4 elements of progress activities

March 11, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Writing a progress report for a grantmaker can be a stressful activity, but viewing it as a positive step that is helpful to both giver and receiver is a good way to approach the task in a positive frame of mind. There are sound reasons for progress reports, other than playing a game of Gotcha.

Barbara Floersch, director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angels, Calif., suggests that a progress report that will be satisfactory to both grantor and grantee will include the following categories of information:

  • Activities. What is the status of the activities that were planned for the reporting period? Have they all been accomplished on time and as expected? Was it necessary to change an activity? Were some elements only partially accomplished, or were some put on hold for unforeseen reasons?
  • Benchmarks. If the proposal provided benchmarks, identify each and provide data to show how things are going.
  • Outcomes. To the extent possible, address indicators that the program outcomes are being accomplished — in other words, that progress is being made. A discussion of outcomes might also include updates on evaluation activities.
  • Financial information. Progress reports should address finances, and often include a line item chart comparing approved funding levels against expenditures to date. Such a chart is highly informative.