Harnessing technology for better granting outcomes

By: Julia Steele Scott   |   CEO Grant Toolbox/JM Philanthropy   |   https://www.granttoolbox.com.au/about/

Philanthropy hasn’t been completely transformed by technology compared to the way we now can communicate with each other, consume entertainment and go shopping online.

Disruption in philanthropy has more emerged as a result of the pandemic and through the movement driven by philanthropic professionals who are striving towards greater equity and transparency in the sector.

We see many of the organisations we work with quickly stepping up to be responsive and turning a critical eye toward their structures, policies, and processes, challenging the way and the why things are done in a certain way to promote more equitable practices. Strong vision and leadership is bringing meaningful transformation within these organisations and software is being utilised to embed these new processes and workflows.

We can also harness these technological advances and innovation in the grants management systems space, where solutions have become more affordable with increased functionality and improvements. Software providers have responded and listened to the needs of the many stakeholders, both inside and outside of grant making organisations who use these online systems to transform their grant making.

Grant making software, at its best, should be a tool which results in spending increasingly less time on transactional administration work, freeing up precious resources and time for grantees and funders to undertake the work that really matters - focusing on the bigger picture.

Re-imaging an organisation’s work by focusing on the end user, listening, minimising applicant burden and working towards a more level playing field between the funder and grantee are all important aspects that can be undertaken regardless of an organisation’s size or complexity or indeed whether they have an online system!

It is exciting times, and it is critical for grants management software solutions to have future-ready capability, flexibility and adaptability to changing needs as organisations evolve and grow.

The benefits of software solutions are their ability to streamline and automate processes, capture data to provide evaluative insights for both grantees and grantmakers to measure their performance against strategy, centralise data, share and visualise impact and much more.

By simplifying and automating the transactional and compliance work, valuable time can be better utilised and dedicated to other priorities including building strategic relationships with grantees, a key pillar of philanthropic best practice.

Getting the balance right between automation and relationships is important. Software should support user-friendly streamlined online application processes and give funders and grantees the ability to collaborate on applications with two-way communication. Considered thought needs to go into simplifying the application and reporting processes and be more inclusive of organisations that do not have the resources or capacity to navigate lengthy or complex online forms.

When considering whether you want to change or implement a grants management system firstly determine the ‘why’ and if you do decide to move forward, document your pain points, what works and what doesn’t work well for you and you will be well on your way to eliminating inefficient processes and potentially optimising the experience for all users including applicants, grantees and internal users.

Increasingly, we see grant makers wanting good data to measure impact, to assist in making more strategic decisions and are keen to support learning for the whole philanthropic sector and building their impact stories which can all be achieved through leveraging technology effectively.

Register here to join Philanthropy Australia online for an in-depth discussion on how technology can support equity and transparency on 3 May, 2022.

Apr. 21, 2022

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