Problems happen. If you encounter one in the project, go to the funder as quickly as possible to explain what happened. Don’t let them find out through some other source. Most funders will be understanding and try to work with you if—and we emphasize if—you have been open, honest, and up-front with them from the beginning and behave that way about the problem.
Don’t wait until the end of the year, or the end of the grant period, to say, “Sorry, we didn’t meet our objectives.” The funder must know what’s happening early on and may be able to offer help. Or, at the very least, they will adjust expectations for the project’s outcome.
When this involves unforeseeable costs, don’t try to run your program on a serious deficit. Private sector funders may be flexible and respond with additional funds—yet another reason why good relationships are important from the beginning. Some public agencies also may provide supplemental funds, though not as often. Even in the case of public agencies, the personal relationships are important. Many project officers intervene behind the scenes for the projects and people they favor.