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Program Overview: Getting the Big Picture

By Kate Caldecott

Are you funding the same organisations year after year? Are some of your administrative practices overly cumbersome for applicants and grantees? Have your programs become stagnant?


Periodically getting an overview of each of your grant programs is a good way to monitor these issues. It can reveal the strengths and limitations of your program design to ensure that your program is doing what it’s intended to do.


Note that a program overview report is not a replacement for program evaluation . Program evaluation entails collecting data via your grantees to measure program outcomes. In contrast, a program overview is a high level look at your grant program. It provides insight into program uptake, accessibility, budget policy, highlights and challenges. You can use the results of your report to make needed adjustments to your program guidelines.


Grant program overview report



Put together an overview of the grants awarded under each program category. Include metrics such as:

This information will answer the most basic questions as to how you are doing at getting the money out the door and into the community, as well as highlighting any major administrative problems that need to be addressed. You may want to assemble this information in a graph or table to show trends over time.



You will also want to check in on who your grantees are. It’s very easy to fall into a pattern of funding the same organisations over and over again. This isn’t necessarily bad provided they do good work. However, repeatedly funding the same people can stifle innovation and lead to the impression of a closed loop that’s difficult for new comers to break into. Research by AIGM indicates that even the small grants are being swooped up by large organisations



Taking a closer look at budget and financial information can shed light on the demand for funding, as well as the impact your funds have on leveraging other resources. Collect information on:


Highlights, Challenges and Lessons Learnt

Finally, include some qualitative information about what’s working, what’s not and what lessons have been learned over the past program year. You can collect this information from your grant program officers as well as from applicant. Surveying applicants to discover their insights, challenges and pain points in the application or grant management process can lead to process improvements, better communication and improved targeting of your grant programs.

If you would like assistance developing a program overview report, please contact me at Kate@katecaldecott.com.au or 0447 227 598.


See how your grant program stacks up. Together we'll review your grant program, how SmartyGrants can benefit your organisation, and how your program is performing.



Learn the 7 steps to build a stronger and better program evaluation. In this special Guide Kate Caldecott takes you step-by-step through the process to ensure that your Program Evaluation hits the mark.



  • Kate Caldecott worked with me on Australia Post’s Our Neighbourhood Community Grants program. She assisted with the grant process design and SmartyGrants grant management implementation.

    In working with Kate, I would describe her as being: passionate, knowledgeable, dedicated to community with a willingness to going the extra mile, above and beyond. It is always a pleasure to work with Kate.

    - Erin McKenzie, Community Events and Partnerships Advisor, Community Relations Australia Post
  • This is the perfect opportunity for me to thank you, in particular, ….. for the outstanding customer service you have all provided. You have not only helped us use SG effectively, but kept the panic at bay. There is lots more to learn about what SG can do and I’m sure we will be in regular contact …….

    Thanks to you all – you are fabulous!

    - Debra Slater-Lee, Programs Manager State NRM Office (WA)
  • Being a complete newbie on all aspects of Smartygrants I was daunted by the task of being completely responsible for the outcome of a major grant funding round at the Shire. I did the training and it still did not make much sense to me until I had my first session with Kate. The way in which Kate was able to clarify, explain and help me understand the rationale and functions of the system was brilliant, her manner always patient and professional, and her willingness to transfer knowledge and information commendable. Thanks to Kate I am now a confident user of Smartygrants

    - Marilyn A Gippsland VIC
  • Kate’s involvement in the final stages of the major review of two of Sunshine Coast Council’s funding programs added significant value to our work. As well as identifying additional sources of information for analysis, and suggesting enhancements to data presentation, Kate provided a professional critique of the review, validating our analysis of the review findings and the options identified in our report to Council.

    - Margaret Cattanach Team Leader Community Connections Community Services Sunshine Coast Council