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4 Key Ways for an Effective Grant Application process

by Optimy

As grant managers, we all have experienced this issue: you receive a grant application by email. You open the file and read all the details. Based on your own criteria, you decide that this applicant should be granted the fund. Later the same day, you have a meeting where you realize that a colleague reviewed the same application and, guess what, they denied the grant. The truth is that, too often, the exact criteria used to choose which projects to grant is not clear to all people involved, which leads to frustration for all parties, applicants included. Plus, when many different groups of people are involved in the decision-making process, communication becomes a big challenge. But the grant-making process doesn’t have to be this hard. Check here how Optimy can help you choose the best applicants.

Create effective online forms

Many peoplemight take this for granted, but designing insightful online forms is the firststep to having the right information and, consequently, making the rightdecision. Think of your form as some sort of conversation you want to have withapplicants. As with any conversation, you should start your form with the mostrelevant questions. For example, let’s say that your foundation has decided toonly support projects linked to health issues for the next months. You shouldask the grant applicant in the very beginning what type of projects they arerunning; this way, you don’t waste your time checking the answers of requeststhat are not aligned with your foundation’s goal.

Another tip isto create forms with multiple parts if you have a complex decision-makingprocess. This way, you can use parts of a form to represent each stage of thedecision process. And Optimy’s grant management software is perfect for that.In our forms, each part serves as an independent subform that can bechronologically activated based on the answers the applicant chose in theprevious part. This means that the applicant can only go forward to the nextpart of the form if they fit your criteria. This helps save time for bothapplicants and grant-managers!

Improve both internal and external communication

Even when youdo your best to create smart forms, every once in a while, an applicant doesn’tsubmit all the information needed for you to make a decision, right? Well, wefeel your pain. This is why Optimy created the messaging feature. This optionallows you to send messages to external people such as applicants so you cancheck any information that might not be clear in the request form. With thisOptimy option, there is no need to switch between your mailbox and the tool: youcan directly communicate from the Optimy software in the project record. Theproject leader is sick? No problem, you can take over the project if needed.See directly in your dashboard if messages need follow-up and what has beensent recently.

You can alsoget in touch with other departments in your corporate foundation and, ofcourse, with your own team! After all, good internal communication is all aboutkeeping stakeholders in the loop. By having all communication accessible by theentire team, the collaboration is eased. That way, if a colleague has feedbackthat might impact the decision to choose a grant applicant, you can easily getsuch information and make an informed decision.

Create criteria to score your grant requests

Talking aboutcollaboration with teammates, making sure everyone is using the same criteriato choose the right grantees is also key. We understand that choosing the rightgrant project to support can indeed be somewhat subjective, but how is itpossible that different people can have such different decisions on the sameapplication? This is why putting clear criteria in place can help you be moreobjective when evaluating projects. And Optimy’s Automatic scoring andAutomatic Filtering features allow you to do that in a precise and fast way.

As the namesays, the Automatic Scoring functionality automatically scores the applicationbased on the applicant’s answers. A score is calculated as a percentage valuethat you assign to each answer. This option goes hand in hand with the AutomaticFiltering functionality, which allows you to automatically sort out theincoming applications based on whatever criteria you chose.

In a nutshell,by setting up scores for each answer in the tool, you ensure that the projectspre-selected match your corporate foundation’s goals without looking furtherinto it. And finally, you can concentrate your efforts on the proposals thatmeet your strategy.  

Invite external experts to review and evaluate projects

Feedback frompeers and outside experts is sometimes an essential step in the decision-makingprocess. But sharing all the important information and following up with theirprogress can be a big challenge. Fear not, Optimy features can help you onceagain.

With ourevaluation feature, you can easily collect feedback from evaluators into thetool itself. Once the peer or expert gives their input, the information will belinked to the project, making it easier to review it.

We know thathaving control over information is vital. That is why you will be the onegranting access to evaluators and deciding which information they are allowedto see. You can even make all the data you will collect from evaluators easilyto interpret by creating good-looking charts and comparing the input fromdifferent people.

Final thoughts

Why is it thatsales and marketing departments have been using technology to streamline theirwork, but the CSR sector insists on managing everything by email and Excel?After all, long gone are the days when the grant-making process had to be donemanually. And technology can come a long way when it comes to choosing theright grant applicants.

Optimy can helpyou in every step of your grant-making flow, not the only selection. Oursuper-flexible tool aligns with your current workflows and needs, fromcollecting and selecting grant requests, creating projects’ budgets andreports—all of these in one single tool.

Wondering inwhich other ways Optimy can help your foundation? We’d love to hear from you—so let’s continue the conversation here.