More grantmakers are using grants management software than ever before. In fact, the number of users has grown 66 percent since 2013, according to Idealware’s 2016 Consumer’s Guide to Grants Management Systems.
So why this rapid growth? Why are grantmakers moving in droves to adopt grants management software? The answer: impact.
A good grants management system provides foundations and other grantmakers of all sizes the ability to save valuable time, create automated processes that are effective and transparent, and even transform the way they do business, according to the Idealware report. Simply put, when a grantmaker can tame an unruly administrative process, they can ultimately make a deeper impact on the issues they set out to tackle.
Grantmaking can be complex and time consuming, even for small and midsize 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 the right technology can be the glue that holds it all together.
“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.
In addition, every grants management solution should provide critical functionality, including, but not limited to:
- Relationship Management - A robust CRM engine allows you to connect all of your organization’s data to the people and organizations that matter to you.
- Automated Workflows - Automated workflows can streamline the entire grant lifecycle, from initial request through grant approval and reporting. Your system should help you create workflows that feel simple, linear, and fast. They should be adaptable and customizable, allowing you to focus on grantmaking, not paper pushing.
- 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 grants management software can do so much more.
Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, and today grants management software can and should provide 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). And as user interfaces become more accessible, and mobile technology becomes commonplace, all foundation staff should 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 reliance on transparency and real-time connectedness that we see in the business and consumer environment today is informing how philanthropy works. If this sounds like the kind of environment you’d like your foundation to work in, it may be time to adopt a new grants management solution. Find out what else grants management software can help your foundation achieve. Download the Foundation’s Guide to Grants Management Software.