An enormous amount of time and energy is spent through the business development and project management cycles of contracts. You have to find appropriate opportunities, propose unique technical solutions for those opportunities, then negotiate and execute contracts on the opportunities for which you are selected. Then you have to perform the work. After that, you are usually a part of a process aimed at understanding how effective the work was in solving the problem identified by the client and how well you performed. When you sit back and consider it, from the time you identify a potential opportunity to the time you have completed the execution portion of the project, the amount of energy you expend is truly amazing.
Eventually, however, every project or program comes to a close. For a one-off opportunity, like a research project, there’s usually a clean beginning and ending. For longer-term programs, donor clients often already have their next steps in mind and so close-out involves administrative formalities but can also include aspects of connecting to the next phase of programming. For truly long-term, and large-scale initiatives, a closeout may be akin to a reflection point in the project at which the organization or client can pause to assess what’s been accomplished and how to take the next step.
Regardless of the type of project, you need to make sure you properly close out your project administratively. This includes:
- Receiving your Final Payment
- Sending thank you’s to everyone you’ve worked with on the project
- Asking for a reference for the work you’ve done
- Asking if there is more business with this client
- Cleaning up data
- Storing data in secure place
- Recording information for key contacts from project
- Creating marketing material (update CV, PPRs, website, social media)