The ROI for online grantmaking: Is your corporation missing out?

[Publisher’s note: This article was provided by MicroEdge, a maker of grants management software. MicroEdge is a PJ business partner.]

Online grantmaking has evolved significantly over the past few years. It is no longer just about posting an application on your website for grantees to download and mail.

Savvy corporate grantmakers are using online applications to support a fully paperless, more streamlined process that reduces administrative costs, provides better service to grantees and improves overall giving impact.

Corporate funders often are tasked with finding ways to do more with less, and now it is more important than ever.

One way that funders can improve their giving impact with less available resources is through online processes.

An efficient online grant-application process, for example, can provide a significant return on investment from both a cost-savings and strategic perspective.

Rather than sorting, copying and routing paper applications, complete proposals and supporting documentation can be accepted and reviewed online, significantly reducing the administrative load.

Thoughtful planning of online application forms and an online pre-screening process enables you to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of proposals received.

This process saves staff the time associated with reviewing ineligible proposals that are outside of the program focus areas.

The benefits of an online application process extend to grantees as well.

There currently are hundreds of thousands of NGO’s using online applications and reaping the benefits that a web-based application process provides.

Easy online access to funding guidelines empowers grantees to make better decisions about where to allocate their efforts.

Incorporating automated email notifications into your online process provides grantees with timely communications and eliminates the need for staff to field individual phone calls and email inquiries.

It is crucial for corporations to focus grantmaking on the areas that need it most, and measure the results achieved from all giving efforts.

Online applications permit corporations to require up-front, detailed information necessary to make informed decisions.

Funders can more easily partner and collaborate with grantees on how to gauge success, agreeing on measurement values prior to funding and collecting requirements online, which streamlines and automates the process for both corporations and grantees.

Many corporations are achieving significant return on investment through online processes.

The following examples enumerate some of the actual savings realized by two funders:

  • A small corporate foundation implemented online applications to support an internal “going green” initiative as well as to improve its response time to applicants. By eliminating the costs associated with photocopying, stationary, postage, and 80 hours of manual data entry, it estimate its annual return on investment is $43,897.
  • A large corporate-giving program that implemented a completely paperless grantmaking process reduced its administrative staff by three members and reduced the time associated with immediate declines by 12 minutes per application. It also drastically improved data integrity by receiving more consistent, accurate and complete data.

Online applications increase staff efficiency, provide a level playing field for grantees with a consistent process, and facilitate better funding decisions.

These benefits extend throughout the entire giving process, enabling corporate grantmakers to take a more strategic approach to their giving programs.

To learn more about building a return-on-investment analysis for your organization, contact MicroEdge at 800.899.0890.

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