Even if you are unsuccessful in winning a grant you apply for, the proposal you've written contains valuable template material for future proposals. Chances are you'll encounter similar questions the next time you apply for funding and you'll want easy access to answers you've already written. Storing your proposals in an easily accessible place and organizing them so content can be quickly located will allow you to apply for funding as efficiently as possible.
Store proposals in the cloud
Keeping grant proposals in a cloud-based file storage platform has many advantages over storing them on an individual device such as a laptop or desktop computer. In the cloud, teams can collaborate much more easily because they don't need to continually ask each other where to find materials and share files as attachments. Working in the cloud also allows everyone to centralize work, which reduces document duplication and confusion. Lastly, cloud-based storage mitigates the risk of data loss in the event of staff turnover or a damaged, lost, or stolen device.
File by year, then grantor name
Generally, it makes sense to group your proposal content by year, and within each year's folder, by grantor name. For example, in a folder called, 2021 Grant Proposals, you would find alphabetically organized subfolders each with the name of a grantor. Inside each grantor's folder you should have a folder for written narrative content, a folder for budgetary and financial documents usually required, a folder for any other miscellaneous supporting documents such as images and reports, and a folder for all the final submitted versions of the grant proposal.Pro tip: When storing the final submitted versions of a grant proposal, it is a best practice to use immutable document formats that cannot be easily altered, such as PDF and password protected spreadsheets. Many grant portals allow you to download a summary PDF version of your grant proposal as a receipt for your submission.
This may seem like a lot of extra work, but in reality it's a few extra minutes of work to get organized, which will save you hours of headache later on.