Grant Funds

What Does a Grant Approval Workflow Look Like?

In this post, we explain what a grant approval workflow looks like, and also recommend the best method for implementing one.

The process of running a grant program can be lengthy and involved. Though a lot of people understand that at the end of a program period money is given away, figuring out the pieces in between creating an application and choosing the recipient requires creating a workflow for your grant payments. A common question we hear is “What does a grant approval workflow look like?” In this post, we aim to not only answer that question, but also explain the best method for implementing one.

What is a Grant Approval Workflow?

Essentially, grant approval workflows are a set of predetermined procedures for authorizing grant payments. In other words, it is all the steps that must be taken from the moment a recipient is chosen to the grant approval letter being sent and the final payment being dispensed. Typically, it requires a significant amount of documentation as well.

A grant approval workflow might look like this:

  1. The grant program creates an application form.
  2. The applicant submits a grant application to the funding agency/grant program.
  3. The agency / program manager reviews the application to make sure it meets their guidelines.
  4. If the application is complete and meets all the guidelines, it is sent to a panel of experts/grant committee for review.
  5. If the application is accepted by the review team, it is sent onward to a final selection committee.
  6. From here, the recipients are chosen and a grant approval email or letter is sent to the intended grantees.
  7. Next, the grant program manager has to secure approval from the donors/funding team to authorize the payments to be sent.
  8. Finally, once payments are authorized, the funds are transferred to the recipients.

If at any point throughout the grant approval communication process there is a hiccup however, some of the steps may need to be revisited. For example, if your team chooses someone as a recipient but the funding team finds any errors with the application form (i.e. fraudulent responses or reasons that could disqualify them as a recipient), another recipient may need to be selected.

Why Are Grant Approval Workflows Needed?


Documented grant approval workflows are needed for a number of reasons. First, an applicant who knows what the approval workflow looks like has better chances of understanding the timelines involved and all of the steps that will be required of them to take. Second, it provides a proverbial checks and balances that ensures the most qualified recipients are chosen. Finally, it provides transparency and accountability which are critical when any amount of money is on the line.

How Do You Determine a Grant Approval Workflow?

When it comes to grant approval workflows, your organization’s may be different than another’s, but the key is to write out a workflow that your team agrees on and can stick to. Even things like how to send a grant denial letter should be included in your workflow. Simply creating a workflow process and documenting every aspect of it will ensure that all of the necessary steps are taken in order to review, approve, and then give funding for a grant.

It’s also important to include the people that are responsible for the various steps of your workflow in your documentation. For example, if you have appointed someone to be in charge of confirming the validity of the supporting documents submitted, their name and contact information should be included in that step of your workflow. Or if one person is responsible for authorizing the ACH transactions from the grant program to the intended recipient, their information should be listed in that step of your workflow.

In identifying the people in charge of each process step, it becomes much easier to identify bottlenecks and see where more support may be needed. Ultimately, by drawing up grant approval workflows the entire approval process becomes significantly more manageable.

How Can You Implement a Grant Approval Workflow Easily?


The most efficient method for implementing grant approval workflows is to use software like SendGrant along with your preferred grant management software. As soon as each process or step in your workflow has been identified and planned out, SendGrant makes it easy to set automation triggers in place. For example, with the software, the grant disbursement step is completely taken care of with the click of a button. And, all of your documentation is easy to put together to run reports for donors, internal team members, and anyone else you need to keep in the loop about your grant program.

Bottom line: Transparency and efficiency are handled effortlessly with the help of grant management software. Want to learn more about what SendGrant can do for your program? Click here to request a demo!Using a Grants Payment Management System

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