Corporations all around the globe have been stepping up into a transformative role in society. After all, just writing a check for a good cause is not enough anymore. Such an act of rethinking their role in today’s world leads organizations to create corporate foundations. These foundations have transformed into strategic and impactful drivers of social change in the past years, and its importance is relevant now in 2021 more than ever. Yet, corporate foundations have many challenges to overcome, and technology can be a big ally in doing so. And if you still doubt exactly how your corporate foundation can benefit from a grant management software, keep reading.
Lack of funding, Corporate Foundations’ biggest threat
Ask any grant manager what their biggest challenge is, and they will tell you without thinking twice: lack of funding. According to the Game Changers: Corporate Foundations in a Changing World survey, this is indeed the most common concern among Corporate Foundations CEOs. Many organizations also suffer from a lack of buy-in from the parent company. The reason for that might seem complex to solve.
Nowadays, giving more does not satisfy the critics—the more companies donate, the more society expects from them. If not impossible, executives find it hard to justify charitable expenditures in terms of bottom-line benefits. Furthermore, a corporation may not have the capacity to budget consistent amounts for corporate giving in both good and bad years. Eventually, boards cut CSR project budgets, impacting foundations’ work.
But one might argue that the main challenge of corporate foundations is not really lack of funding but how such a funding is allocated. The lack of internal tracking and the difficulties of measuring the social impact of activities have led organizations to poor decision-making. And it doesn’t take an MBA degree to know that all of that combined leads to a waste of money.
Why is Impact Measurement so important?
Measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) and/or the Return on Objectives (ROO) goes hand in hand with having sustainable and healthy financing. Corporate foundations that understand and demonstrate both their short-term and long-term impact can continually filter the best grantees to focus on the areas where their expertise, experience, and resources are most effective. But to aim for a high social impact, these foundations must have the right tools to measure results.
Yet, it is rare that corporate foundations give priority to these tools. Free cloud-based programs that were not built for corporate foundation activities are often used primarily on the basis of price, or lack thereof. But what many foundations’ CEOs haven’t realized yet is that the so-called “free tools” actually cost a lot of money.
Often, the staff is not given the proper training on using the free software, and proper workflows are never established. Obviously, this is not a problem in the corporate foundation industry alone. Just recently, The Guardian reported on an excel error that caused the loss of 16,000 test results. This shows that a free, simple-to-use tool might not be that simple, nor that free.
What should you expect from a grant-management software?
The corporate giving and grant management process can be rather complex. Even those grantmakers with years of experience can find themselves overwhelmed with the number of applicants, and multiple people evolved in the decision-making process.
That is why a grant management software is so important: so that grant managers can be on top of everything, and avoid wasting money. A good corporate giving software should streamline your grant-making operations and measure your giving efforts by removing any walls a foundation might encounter when giving back to society.
Optimy’s flexible and user-friendly tool, for example, allows you to automatically sort out the incoming applications based on whatever criteria you chose, so you can choose the right grantees and have a bigger ROI. And by showcasing the impact of your foundation’s corporate giving activities with our easy reporting tools, you can ensure the support from the parent company and board members. Furthermore, Optimy also helps you to allocate and track all of your projects’ budgets quickly. This way, you stay on top of your outcomes and maintain control of all your costs.
In summary, the right grant management software will empower you with time, data, and resources to amplify your corporate social impact.
13 functionalities a good grant management software should have:
Online Submission Platform: Flexible and customizable submission platform to digitally collect applications.
Smart forms: Questionnaires that can be divided into several parts, so grant seekers get different questions depending on their previous answers.
Automatic filtering and scoring: Automating the process of reviewing applications is important to be able to save time and focus on applications that match your criteria.
Data Import: A good grant management tool allows you to import previous data into the platform, such as contacts, requests, and Excel files.
Friendly Dashboard: An interactive and easy-to-use interface to easily find the essential information at first glance.
Contact management: Life is easier when you can centralize, organize, and manage all contact in one place; thus, your CSR tool should allow you to do so.
Automatic answer: Sending a manual message to every applicant can be tiring. A good grant management solution should allow you to automatically send replies to the grant seekers that don’t meet your criteria.
Team Management: You can increase your efficiency by creating different team roles and delegating responsibilities to each of them.
Automated workflows: Design and set up automated workflows to organize the follow-up of your projects. This feature can also be useful to automatically create tasks for team members.
Budget tracking: Staying on top of your outcomes and maintaining control of your expenses is for sure important when managing grant-making projects. With this functionality, you can overview how much money has been allocated for each project and make sure you are within your budget.
Payment schedule: Keeping up with payments of your grant-making activities can be tricky. But the process can be painless with a good grant management software. This feature allows you to manage and keep track of all your payments easily.
Charts: It is important to make all the data inside of the tool understandable. The charts feature can help make your report more data-driven but still quick to read and understand.
Data export: Not all people involved in your grant-making workflow will be using the grant management software. So it is vital to being able to download and share documents with non-users, such as board members and externals.
Security: For your safety, the tool should be able to scan files for viruses before users download them.
Wondering in which other ways Optimy can help your foundation?