Grantmaking glossary

Application: An application for a grant might also be referred to as an expression of interest, concept paper, proposal or submission. The paperwork might take the form of a formal fixed template, a semi-structured template, a proposal with guidelines, an open statement or a letter of request. The application process sometimes consists of more than one step, such as an initial concept paper or expression of interest followed by a formal application, submission or proposal.

Capability: A grant recipient's capability refers to their skills in relation to the outputs or outcomes expected from the grant project. It typically includes management experience, financial management expertise, and other collective organisational knowledge and skills.

Capacity: A grant recipient's capacity refers to features such as governance structure, legal status, insurance status and so on - the characteristics an organisation needs to deal with a grant.

Emerging organisation: An emerging organisation or entity is one that does not have a proven track record and therefore is not able to easily demonstrate it is able to manage a grant or a grant-related project. In terms of risk management, it is assumed that such an organisation might need additional support and more frequent monitoring.

Established organisation: An established organisation is one that has been operating for at least a few years and has a history of managing grants and grant-related projects. In terms of risk management, it is assumed that such an organisation might require less support, less frequent monitoring, and checks only at critical milestones.

Funding round: The date span when grant applications can be lodged defines a funding round. Some grants programs have one funding round per year, others have as many as four rounds, and others operate a rolling program, which means they assess applications as they are lodged.

Grant: A grant is a non-reciprocal transfer of resources from one entity to another for a specified purpose, and for achieving a certain goal or objective. Grants can take many forms (e.g. funds, equipment, experts) and can be offered and managed in many ways - e.g. competitive tendering, partnerships, highly structured and monitored, or "loose".

Grantmaker: The organisation that makes a grant, usually a government entity or a philanthropic organisation.

Grants program: An administrative arrangement through which a grantmaker aims to achieve its policy objectives.

Grants program owner: The entity responsible for implementing a grants program on behalf of the grantmaker. This is usually a bureaucratic entity such as a government department or agency (on behalf of the government), or a philanthropic organisation.

Grants program manager: The entity responsible for managing the grant process, usually all the way from promotion to evaluation. The entity is usually an implementation team within a government agency, a contracted NGO, a local government, or a philanthropic organisation.

Grants program management system designer: The entity or person responsible for developing the grant management system and accompanying documentation. This is usually one of the members of the grants program management team, but the role can also be outsourced to system developers or consultants such as the N-Carta Group.

Grantseeker: An individual or organisation applying for a grant.

Grant recipient: An individual or organisation in receipt of a grant; may be a community organisation, academic institution, NGO, or designated government agency.

Grant contract: The grant contract (or agreement) is a document that formalises the relationship between the grantmaker and the grant recipient, and sets out their roles and responsibilities. It can take the form of a simple exchange of letters, a funding agreement, a memorandum of understanding, a record of understanding, or a long-form or short-form contract, for example. It sets out what will be done, how, when, and by whom. It is usually agreed to by the grant recipient in exchange for the grant from the grantmaker, through the grants program owner and manager.

Grant project: A funded initiative or activity within the overall grants program.

Grants program management system: A grants program management system is made up of all the policy, procedural and administrative documents, forms, record-keeping and payment systems etc. that are used to deliver the grants program.

Grants program management manual: Such a manual provides everyone involved in delivering the grants program with all the current and agreed documents in one place (on paper, on a computer system or online) and acts as a reference and guide for decision-making.

Monitoring The ongoing scrutiny of funded activities, aimed at determining whether the terms and conditions of the grant are being met and the goal of the grant is likely to be achieved. It tends to refer to action carried out by the grantmaker, not the grant recipient.

Reporting The production of reports and other processes related to achievements, milestones, acquittals, invoices and payments. It tends to refer to action carried out by the grant recipient, not the grantmaker.