Obtaining and retaining grant funding for an afterschool program requires accurate record-keeping, both for the grant proposal and for proof of program performance. Using paper-based records requires dedicating staff hours to creating and maintaining the records and finding data errors. With so many files, it's easy to lose documentation, especially in the large space you'll need to store everything.
Software is available that can streamline the reporting process as well as integrate with other software solutions to share data for decision-making.
Overview: Afterschool Program Funding
According to an EDWeek article, a 2009 Wallace Foundation study found that the average price of running a high-quality, out-of-school-time program ranged from $3,450 to $3,780 per student. Costs varied significantly based on location, grade level, the length of the program, how often a student attends, and whether a school or a community group ran the program.
Most programs receive funding from a combination of sources:
- 16% - Federal, state, and local grants
- 3% - Foundations
- 2% - Private donations
- <1% to 2% - Community organizations
- 76% - Families paying tuition
American After 3 PM, a recent study from the Afterschool Alliance, revealed that parents spent an average of $113.50 per week on afterschool programs. Almost two-thirds of low-income parents said affordability kept them from taking advantage of most programs.
Grants in General
Many grants have specific instructions for developing a grant submission, often down to the size and type of font used in the documentation, the spacing, and whether or not to staple papers together. You may be required to prove that the program you run is successful or productive, which means tracking the right metrics and measures.
The largest source of afterschool grant funding is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Initiative that was implemented as part of the No Child Left Behind. In 1998, the program provided $40 million in funding; in 2015 that amount had grown to $1.15 billion.
These days, the 21st CCLC grants are given over to the states to distribute, so state regulations and requirements govern grant submissions. Every state has a different set of criteria and method of receiving proposals, and requirements for programs vary.
Other grants available for afterschool programming include the Amgen Foundation, which awards up to $10,000 to millions of dollars towards science education.
The Awesome Foundation grants $1,000 to projects to expand and challenge our understanding of individual and communal potentials.
The McCarthy Dressman Education Foundation supports class and extracurricular programs to improve student learning up to $10,000 a year for three years. The PeyBack Foundation created by Peyton Manning provides awards of up to $10,000 for youth development programs in four states.
Typically, an afterschool program must meet the following criteria:
- Operates three to five days a week
- Tracks and reports attendance to show youth participation on a consistent basis
- Offers enrichment activities, daily homework help, or other activities or services
- Conducts outreach to attract and retain youth involvement and engagement
- Clearly defines outcomes
- Measures program implementation and progress
Many grant programs also have restrictions on program eligibility:
- No political advocacy or lobbying
- Generally no religious institutions, unless they offer non-sectarian activities benefiting the whole community
- No individuals
- Funds cannot be used for political campaigning nor endowment funds
- Funds cannot be used for travel, event sponsorship, or private foundations
- Funds cannot be used for capital improvements, computer purchases, or scholarship funding
As mentioned above, requirements and qualification criteria differ according to state regulations.
To take advantage of grants, the right information must be available to be integrated into a grant proposal. Technology use streamlines your efforts.
Since most funders analyze programs and allocate funds according to their performance against predefined evidence, using a technology solution to gather and report relevant data works much better than a series of anecdotal stories.
Software programs can help you visualize data through dashboards and graphical reports to help funders understand your program and its success. Also, technology increases efficiency because data can be gathered and integrated much more quickly than if the reports were created manually.
Besides increased availability of data for mid-year and year-end reporting, effective daily reporting becomes possible.
Grant programs often want to measure a standard set of elements.
- Daily attendance
- Daily average attendance
- Average number of afterschool hours a given student attends
- Retention data per student
- School data
- YPQA and SAYO data
You need a method of efficient organization and reporting from multiple data sources. Software can expand the number of data elements available to system leaders and improve communication of data purposes and system-level goals to providers.
Intuitive software reduces the time required for training in a high-turnover position.
EZReport Fits the Requirements
EZReports is a software solution developed to meet the needs of grant-funded afterschool programs. The array of features tracks, monitors, and manages the type of information you need to develop a solid grant proposal and retain grant funding. All the information is available quickly and easily.
EZReports tracks activity management at the program and site level, tracks attendance including for drop-in programs in middle and high school, and follows a large number of outcome metrics. With EZReports you can:
- Manage and report all data for all GPRA indicators
- Upload and analyze day school grades
- Upload and analyze test scores for district and state assessments
- Manage DOE teacher surveys for smartphone and tablet
Any metric and indicator you need to prove the program is effective and meets outcomes can be presented in a report format available from EZReports.
EZReports is compatible with the new 21st APR system. You can generate GPR (Grant Profile Report) and APR (Annual Progress Report) data for multiple grantee and state-level users. APR reports are available by reporting period, you can generate reports based on new activity categories in the 21st APR system, and each report has a built-in data check to ensure report accuracy.
EZReports has over 40 standard report templates and formats, including student demographics, contact information, and medical documentation. You can take advantage of 30 to 40 different ad hoc reports. All data can be exported to an Excel or PDF document.
Surveys are customizable to fit your specific program, and you can create multiple user levels of access for security purposes. EZReports seamlessly integrates with EZChildTrack childcare management software with automated data transfer and access to features such as a parent portal and online registration.
EZReports comes with online help tools, an integrated support system, and a highly responsive and dedicated support team to help you with any questions or issues you may have.