How EDF found a way to ONLY support the most impactful grant projects

"If we hadn't had Optimy, especially in 2020, it'd have been a nightmare because the call for projects generated more than 600 applications (complete files received)!"

Overview of the Foundation

“I don’t know how we’d do today without the tool. Because frankly, if we didn’t have Optimy, even just for an initial sorting of what is eligible or not for grants, we’d be wasting a lot of time.”

Want to know how the EDF Group Foundation operates?

Find out in this exclusive exchange how it selects the projects it supports in its three areas of action.

  1. The foundation in a few figures
  2. What is the biggest challenge in your role?
  3. What transformation have you observed?
  4. What is your favorite feature in Optimy?
  5. Why would you recommend Optimy?

The Foundation in a few figures

The EDF Group Foundation – EDF’s corporate foundation – is dedicated to corporate philanthropy and works in three areas in France and abroad: inclusion, education, and the environment, in favor of future generations and people in precarious situations.

Some key figures:

  • A 4-year mandate
  • An annual budget of 10 million euros
  • +469 projects supported since 2016

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

Our goal is to allocate the annual allocation in the best possible way by making choices, sometimes difficult ones. And it is particularly in this task that Optimy is useful!

Finding innovative projects

We don’t have a target in terms of the number of projects we receive because, like any Foundation, we are in great demand. Since we started using Optimy, thousands of projects have been submitted. The challenge is to select the best possible projects to present to our decision-making bodies.

Making the best use of our budget

We have a rather pragmatic objective: we have an annual allocation for our grant activities. Our goal is to allocate it in the best possible way by making choices, sometimes difficult ones. And it is particularly in this task that Optimy is useful, by allowing us, via our form adapted to our criteria of support and to our requirements of information necessary to the study of a project, to generate a justified refusal by a pre-filled e-mail when the criteria are not met by the structures which solicit us.

What outcomes did Optimy help you meet?

“Optimy was very useful in 2020 because we were able to put online quickly a specific form and dashboard to streamline our exceptional budget in response to the health crisis.”

1. A gain in productivity

I don’t know how we would do it today without the tool. Because frankly, if we didn’t have Optimy, even if it was just to do an initial sorting of what is eligible or not for grants, of what fits in with the Foundation’s priorities, we would be wasting a lot of time. Optimy is our grants project management tool.

It is also a tool for sharing and managing documents related to supported projects. We have set up the automatic generation of pre-filled standard documents from the data entered by the project leaders, which makes our work of drafting the project sheets presented to our authorities and the subsequent grants agreements much easier.

2. Rapid deployment in response to COVID

In 2020, in response to the health crisis, the Foundation released an exceptional budget. First, we responded to urgent needs in March: food and basic necessities for the most disadvantaged, and aid for healthcare personnel. Then, in a second phase, we launched a call for “Solidarity Fund” projects in solidarity.

Optimy was very useful because we were able to put online quickly – and over a defined period of time – a form with specific items related to the crisis (return to work, return to school, new development models/short circuits…), different from the “classic” form. This “Solidarity Fund” being dedicated to territories, the dashboard, and the statutes created specifically allowed us to classify the projects by region and then by theme.

What is your favorite feature in Optimy?

The dashboard, which allows you to immediately visualize the files according to their progress, with the possibility for each project manager to see all the projects, or to see only the projects in his or her area. The other “favorite” feature is the automatic generation of documents, which really lightens up the writing part.

Personally, I find the tool quite easy to use, once you understand how it works “internally”, but you have to use it very regularly not to “lose your grip”… Which is the case today for each of us and also for the financial team which has direct access to the administrative elements requested from the structures that request us. 

Why would you recommend Optimy?

“Opimy helps us in receiving the applications, but also in the selection process, notably through excel extractions that allowed us to classify and rate the applications”

Generally speaking, thanks to Optimy, we now have:

  1. A simplified management of the follow-up of the files
  2. A reliable and complete database of projects – received, refused, supported, in progress 
  3. A very precise visibility of the history of all the projects received and the progress of the projects supported.

If we had not had Optimy, especially in 2020, it would have been a nightmare, because the call for projects generated more than 600 applications (complete files received). The tool obviously helped us in receiving the applications, but also in the selection process, notably through excel extractions that allowed us to classify and rate the applications.

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