Grant Acquittals should be viewed as the first step in your next grant application.
A well written, honest evaluation and report of your funded project will go a long way to building your relationship with a funding body and providing a good foundation for the next application you submit.
Another step in the relationship building process is to talk to a funding project officer before you start the acquittal. This conversation is part of the ongoing contact with staff from the funding body – before the application process, during the drafting of your application, negotiating any grant agreement and throughout the delivery of the project.
Your acquittal process should begin as soon as you receive notification of a successful grant application.
Read through the documentation of your grant agreement and the original successful grant application.
Note in particular any special conditions for reporting
Discuss this information with a funding officer.
Make a list of the material your funding body will look for in its acquittal (this is most typically photographic or video documentation or an audio recording of the event).
Make sure this list becomes part of the project management plan for the funded event or activity. Required reporting material is simpler to plan for than retro-fitting once the project is complete.
Many grant acquittals are now completed online and this often involves word limits. It is a good idea to compose the answers to the questions in a Word document first to ensure you say what you need to say and stay within these limits.
Always start the written descriptive part of any acquittal as soon after the event finishes as possible, while things are still fresh in your mind. If this is not possible, as a minimum create a list of dot points outlining major successes and challenges of the project to refer to later.
Avoid overestimating the success or impact of your project. It is just as important to honestly discuss the failures or challenges experienced when delivering a project as it is to highlight its strengths.
For financial reporting, always use the last approved budget as the template for reporting against actuals.
If a project has had more than one funding source, create a master financial reporting template (see Budgeting for Events for an example template), then ensure the figures for any individual funding acquittal can be matched against this template.
Remember an audited project may require an extra two weeks. It also requires you to ensure the auditor takes this fee into consideration when completing their audit of all project costs.
When applying for a grant, give the project ending date as 2 months after the event/activity finishes. This, coupled with a normal 12 week acquittal period, will give enough time for all costs to have been finalized.