For Nonprofits
Common Grant Application and User Guide
FAQs
Common Grant Report Format
Who Accepts the CGA?
For Grantmakers
FAQs
Tool Kit
Background
CGA Revisions
Acknowledgements
CGR Revisions
Acknowlegements: CGR
Endorsements
FAQs for Grantmakers

Background

 

What is new?

 

Using the Common Grant Report

 

Benefits to Nonprofits

Background 

Why change the Common Grant Report? The Common Grant Application was revised in 2008 and this change in the Common Grant Report (CGR) corresponds to those revisions. Additionally, the revised CGR has been changed to gather more relevant, non-repetitive information in a more streamlined fashion.

Is this something entirely new ?  No, the Common Grant Report builds upon the tried and trusted tool that has served Colorado (and many national) grantmakers well since its launch in 2002. Today’s version is an outgrowth of the older version and corresponds to the Common Grant Application, which was revised in 2008.

Who created the revised CGR? The effort was led by an inclusive group of funders, nonprofit leaders, and technical assistance organizations that represented a wide array of large and grassroots organizations across many funding areas. See Acknowledgments for a complete list of participants.

What was the process for revising the CGR? The revision process included that surveys, focus groups, beta-testing, and other strategies to make sure the tool would be user-friendly and comprehensive as possible.

When will the CGR be revised again? We anticipate that the CGR will be revised again when there is a need to do so. The last edition of the CGR served Colorado for seven years and we hope that this document will have a similarly long shelf life.

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What is New?

What are the enhancements to the CGR? The primary enhancement is that the revised CGR is designed to support best practices in the nonprofit sector, streamlining the reporting process for the grant recipients, and allow for reflection on how to improve the organization's operations and programs. The new summary sheet form also allows for easy data entry into most grants management software, whereas the new User's Guide also provides a critical body of knowledge, best practices, and advice for writers as they approach the revised CGR.

In addition to the changes in content, what else is new in the revised CGR? There are two significant new features.

  • Website: The first significant enhancement is the flexible, stand-alone website that houses both the CGA, the CGR, and their accompanying User's Guides. The website is a “one-stop shop” for foundations and grantseekers because it includes all of the accompanying documents and resources including the Common Grant Application.

As a funder, you are able to link to the CGR website and/or place the CGA logo on your website. Most foundations will use this logo as a button to link to the CGR website.

  • User’s Guide: The second significant enhancement is the carefully crafted User’s Guide. The User’s Guide adds clarity to the reporting process – and answers many of the questions that you and your staff have previously had to field regarding grant preparation. Our beta-testing process revealed that both grantmakers and grantseekers found the User’s Guide extremely helpful in improving the clarity and quality of grant reports.

The User’s Guide provides information related to the intention of each component of the CGR for the purpose of helping report writers provide meaningful information. The User’s guide explains the focus of each question and provides commentary on why a particular issue is important.

Lastly, the User’s Guide is designed to mitigate fears many nonprofits have about the grantmaking process by being as transparent and articulate as possible about what grantmakers are looking for. Additionally, the CGR User's Guide emphasizes that there is no one “right answer” - that  grantmakers recognize that all organizations are a work in progress, and that organizations and organizational practices exist along a continuum of sophistication.

How does the enhanced CGR benefit me as a grantmaker? The revised Common Grant Report saves grantmakers time because it condenses the key elements needed to assess a grant recipient's success with the funded grant into one comprehensive three page document (plus attachments). In addition, the CGR allows grantseekers to tell their stories in a more streamlined manner. Finally, grants managers will find the new summary page eases data management and entry.  

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Using the Common Grant Report

Who can use the Common Grant Report? All grantmakers are encouraged to use the CGR. The benefit to our nonprofit partners increases considerably as the number of grantmakers accepting the CGR increases. You need not be based in Colorado, or even do the majority of your funding in Colorado to use the CGR.

How do I get our foundation included on the CGA website to let nonprofits know that we are accepting the CGA? Contact Lauren Price at the Community Resource Center. We will periodically update “Who Accepts the CGA?”.

Can groups of grantmakers use the Common Grant Report? Of course! There is no restriction on groups of grantmakers such as associations of grantmakers, interest groups, coalitions, alliances, etc. In addition, donor advised funds and private family foundations/trusts are encouraged to use the CGR as well. 

Are there tools to help me adopt the CGR or assist me in making changes to my processes? On the website, funders will find a robust Toolkit that includes sample letters to grantees, website language, and more – all to help your foundation adopt the CGR easily and seamlessly.

What if we want to use a modified version of the CGR? Just like the previous version of the Common Grant Report, most grantmakers will use the CGR as a stand alone tool, while others will choose to adapt it to meet the needs of their organization. It is perfectly okay to adapt the CGR to your needs and requirements.

Can I accept the CGR in addition to our own guidelines? Yes. Some foundations will only accept the CGR (i.e., this is the only reporting mechanism they use). Other foundations give nonprofits the choice of submitting the CGR or a final report in another format specific to the grantmaker.

We have current reporting guidelines. How do we make the switch to the new CGR? We encourage you to consider providing a 6 – 12 month transition period during which the foundation will accept either the new CGR or the foundation’s previous application requirements. It may be challenging for nonprofits to have to immediately prepare a new CGR. Many foundations will simply send an email, postcard or letter to their current and former grantees alerting them to the change. These communications generally include the first proposal deadline date on which the grantmaker will accept the new CGR. The Toolkit for Funders provides sample language for communicating with your nonprofit partners to make this step as easy as possible for you.

Is there a CGR logo and how do I use it ? Yes, there is a CGR logo. The logo was created to help identify and brand the CGR among funders and nonprofits. We encourage you to use this logo on your website and in any print materials that you have. The logo is available on the website.

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Benefits to Nonprofits

How will nonprofits benefit from the CGR? Nonprofits will benefit in five ways:

  • The CGR is cost effective: Nonprofits will be able to complete one report that can be tailored to meet the reporting needs of multiple foundations, freeing up more of their time to work on mission, instead of spending their time complying with many foundations' unique reporting requirements.
  • The CGR incorporates new technology: The CGR and its accompanying User's Guide are both available on a stand alone website in an easy-to-use, fillable format.
  • The CGR promotes additional support and resources: The User’s Guide has been created to accompany the Common Grant Report. This comprehensive document provides clarity on the intention of each component of the CGR and offers resources to nonprofits for further exploration and education.
  • The CGR leads to better grant reports: The structure of the revised CGR has more clarity and less repetition than the former CGR, resulting in reports that are more succinct and streamlined. In addition, the CGR allows the grantseeker to tell their story more fluidly and eliminates many of the redundancies that were challenging for both funders and nonprofits.

How will nonprofits know there is a revised CGA? Blast emails will be sent out on August 10, 2009 on a number of comprehensive nonprofit list-serves. In addition, grantmakers are encouraged to communicate with their grantees and refer them to this website for additional information.

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