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How to Track Your Grant Leads

Updated: 3 hours ago

nonprofit prospect tracking

Tracking leads, including potential funders and grant opportunities, is essential for nonprofit organizations. Here's why:


Imagine you're juggling multiple roles at a small NGO, from grant writing to program development to office management. Time is precious, and your brain is already overloaded with tasks. When your Executive Director suddenly forwards a grant opportunity due next week, panic sets in. How will you manage this on short notice? And how did this opportunity slip past your radar?


A robust tracking system is key to swiftly accessing vital information and avoiding redundant research. As a nonprofit consultant, I've learned the importance of meticulously tracking leads. Countless times, clients have forwarded emails suggesting potential funders, and having a system to reference previous assessments saves time.


But not all leads warrant note-taking. It's impractical to document every irrelevant funder. However, for those with potential alignment, keeping records of why you decided not to pursue can be advantageous.


At a minimum, here are key data points I recommend tracking for prospects you’ve decided not to move forward with:

  1. Funder Name: Basic yet critical.

  2. Notes: I always include the date I researched the foundation or grant opportunity and document why I chose not to pursue it. Was it eligibility issues or misalignment with the organization's focus?

For relevant prospects, I also like to track the following:

  1. Deadline: Set a deadline for the specific action you need to take.

  2. Status: Enter the status of the task/action.

  3. Strategy: How are you approaching the funder? Phone call, email, LOI, grant application. Enter one of those choices here so that you know what action needs to be taken to move the needle forward.

  4. Person: Assign a person to the Task. You can use the Comments feature in Google Sheets to tag people on your team. This article will teach you how to do so.

  5. Program(s): Which of your organizations program(s) are relevant to the specific funder?

  6. Average Grant Size: What's the average grant size for new grantees? You can find this information on the foundation's Form 990 or through a database like Instrumentl.

  7. Location: I like to keep track of the city and state they're in so that I can take into consideration their time zone when trying to schedule emails or meetings.

  8. Contact Info: Name, Title, and Email of key contact person.

  9. Notes: Use the space to briefly explain your history with the foundation or provide background on the grant opportunity.

Managing this information without sophisticated systems can be daunting. Excel can either be a useful tool or an overwhelming task list. If you’re using Excel, ensure that you make it actionable! Set reminders for yourself to review pending tasks regularly. Check out our free Grant Research Tracker here.


If you’re using a Donor CRM platform, consider moving prospects from Excel into your CRM only after taking specific actions, like requesting a meeting or deciding to proceed with an application. This will ensure easy access to comprehensive records for everyone involved in fundraising efforts.


By implementing these tips and maintaining a streamlined tracking process, nonprofits can efficiently manage prospects and maximize their chances of securing funding!


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