.

Many nonprofits focus their efforts on grant writing. However, once organizations win a grant, the real work begins. Funding oversight demands a strategic approach powered by efficient tools. Nonprofits often need a grant management software that simplifies the process while providing the ability to track expenditures, monitor compliance, and report outcomes.

Sparkrock 365 is a comprehensive ERP platform designed to reconstruct how nonprofits approach grant management. Grant life cycles include the initial stages of identifying potential funding opportunities to the final steps of reporting on grant utilization. Sparkrock 365 supports nonprofits through the entirety of grant management.

Grant management is a continuous cycle of pre-award and post-award phases. Each stage has unique requirements and challenges.

Pre-award tracking is both an art and a science. It requires a pre-emptive method to identify the most suitable funders from the extensive pool of options available. Organizations are searching for the "holy grail" of funding: opportunities that offer significant support with minimal strings attached. However, the advantages of obtaining grants come with considerable effort and obligations

Post-award tracking and management involve overseeing the allocation of funds. Nonprofits must comply with funder expectations and effectively execute the promised initiatives. While it may sound simple, deploying and managing funds for multiple years (and with varying fiscal years) can be complex.

Pre-Award Management with Sparkrock 365

To tackle these challenges, Sparkrock 365 introduces a helpful tool for nonprofits that mirrors the opportunity tracking systems used in the for-profit sector. This feature allows organizations to set up their grant cycle stages, including evaluating applications and awarding or denying funds. Each stage is carefully tracked. For example, stages can contain the value of the grant, the probability of success, and the progress toward completion. Grant and project administrators maintain a clear overview of their funding pipeline by leveraging the ERP’s ability to merge data, record interactions, and generate detailed reports and dashboards. No opportunity is lost due to oversight. Plus, strategic decisions can be made based on comprehensive data analysis, guiding nonprofits through the complex grant cycle with precision and insight.

Post-Award Management with Sparkrock 365

To maintain a solid funder-recipient relationship, it is imperative to have post-award tracking for the awarded grant. Sparkrock’s ERP solution offers a full-fledged suite of tools tailored to the type of grant received through its project and grant accounting module. This module links and synchronizes with different dimensions of operations, especially for tracking special projects and grants. The ERP solution helps maintain compliance and satisfy funder commitments. The system uniquely supports multi-year grants and their intricacies. Multi-year grants are challenging for many accounting systems because funders want organizations to follow their fiscal year, not the other way around. However, the ERP platform easily supports these challenges.

Grant Tracking Capabilities with ERP solutions

With Sparkrock 365, nonprofits can rest assured that every aspect of grant management is covered. The dimension-based system offers a strategic advantage. It enables organizations to apply familiar tools—like budgeting, workflow approvals, and security measures—to grant data. This guarantees a streamlined process where every participant, administrator, and finance department member can access and use grant information effectively. 

Moreover, Sparkrock 365 improves grant management by offering customized grant cards and number series paired with user-defined statuses. This feature simplifies the management process and prevents the general ledger from being cluttered by non-awarded grants. Additionally, integrating Power BI dashboards and comment sheets for follow-ups provides a clear, detailed view of grant impacts and outcomes. It promotes comprehensive management from start to finish.

FeaturePre-Award TrackingPost-Award Tracking
ObjectiveIdentify and apply to suitable funders.Manage and comply with grant requirements.
Key ToolsOpportunity tracking, sales funnel management.Project and grant accounting module.
FunctionalityGrant cycle stages (e.g., in progress, applied, awarded), merge data and contacts, update stages, extensive reporting, and dashboards.Link to dimensions for tracking, specialized for multi-year grants, tracking entire project life, budget tracking across grant duration.
BenefitsHelps decide which funders to apply to, structures the application process, evaluates opportunities, and predicts success chances.Promotes compliance with funder commitments, maintains funder relationships, suitable for managing complex multi-year grants.
CustomizationSet up own grant cycle stages, define the estimated value and success chances.Define grant card and number series, create dimension values to prevent clutter, user-defined statuses.
Operational ImpactStreamlines decision-making on which grants to pursue, ensuring efforts are directed towards worthwhile applications.Simplifies financial and project management, ensuring grants are used effectively and within compliance, enhancing the likelihood of future funding.
Additional FeaturesPipeline by salesperson/individuals, reminders to prevent oversights.Summary details and outcomes, comment sheets for follow-ups, Power BI dashboards for in-depth analysis.

Keep Your Nonprofit Audit-Ready At All Times With Grant Tracking Solutions

Audits are not a matter of if but when. Sparkrock 365's ERP solution provides detailed tracking and reporting capabilities to help nonprofits remain audit-ready, especially with complicated grants.

The ERP solution streamlines the audit process significantly for a nonprofit undergoing an audit with the following:

  • Efficient Compilation of Financial Records

Sparkrock 365 enables nonprofits to organize critical documents — statements, bank reconciliations, payroll data, and grant details — all within one ERP system. One system saves time and streamlines audit preparation.

  • Enhanced Collaboration

Integrated database and communication tools within Sparkrock 365 facilitate seamless coordination among audit participants. 

  • Transparency and Accuracy

By consolidating all financial data in one place, Sparkrock 365 minimizes discrepancies and errors, which is crucial for reflecting the nonprofit's integrity and regulatory compliance.

  • Real-Time Financial Insights

Offering real-time financial status insights, Sparkrock 365 allows for ongoing internal audits for proactive issue identification and resolution.

ACCES Employment's experience exemplifies Sparkrock 365's impact. Facing growth in their nonprofit, they needed a robust solution for their financial operations. The ERP solution streamlined their processes, reduced errors, and reinforced efficiency. But also, as Haykaz Ghazanchyan, Director of Finance, notes, "With Sparkrock, it's like having 35 different accounts in one big account.” This unification shows how the ERP facilitates seamless audits and strengthens financial confidence.

Sparkrock 365 is more than just a grant management solution. It’s a single source of truth nonprofits rely on for improving operational efficiency. Its deep industry functionality, powered by Microsoft's cloud technology, gives nonprofits the tools they need to make a difference.

Effective grant management is crucial for nonprofit sustainability and success. Organizations that use ERP solutions confidently navigate the complexities of grant management. They secure the necessary funding and deliver on their promises to funders and communities alike. We encourage nonprofits to explore how the ERP solution can transform their grant management processes and increase funding success and compliance.
For those ready to improve not just grant management but operational efficiency, Sparkrock 365 is here to help. See how we can make your work easier and your impact greater. Book a demo now.

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