Grantmaking can be a complex and time consuming venture, even for relatively small or mid-sized grantmakers, to say nothing of the foundations paying out grants in the millions or even billions of dollars. Managing the entire process – tracking scores of applications, reviewers, requirements, and payments all simultaneously – takes serious planning, foresight, and a good grants management software solution.
Grants management software options now include custom-designed databases, off-the-shelf grants management systems, and increasingly, cloud-based software solutions.
“At its simplest, a grants management system needs to do two things: store basic information about grant projects so you can easily retrieve it (for example, name, sponsor, and contact) and track the project’s status as it moves through your organization’s process,” according to Idealware’s 2013 Consumer’s Guide to Grants Management Systems.
In addition, every grants management solution should provide critical functionality, including:
Core CRM - A robust CRM engine allows you to connect all of your organization’s data to the people and organizations that matter to you.
Good User Interface - An intuitive user interface allows everyone in the organization to interact easily and intuitively with all the data they need, giving each team member the perspective, understanding, and tools to leverage the power of data.
Grantee access/Online application - A grantee portal provides a one-stop shop for grantees to manage all interactions with your foundation. External organizations can securely create, submit, and review LOIs, requests, and reports.
But as time advances, so too does technology, and today grants management software should provide so much more than a simple CRM, tracking features, and an online application.
Modern grants management software should give organizations one-click-away access to their own grantmaking data (geographical, program area, funds awarded, and more), revealing insights that can revolutionize the way philanthropies think about they way they do business. And as user interfaces become more accessible, and mobile technology becomes commonplace, all foundation staff have easier access to the data they need, anytime and anywhere.
This kind of modern grants management software empowers and even encourages funders to be transparent, accessible, and ultimately more connected to their grantees.
The values of transparency and real-time connectedness that we see in the business and consumer environment today are informing how philanthropy works now and into the future. Combine these values with the rapid pace of technological advances and we're poised to see an era where philanthropic dollars make unprecedented impact in a near frictionless grantmaking ecosystem. How does your grants management solution stand up?