Are you looking for tips to elevate your grant management strategy in 2023? Explore three technology tools that can level up your grant fundraising efforts.
By Carl Diesing
Alongside moves management and capital campaigns, grant fundraising is one of the most intricate fundraising activities that a nonprofit organization will undertake.
Rooted in a foundation of strong relationships with grantmaking organizations, successful grant fundraising requires nonprofits to manage and track multiple priorities— specific application requirements, timelines, funding usage guidelines, and reporting expectations. The process is complicated for nonprofits managing a single grant, and that’s before considering that often organizations are juggling many applications and ongoing donor relationships at the same time.
In this guide, we’re going to briefly cover three popular technology tools for grant management. For an in-depth look at grant management and how these tools can assist your nonprofit, explore DNL OmniMedia’s guide on the topic.
Here are the tools we’ll review:
- Salesforce’s foundationConnect
- Blackbaud’s Financial Edge NXT
Whether you’ve received a foundation grant to be used for a specific project or you’ve been accepted into the ongoing Google Ad Grants program, all grants come with ongoing stipulations and reporting requirements after they’re won. Effective grant management is crucial to remain compliant, but it’s incredibly difficult to stay organized with sub-par grant management software.
The following three solutions are distinguished from the competition in the world of grant management software.
Though Salesforce first emerged as a provider of corporate business solutions, the vendor ventured into the nonprofit world when it created its Nonprofit Success Pack— an overlay that configures the main Salesforce constituent relationship management solutions to be useful for philanthropic organizations. Investing in software can help your nonprofit raise more funds.
Since then, several nonprofit-specific Salesforce Apps and overlays have emerged to further align with the specific needs of philanthropy. One example is Salesforce’s foundationConnect, a grant management system created to be useful for both grantmakers and grantees alike.
Salesforce’s foundationConnect elevates the grant management process by:
- Giving grantmakers the tools to track grant funding through all of the major stages in the process, from receiving applications, to dispersing funds, to measuring the outcomes achieved with dispersed funds.
- Providing applicants with a portal made specifically for grantees, in which they can not only submit completed applications but save in-progress applications while documentation is finalized.
- Generating status reports for both grantmakers and grantees at each step in the process, so both sides can access ongoing updates as needed.
As a nonprofit, it’s unlikely that you’ll be purchasing and implementing foundationConnect for your own organization’s software lineup. Rather, you’ll interact with it if you choose to apply for a grant with a foundation that uses the system. Regardless, from the grantee’s perspective, it’s still a solution that will elevate your nonprofit’s grant management process when you encounter it.
Blackbaud’s Financial Edge NXT
Blackbaud is a highly-regarded provider in the world of nonprofit technology, with numerous constituent relationship management, marketing, and fundraising solutions available for mid-sized to enterprise organizations. Its grant management solution is called Financial Edge NXT and was created to assist grantees with post-award management once they’ve been granted funding.
To illustrate the importance of post-award management, consider the example of challenge grants.
Double the Donation’s guide to challenge grants defines them as “donations that are made to a nonprofit by a grant-making party once the nonprofit organization has successfully fulfilled a predetermined list of requirements.” Most often, these requirements revolve around raising a specific amount of funding independently before the nonprofit can receive the grant. But, that initial fundraising often has specific parameters as well— including the timeframe in which it must be raised, which types of donations are eligible, and how updates about the process need to be communicated with the grantor. Meeting the “challenge” is reliant on effective post-award management.
Challenge grants are only one example of the importance of post-award management. Most grants require dispersed funds to be used on a specific timeline and for a project or area of operations. The exact use of dispersed funds needs to be reported back to the funder on a predetermined timeline and in the reporting style of the funder’s choice.
Financial Edge NXT was created with an understanding of the complexity of post-award management and has the following functionality to make the process less harrowing for grantees:
- Multi-Grant Management: Nonprofits that have received numerous grants, each with unique usage, reporting, and timeline requirements, can easily add each grant opportunity to the system to track and meet the requirements.
- Detailed Records: Record the history of the grant, associated projects, usage thus far, and more within each grant record. This information can be used for your annual report.
- Reimbursement Management: In the instance that some costs are to be reimbursed by the grantmaker, grantees can record both direct and indirect costs associated with the grant.
Because Financial Edge NXT can be used to manage numerous grants at once, it’s the ideal solution for nonprofits looking to create evergreen grant fundraising procedures. You can create processes within the system, train your team, and use the same procedures for years to come.
EveryAction provides a constituent relationship management solution that’s known most for its advocacy features. However, within this CRM are a number of useful major gift and grant management features to improve the process for nonprofits.
What’s most interesting about EveryAction’s CRM is that, rather than investing in an additional grant management solution, you can access the tools built-in to your CRM. This includes features such as:
- Workflows to guide your team through identifying and researching funding opportunities prior to submitting applications.
- The ability to track deadlines and documents from the applications through fund usage and outcomes reporting.
- Results analysis to help your nonprofit understand areas of improvement for future campaigns.
For advocacy organizations looking to implement grant fundraising into their efforts, it’s hard to find a grant management solution better suited than EveryAction.
Bonus! Tips for Choosing the Right Grant Management Software For Your Nonprofit
We’ve discussed three different grant management tools in this guide, and there are numerous other solutions available for nonprofits. However, it’s important to recognize that not all solutions are created equal— and, when funding as significant as a grant is on the line, choosing the right solution for your specific circumstances is crucial.
To wrap up, keep the following three tips in mind when researching grant management tools for your nonprofit:
- Partner with a consultant. A nonprofit technology consultant can examine your current software solutions alongside your grant fundraising goals and help you choose the right management software with both in mind. Further, this partner can manage grant management software implementation to ensure your team is positioned for success.
- Integrate your grant management tools with your other solutions. Your constituent relationship management solution contains the most comprehensive view of your nonprofit’s activities, including how funds are allocated and used for different projects and expenses. An integration between your grant management solution and your CRM ensures that there is a seamless transfer of information between your nonprofit’s main database and your grant solution.
- Create a grant management plan before funding is awarded. Don’t invest in grant management software after you’ve already won a grant. It takes time to implement new software and train your team to use it, and that time could slow down the management of your grant. Aim to fortify your grant management software and processes before you begin applying for grants, so you can reap the benefits from the start of the application process through disbursement and beyond.
Whether you choose to implement a complete grant management system or simply seek grant management-specific tools when you upgrade your CRM, the choice will be worthwhile in advancing your grant management procedures.
Carl Diesing co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with ongoing web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.