April 10, 2018

Serving A Better Grants Experience: A Case Study with USTA Florida

When your mission is to make the game of tennis more accessible, you need to ensure the grant programs you offer are accessible as well. In this case study, learn how the foundation arm of USTA Florida switched to WizeHive to make their program easier for all involved.

THE CLIENT: USTA Florida is dedicated to facilitating and furthering the game of tennis for children, adults, and professionals. Working with private and public facilities and organizations throughout the state, the organization’s giving arm, the USTA Florida Foundation, manages a series of grant programs to encourage opportunities for youth and adaptive athletes, as well as quality tennis facilities.

THE ISSUE: After the national parent organization changed grants management system providers, the Florida section was left with the choice of adopting the new platform at an unrealistic price point or finding a solution that better matched their goals, needs, and budget. With two grant programs and active participation, yet only one full-time employee, the foundation wanted a program that would provide them with all the data management and reporting capabilities they needed and intuitive, user-friendly interfaces for their applicants and reviewers, but would be affordable for the nonprofit organization.

THE SOLUTION: The foundation approached WizeHive as they began searching for potential solutions, clearly sharing during initial discussions that they knew the particular features they wanted but felt other programs were requiring them to buy into a package that included functionality they were not interested in, and for a price they were concerned was too steep. The staff didn’t want more than they needed, and they only wanted to pay for the features they were going to use.

WizeHive’s sales and implementation teams worked directly with the organization  to draw up a program scope on our ZengineTM platform that matched the foundation's technical requirements, their budget, and their wish list. This included the need for a user-friendly interface that was accessible any time, anywhere. 

“The price matched with how simple it is for our tennis pros to go in and use is what sold it for me,” said Alexis Johnson, Executive Director, USTA Florida Foundation. “If someone needs a grant to support his students but is so turned off by the difficulty of the application experience, the software is not worth it for me. Our former software was too intimidating, and I really wanted something that would appeal to our applicants more.”

Like all Zengine workspaces, the foundation's program was hosted with Amazon Web Services to ensure both stable accessibility and top-notch data security.

As USTA Florida went live with their new system, Johnson was excited, though not surprised, to see how smooth the process was for her applicants. “I had people call me saying had they known it was so easy they would have tried for a grant before,” she said. “It’s a testament to what WizeHive offered us. Even though the questions are the same, the way they present it makes it so easy and user friendly.”

Knowing her applicants were happy, Johnson began also worrying about the volunteer reviewers who had been used to a different interface and process. As the first grant cycle closed, she was thrilled to discover the ease of use that she had loved about the submission portal carried over cleanly to Zengine’s review portal.

“I blocked four hours for training, but in just 45 minutes they knew what they were doing. Those who had used our old program were in love with the fact that they could now view things side by side. They even tested the portal on their iPads. Knowing that we picked something that makes them happy makes me happy,” said Johnson.

As she heads into a second grants cycle, Johnson is now more than a customer of WizeHive, but an advocate, sharing her experience with other similar organizations.

“I truly believe if you are taking in scholarships or grants and looking for something that’s easy to use and affordable and has amazing customer service, you have to use WizeHive. I’d recommend you guys over and over again.”


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