5 Tips for Effective Healthcare Grantmaking

The health needs of your community could change in an instant. An extreme weather event could impact access to food and clean water. Widespread layoffs could keep community members from being able to afford quality care. And an outbreak of a contagious disease like COVID-19 can require more prompt needs and care as you navigate the unexpected.   

With careful planning, agile processes, and responsiveness in your grantmaking process of giving can help you react in a more thoughtful way. That’s why it’s important to work closely with your grant partners so you can get ahead of possible crises and create the best possible impact story.

By following these five best practices, you’ll create a more efficient healthcare grantmaking process where you can anticipate evolving community needs and be more agile in your funding.

1. Create an effective grantmaking cycle.

Think of grantmaking as an investment where you want social return. From that perspective, you can stress streamlined workflows and process automation, because time is a cost to your return. Empower your grantees and reviewers so they know the process and expectations and do your best to meet those deadlines and communication expectations. Use portals and your website to provide open access to the information they need when they need it.

2. Measure your outcomes and tell your story.

In healthcare organizations, it is vital to be able to show quantitative measurement of your impact, whether you are showing the community benefit impact, tracking dollars spent delivering direct services or reporting back to donors.

But are you telling the right outcome story? The work you’re funding isn’t just providing 15 free health screenings a month—it’s decreasing your community’s complications from high-blood pressure by 5%. When you can connect your work to a bigger story, it is easier to communicate impact, which will result in more success for your organization and your grantees.

3. Connect with others though open APIs.

Open technology connects you to the information you need faster. Aggregating all of your data can help streamline your tasks and encourage analysis across multiple sources. To get started, define your technology strategy and what is important for your organization when it comes to the software you use. Then map out your technology and data ecosystem so you know what you use and how it connects. The final piece is to identify the data you need to guide your grantmaking, both internally and what you would get from grantees and other external resources.

Once you have that outlined, see where you can connect your systems through APIs to pull data in and across platforms. This cuts down on errors and time spent on manual data entry while also decreasing the time it takes for actionable data to get in your system.

4. Strengthen your collaboration with grant partners.

Ongoing communication and access to information is the key to a successful relationship with your grant partners. Take some time to understand your process from their perspective. Do you know how long it takes your grantees to complete your application process? Is it easy for grantees to provide consistent updates after the grant has been awarded?

If your application process is too cumbersome, you might be losing great grantees. If reporting expectations are not clear or too hard to complete, grantees will not provide timely updates. Open lines of communication and a clear process will set your foundation up for a long-term relationship with your grantees.

5. Augment your reporting with data analysis.

One data point is interesting. But when you connect it with first-hand stories from your grant partners and historical data over time can, you start to see patterns and trends. As you build reports, make sure you can answer the question: How well does our grantmaking align with our strategy and stated tactics? The answer will be the key to ensuring that you’re getting the social return on investment you want.

Effective Grantmaking Starts with Effective Technology

From intentional applications to intuitive reporting, you need a grant management system that works the way your organization works. Choose configurable grant management software where you can personalize the fields, hide the functionality you don’t need, and build a system that grows with you.

Ready to take your grantmaking to the next level? Check out our whitepaper, 3 Ways Dashboards Help Grantmakers Can Make Sense of Their Data.

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