April 14, 2020

Why Corporate Giving Programs Need Dedicated Grant & Scholarship Software

Corporate foundations and corporate social responsibility departments are quickly expanding as companies realize the multitude of benefits that come with charitably supporting their communities and industries. But making them use already in-house systems for this specialized work can often hinder their efforts. Learn how grant and scholarship management software can enable better giving and growth.


One of the cornerstones of a successful corporation is how you give back - to your employees, your community, and your industry. Whether that’s through scholarships, grants, or awards for industry innovation, how you give back solidifies your brand and the public’s perception of it. Each experience an individual has in applying for that aid matters. That’s why your corporate giving program should not only be online, but should also provide the easiest and most user-friendly experience possible. 

Easier applications = better applications

When you migrate your application to a cloud-based grant and scholarship management system, you gain the ability to create customized applications and processes that make sense for your program and needs. The result is a clear and easier-to-tackle submission for your applicants. Do they need to provide materials such as an essay or resume? Make sure you have ways to upload PDF, Word, or Google Doc files. Do you require personal or professional references? Utilize a third-party request feature so they can easily ask for these documents and you can ensure they are received directly into the system and attached to the appropriate applicant. 

Many corporate foundations or corporate social responsibility (CSR) teams try to manage applications with in-house software - systems never designed for grants management. The result on the applicant side is an application with clunky forms, confusing steps, or the need to send materials offline. By instead investing in a comprehensive grant and scholarship platform, applicants can focus on what matters - providing you with clear information. You’ll see not just better quality applications, but a higher competition rate. 

And there’s additional benefits for your team - the more user-friendly and intuitive your design, the fewer questions you’ll have to field during the process. Even a simple tweak like including an application status option can cut down on customer service questions for your staff. 

Streamlined review process 

On the other end of the application process - whether that’s in-house or outsourced - streamlining the review process is key in getting applicants the aid they need in a timely manner. Because you can customize the entire system to be intuitive for your applicants, the review side is also inevitably streamlined. 

Gone are the days of printing hundreds of applications and dropping weighty folders on your reviewers’ desks -- or spending a fortune overnighting them to their location. With online review portals, your reviewers simply log in and can see the applications they have been assigned and all the materials that are relevant to it. Their feedback is simplified too - instead of using a spreadsheet to compile scoring, they can all complete the same questionnaire or rubric, and you can allow the software to generate overall averages. 

Safe and secure data collection and storage

In an age of heightened cyber-security, the last thing you want to do is compromise your applicants’ information. When you move your application process to an optimized online platform, you can make sure all disclosed information remains secure and stored on a safe server. You want to make sure to do this for any personal information, but especially if you require details about income or bank statements. Be sure the software you use to manage your program meets your company’s security requirements.

Essential reporting 

Perhaps most importantly, when you use a highly customized service like full lifecycle grants management software, you’ll also have access to detailed reporting that will allow for long-term sustainability and even growth for your giving programs. Many corporations either record and calculate these reports via various pieces of external software that may or may not integrate with one another or (gasp!) don’t even create them at all. 

Systems designed for the administration of grants or scholarships also allow for easier management of the data collected. Easily search for whatever you need during the collection, review, and notification processes by using filters and customized views of your data. Set up dashboards for at-a-glance information on your team's KPIs. You can even create different account types with different permissions, allowing executives, board members, or others to have access to just the data they need. With this improved view of your data, it’s more possible to grow your applicant pool (in numbers and in quality), retain board member buy-in, or solidify your position as an industry leader.

 

With a flexible and strong grant or scholarship management system at your company’s disposal, you elevate your giving and make it a centerpiece of your corporate strategy. You’ll better engage applicants, better inform your executive team and board, and will be able to handle growth and expansion easily. From predictable influxes of application - like when your quarterly application reviews occur or when you decide to launch a new program - to those that are totally unpredictable like the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll have a user-friendly, remote-accessible system that you can rely on.  

 

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