The Ultimate Grants Glossary For Nonprofits

Applying for and being awarded a grant can be a stressful process, especially if it requires learning a whole new vocabulary. Refer to our grants glossary to decode 13 frequently used terms.


A contractual agreement of changes to be made to the terms of the original grant agreement, signed by both the grantee and grantor.

The sending of grant funds to your organizations. Funds are often sent via wire, FXecute, or check.

Due diligence
Process that many grantors follow to ensure grantees are performing charitable work in transparent and accountable manner, and that they meet local requirements for registration with their local government.

Expenditure period
The timeframe outlined in your grant period during which you are able to spend grant funds.

Financial report
An update on how all grant funds were expended. It should report only on grant funds received, not overall project or organizational funds. Should there be any shifts in expenditure or variations in line items, this should be clearly reflected in the report along with an explanation for such variation.

Grant agreement
This is a contractual arrangement between a grantor and grantee outlining the expectations for a grant. The grant agreement should include expenditure period, terms and conditions, reporting details, and disbursement schedules. It is the first resource for any questions you have regarding grant expectations.

The implementation stage of the grant process which includes the execution of the project. During this phase you will perform the work that was outlined during your grant proposal.

Line item
The specific line in the proposed budget that describes a given grant activity and the exact amount you will spend on this activity.

Midterm report
A midterm report, including narrative and financial portions, may be required by a grantor at the halfway point of a grant expenditure period to share project successes and/or challenges. The midterm report may be tied to additional disbursements. Expectations for reporting are outlined in the grant agreement.

Narrative report
A report describing the grant activity implemented to date that also highlights any challenges experienced during the implementation period and if necessary, provides recommendations for shifts in scope.

Payment schedule
The specific dates and timeline in which your grant funds are expected to be sent. Disbursements are often dependent on approved reports.

The staff member at your organization that has the authority to sign the grant agreement.

An organization that is granted funds from the primary grantee.

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