The Mission-Driven Playbook: Managing Your Grant Portfolio
As a grant-making organization, your North Star is impact. To create the most impact possible in your focus areas, you must channel funding into the best programs and partners.
But, the grant management lifecycle is complex and resource intensive. And organizational inefficiencies throughout could be limiting your potential impact.
There are a ton of potential pitfalls throughout the lifecycle. Inefficiencies can create an unnecessary back-and-forth with applicants. Disorganized review processes can delay funding awards. Confusing systems for collecting reports from grantees adds countless hours to your team’s workload, and seriously delays the full picture of your impact. Plus, legislative and reporting missteps can put your organization under fire.
Several out-of-box software solutions solve a piece of the puzzle, but there are none that can do it all. That means disparate data systems — for example, one for application submission, one for grant tracking, and another for monitoring and evaluation. Each system has a cost — in terms of both time and money. Combining the data in these different systems adds an even greater burden.
With completely customizable solutions including Grant Management, Salesforce can solve your organization’s challenges throughout the grant management lifecycle. Let’s explore how.
Take the Single System Approach
After implementing Salesforce, you can say goodbye to the complex and imperfect web of disparate data systems you’ve collected. Instead, Salesforce can be your main system for storing all the data that helps you manage the grant lifecycle.
Raise Grantee Visibility via Accounts and Contacts
When you have a collection of systems duct taped together, there’s no easy visibility into your grantees. But with standard Salesforce functionality, anyone on your team can understand a grantee‘s holistic relationship to your organization through:
- Capturing all the details of an organization and its relevant employees on Account and Contact records.
- Easy implement add-ons so your team can track emails, phone calls, meetings, or events with grantees.
- Visibility for anyone who needs to see this information, exactly when they need to see it within the system.
That level of visibility can help you build and maintain relationships with your grantees and make tough decisions about funding. In addition, you’ll see greater efficiencies throughout the grant administration processes.
Improve the Grantee Experience
While Salesforce is making your team’s lives easier, it can also improve the overall experience for grantees:
- Grants Management gives you access to a customizable website to market your grant opportunities, collect applications, and engage with potential grantees — all under your brand.
- Within the portal, grant seekers can find the details of your mission and the objectives of your funding. They can apply through web forms which are automatically stored in Salesforce, and can track the progress of their applications. This process limits the need for back and forth with applicants.
- If awarded funding, they can submit progress reports that automate their impact tracking.
Streamline Application Review
Reviewing grant applications can be tedious and confusing. There are likely several due diligence steps for vetting applicants and their initiatives. You may need to bring in outside stakeholders to assist with review. Or, you might choose to rely on other systems to confirm that an organization is a good fit for funding.
With Salesforce, you have the power to systematize all your processes in one place. Whether it’s collected through a grantee portal or another system, Salesforce can streamline your application review:
- Applications appear in a central place for review. Here, reports can help you identify those applicants with standout responses.
- Based on your organizational processes, necessary stakeholders can have access to application responses, along with a method for capturing their review notes and scoring applications.
- Communicate directly with grantees when more information is needed and be able to collect that additional information in one place.
- Simple automations eliminate manual, repetitive tasks, communication updates, and other data-driven processes.
- Integrations can pull in publicly available data on an applicant: media hits, social media history, and information from non-profit watchdogs like Guidestar or Charity Navigator.
Historical grant applications and award history can be connected to the organization and viewed alongside the current application. Armed with this data, your team can make more informed decisions about grant awards.
Track Your Portfolio
When you use Salesforce to manage your grant portfolio, you’ll be able to keep grants moving throughout the funding lifecycle. You do this with several facets of the lifecycle, specifically:
- Compliance — Organize and automate compliance around your grant awards. Automatically track compliance requirements, monitor completion of steps in the process, and send automatic updates to grantees.
- Integrations: With simple integrations, you can continue to use software like Docusign, while storing required documents in the right places with appropriate permission levels, directly inside of Salesforce.
- Accounting: Accounting and finance software integrations enable you to monitor grant distribution schedules and payments. That way, you ensure that organizations are receiving timely distributions.
Streamline Monitoring and Evaluation
For your team and your organizations, Salesforce can relieve major burdens around M&E:
- Make it easy for your grantees to submit on-time progress reports with automated reporting reminders.
- With integrated forms that collect data on the indicators that matter for the program you’re funding, you’ll save your team time and make it easy for them to work with the results.
- When submitted, the data from organizations will be stored in Salesforce in a format that can be easily pulled into reports and dashboards that give your team the insights they need.
- By storing applications and target outcomes of the programs you’re funding, you can easily measure whether those targets are on track. You can also identify where you may need to check in with a grantee on progress.
- With all the reporting in one place, you can view outcomes by focus area, region, indicator, or any other variable you store in the system.
Salesforce can streamline the entire grant management lifecycle for your organization. It will also help you improve the process and experience for your grantees over time.
If you’d like to explore solutions to your organization’s challenges around grant management, please contact Lab5.