FAQs (Grantmaker) - Overview

Can groups of grantmakers use the Common Grant Application?

Groups of grantmakers such as associations of grantmakers, interest groups, coalitions, alliances, etc. can register and use this website in a manner similar to separate grantmaking organizations. Receipt, review and management of applications can be moderated or unmoderated.

If I am a grantmaker, considering whether to use the Common Grant Application, what are some of the competitive issues I should think about?

Some of the issues you should think about in comparing different grant management systems are: features, performance, reliability and availability, security and privacy, ease of use, scale, flexibility and adaptability, pricing, support and ease of migration and integration.

As a grantmaker, what are some of the pricing considerations I should think about?

The following table lists some of the pricing considerations for grant management solutions. The table is not comprehensive but provides some of the typical pricing components for grant management software or services.

Costs Description Common Grant Application Other Vendor
Server and backup hardware The one-time cost to buy a server and backup hardware. $0  
Installation The one-time cost to install a server and install the grant management software on the server. $0  
Training The one-time cost to undergo training on how to setup, configure and use the hardware and software for the grant management system. $0  
Maintenance The continuing cost to receive new features and bug fixes for the grant management system. $0  
Customization The one-time cost to receive custom new features for the grant management system. $0  
Support The continuing cost to receive email or phone support if you have a question about how to use the grant management system. $0  
Per user cost subscription The continuing cost for every user that is allowed to use an account (sometimes called a seat license or floating license). $0  
Annual subscription The annual subscription cost to use the grant management system. $0  
Monthly subscription The monthly subscription cost to use the grant management system.    
Per application or per transaction The per application or per transactiton cost to use the grant management system.    
Storage The per GByte of storage cost to use the grant management system. $0  
Transition The one-time cost to move applications and reports, applicants and users from an existing to a new grant management system.    
Contract negotiation The one-time legal cost to negotiate a contract with the grant management system provider. $0  

Can a grantmaker update and edit received applications?

When an application is submitted to a grantmaker, the information for the application and documents associated with the application are copied to the grantmakers account. The applicant can edit and change their information or supporting documents after an application has been submitted to a grantmaker, but their changes will not appear in the grantmakers version of the application or supporting documents. This is to ensure the integrity of the application (i.e. that it cannot be changed by the applicant without the grantmakers knowledge). The grantmaker can, at their discretion, edit and update all fields of a submitted application. Grantmakers that receive paper-based applications may also enter those paper-based applications and upload their supporting documents directly into the system, and make them part of the same database and workflow processes as the applications received from the Web.

Can a grantmaker specify their grant cycles?

The grantmaker can specify whether they have continuous or discrete grant cycles. If the grantmaker uses discrete grant cycles, they can specify one or more cycles and the following dates associated with each cycle: open date, close date, notification date and funding date. Cycles do not have to be equal in length and they can cross year end boundaries. An application cannot be submitted to the grantmaker after the close of a discrete grant cycle.

Can a grantmaker manage and control what type of applications they will receive from applicants?

The system examines a number of filtering criteria specified by the grantmaker to determine if an application submitted by an applicant will be presented to a grantmaker for consideration. An application will be presented to the grantmaker if: the grantmaker accepts unsolicited applications or the grantmaker accepts solicited applications and the applicant has a valid invitation from the grantmaker and the application date falls between the open and close dates of the grantmakers grant cycle and the application meets the grantmaker's funding interests by cause (e.g. environment, human services, etc.) and the application meets the grantmaker's funding interest by type (operating, program, capital, etc.) and the application meets the grantmaker's funding interest by geography (e.g. international, national, regional, etc.) and all required standard organization and program questions are answered and all required supplemental organization and program questions are answered. If the application does not meet any of the specified criteria, it will not be presented to the grantmaker. Criteria specified by one grantmaker, are completely independent of criteria specified by another grantmaker.

Can a grantmaker change the application questions?

The Common Grant Application offers two types of questions. Standard questions and supplemental questions The standard questions are fixed and cannot be changed by the grantmaker. The standard questions were selected after extensive review of dozens of applications used by regional associations of grantmakers and individual grantmakers. We believe the standard questions are the most common questions asked by grantmakers. Certain blocks of standard questions can be specified by the grantmaker as required, optional or not required. Required questions must be answered, optional questions may be answered and if they are answered the answers will be passed on to the grantmaker. The supplemental questions can be specified by the grantmaker. The purpose of these questions is to allow the grantmaker to ask questions that may not be asked in the standard questions. The grantmaker can specify whether an answer to each supplemental question is required, optional or not required and the answer format (e.g. text, checklist, radio button , dropdown, etc.). The answer format may consist of value lists, default values, filter values and in the case of text answers the maximum length of the answer. Supplemental questions asked by one grantmaker, are independent of supplemental questions asked by another grantmaker.

What is the workflow model for a grantmaker?

The system uses a combined non-linear and linear workflow model for the grantmaker. The grantmaker may register on the website and then enter their organization, interests, funding focus and other information in any order and over any time frame they wish. Any information that has been entered and saved or any documents that have been uploaded will always be available for future use.

The grantmaker may enter the following individual and organization contact information: name, mailing address, phone, fax, email, Web address, etc. The grantmaker may enter the following organization information: mission, history, names and titles of key staff, tax identification number, non-profit status, year established, Web listings, detailed staffing information for 1 to 5 years, general budget and grantmaking information for 1 to 5 years and other information. The grantmaker may enter the following information about their areas of program and activity interest: focus area of funding (e.g. environment, human services, etc.), types of funding (operating, program, capital, etc.), geographic location and scope of funding (e.g. international, national, regional, etc.). The focus areas of funding, types of funding and geographic areas of funding may be specified on a scale of interest (high, medium, low or yes, maybe, no). Multiple areas of program and activity interest may be specified with different levels of interest. The grantmaker may also enter narrative information about application guidelines, evaluation and reporting guidelines and other advisories that are visible to the applicant. The grantmaker may also upload documents for the organization.

Applicants may review the grantmakers organization, interests, funding focus information. If visible, the applicants may also look at the grantmakers aggregate application statistics and the summarized form of the general application status information. Most of this above information is sortable and filterable by the applicant, and can be used by the applicant to research and identify grantmakers that have interests that are aligned with the interests of the applicant. This process greatly improves the discovery and research process of the applicant.

Grantmakers will not be able to receive applications until a certain minimal amount of information is completed. Applications are moved forward through a few simple sequential steps (which may include rejection, approval, funding and/or evaluation) until completion. Changes in the status of the application are reported automatically to the applicant by email and updated on the website in real-time.

Can a grantmaker edit and update information for an applicants account?

Grantmakers cannot access other grantmaker or applicant user accounts. They cannot edit or change any information other than their own. However, they can edit or change any information on applications they have received.

Does the Common Grant Application support eligibility quizes?

We provide eligibility quiz functionality, without a separate and explicit eligibility quiz. The system examines a number of filtering criteria specified by the grantmaker to determine if an application submitted by an applicant will be presented to a grantmaker for consideration. If the application does not meet any of the specified criteria, it will not be presented to the grantmaker. The list of criteria is visible to the applicant.

Can grantmakers enter paper-based applications?

Grantmakers that receive paper-based applications may enter those paper-based applications and upload their supporting documents directly into the system, and make them part of the same database and workflow processes as the applications received from the Web. We do not charge any fees for paper-based applications entered by grantmakers.

What types of updates can be sent by the grantmaker when the status of an application changes?

The system generates a number of automatic emails, depending on the settings of both the applicant and the grantmaker. Emails are automatically generated to the applicant acknowledging that an application has been successfully submitted to a grantmaker, whenever the status of an application changes (i.e. it has been approved, rejected, deferred, etc.) and every time a charge has been made to their account. Emails are automatically generated to the grantmaker whenever an application has been received from an applicant and every time a charge has been made to their account. All emails point back to the website for more detailed information.

The more detailed information is available after a user logs in. It is updated in real-time. The information has fixed and customizable fields. If an application is rejected or deferred, the grantmaker can specify the reason for the rejection or deferral. A short text reason as well as longer narrative text reason is configurable by the grantmaker. The system supplied reasons are usable by all grantmakers. The grantmaker may review, but not edit, the system supplied reasons. The grantmaker may also add and edit reasons that are only visible to the specific grantmaker. The system supplied and grantmaker supplied reasons are available for use by the grantmaker every time they reject or defer an application.

Can grantmakers manage the status of applications they have received?

Grantmakers can change and manage the status of an application by receiving, accepting, rejecting and deferring an application. Additional status information related to non-profit status check, OFAC check and reports check can also be changed and managed. Emails are automatically generated to the applicant acknowledging that an application has been successfully submitted to a grantmaker and whenever the status of an application changes (i.e. it has been approved, rejected, deferred, etc.).

How do grantmakers enter funding decisions into the system?

Grantmakers can enter funding decisions by accepting an application and indicating the amount approved, payment schedule and whether a report is required or not. Approval of an application will automatically generate an email to the applicant indicating the status of their application has changed (i.e. it has been approved).

Does the system limit the number of application forms that can be set up by the grantmaker?

The Common Grant Application does not support application forms per se. Applicants can maintain information about their organization as well as information about one or more of their organization's programs. An applicant creates an application by selecting a program, and a grantmaker that the selected program will be submitted to as an application. The system automatically binds together the organization and program information to construct an application when it is successfully submitted to the grantmaker. There is no limit on the number of programs an applicant can specify.

There is no limit on the number of applications that may be submitted to a grantmaker.

Are grantmakers charged a per application fee if they enter paper-based applications into the system?

Grantmakers that receive paper-based applications may enter those paper-based applications and upload their supporting documents directly into the system, and make them part of the same database and workflow processes as the applications received from the Web. Grantmakers will not be charged any fees to enter or maintain paper-based applications.

Can applications be rated, ranked, scored or evaluated?

The system currently offers three mechanisms for evaluating applications. The mechanism that is used may be configured. There are two rating mechanisms and one ranking mechanism. In all cases it is also possible for notes and comments to be entered for each application. One or more account users may be allowed / required to provide application evaluations. The evaluations may be visible to all other application evaluators, or only by the account owner.

Can the length of an answer to a question be limited?

The standard questions have various length limits for their answers. These limits may range from 100's of characters to 1000's of characters. These limits are not configurable by the grantmaker. The supplemental questions are specified by the grantmaker. The grantmaker may configure the length limits for the answers to the supplemental questions.

Can the Common Grant Application be integrated with other grant management systems?

The system architecture and database are very flexible. We would be happy to discuss the development of connectors between our system and other grant management systems. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your needs.

What is your methodology for version releases and upgrades? How do you determine what functionality is included in your releases and version upgrades?

We are constantly updating and upgrading the capabilities of our system.

Since we offer a Web-based service, it is relatively easy to test and ensure that the operational behavior of our system meets our user requirements and design goals. The more difficult part of the development process is defining the user requirements. The definition and development of new user requirements is driven by our own thinking as well as unsolicited and solicited feedback from applicants and grantmakers.

We use the agile software development model. We deploy new features, enhancements and fixes on an ongoing basis as they become available and after they have been thoroughly tested. Generally speaking, deployment of new upgrades and updates is done without affecting the service availability of the website.

Do you offer a maintenance plan and are upgrades included in your maintenance plan?

There are no maintenance or upgrade fees for the system. Setup, maintenance, support and software upgrades are all included in the monthly subscription fee and per application fee.

What are steps are required to get up and running?

The following steps are required to get up and running as a standalone system.

- Setup and configure system

The grantmaker will need to spend a little bit of time thinking about how their current grantmaking process works, and how it will map into our online process. We will help the grantmaker work through the questions they'll need to ask themselves, provide guidance about how our system works and then work with the grantmaker to ensure our system will do what they need it to do. Our process can support applications, or applications only. It can also support any combination of solicited and unsolicited applications. There are various criteria they can setup to reflect their funding interests and activities that will help filter and sort applications from applicants. There are also a number of different ways to evaluate applications. After making these decisions they will then have to decide how they want to describe their organization, and the types of advisory information they may want to provide applicants that will help them focus their answers to meet the Foundation's requirements. Our system has a standard set of questions that can be selected from but also supports supplementary questions. If our application does not ask something the grantmaker would like to know, they can configure additional supplementary questions that the applicant must answer. We'll work with the administrator to setup the system to the grantmaker's satisfaction. We'll do this at no charge to the grantmaker.

- Import information

If the Foundation would like to import their previous applications we'll need to discuss the content of those applications and determine the best way to map them into our system. If the grantmaker can export this information in the form of one or more CSV files, we will be able to write the software to transform and manipulate the information in a way that can be imported into our system. The imported information will then need to be checked by the grantmaker for completeness and correctness. We'll do the import at no charge to the grantmaker.

- Provide training to administrators

Provide training to the administrators on how to use the system. This training can be provided by phone or by GoToMeeting. We'll schedule the training at the convenience of the administrator.

- Start accepting applications

What software does the grantmaker need to install before it can use the Common Grant Application?

The grantmaker does not need to install any software. All the grantmaker needs to use our system is a Web browser and Internet access.

Where do you train new users? What is your training plan for new users of your system? How do you provide ongoing technical support to the grantmaker's staff once the system has been implemented?

We offer unlimited setup assistance and training and ongoing support to the grantmaker.

Training takes many forms and is customized to suit the particular grantmaker. We offer training support by email and telephone on a one-on-one or group basis. We also provide grantmaker specific Webinars or online meetings, in which we can train administrators and/or evaluators. The content of the meetings can be customized and depends on the skill level of the users and their particular needs. We can also offer on-site training for an additional charge.

The Common Grant Application is a hosted solution. The grantmaker and applicant do not need to install, support or maintain any hardware or software. The only requirement to use the system is that a user has a Web browser and Internet access. The Common Grant Application will maintain and support the hardware and software on its server(s) as needed. The Common Grant Application is constantly improving and adding new features and capabilities. Software and database upgrades are generally performed without any need to disrupt our Website's availability (i.e., the system's architecture allows us to update the software and database on a running system). Backup operations are also performed without any need to disrupt the sites availability.

After the initial setup and training we offer unlimited ongoing support by email and telephone on an as-needed basis. If the grantmaker has a usage question, they can contact us by email or phone.

We also offer unlimited training and ongoing support to all applicants using the system, at no charge to the applicant and no additional charge to the foundation.

If the grantmaker wishes to use an independent consultant, do you partner with other firms?

We're glad to work with independent consultants.

How does your software manage the ability for a grantmaker to offer multiple grant cycles with different characteristics throughout a given year?

Our system can support any number of different grantmaker programs. Each program can be independent of the other and may be one or two step (application or LOI and application) and have different application submission filtering criteria, evaluation criteria and evaluator groups. Each program grant cycle may be continuous or have one or more discrete windows per year during which applications may be received.

Does your software charge on an individual grant cycle and if so, how much does it cost the grantmaker?

No. There are no additional charges for number of grant cycles, number of users, number of application forms, or number of grantmaker programs.

Does the grantmaker need outside assistance in creating the grant cycles?

No. Grant cycles are one of many configurable options. The system can be setup and configured without our assistance (many grantmakers have done this) but we recommend that we assist in the initial setup and turn on of the account. That way we can help walk through any data mapping and process issues.

What is the grantmaking process?

- Guideline creation

Our system can support a one-step or two-step application process. The one-step process is application only. The two-step process is a LOI followed by an application. After setup the account is enabled and applicants may start to submit LOIs and/or applications.

- LOI

For a two-step process the first step will be for an applicant to submit a LOI. After a LOI is received it moves to the "Review" state. In the review state, depending on whether or not evaluations are required, the LOI is evaluated (i.e. rated and scored). At the conclusion of the evaluation process by the grantmaker the LOI is either accepted or rejected by the account owner or administrator. If rejected, the applicant will not be allowed to submit an application for the program that was used to submit the LOI and the LOI will be moved to the "Not Approved" state. If accepted, the applicant can then submit an application for the same program that was used to submit the LOI. The LOI will be moved to the "Approved" state. The state machine for LOIs is shown below.

LOI Status Flow Diagram

- Application

For a one-step process the first step will be for an applicant to submit an application. For a two-step process the applicant must have submitted an LOI that was accepted before they are able to submit an application. After an application is received it moves to the "Review" state. In the review state, depending on whether or not evaluations are required, the application is evaluated (i.e., rated and scored). At the conclusion of the evaluation process by the Foundation the application is either accepted or rejected by the account owner or administrator. If rejected, the applicant is notified and the application is moved to the "Not Approved" state. No further action is required. If accepted, the grantmaker specifies whether or not one or more reports are required and the application becomes a grant and is moved to the "Approved (Report)" or "Approved (No Report)" state. After all payments have been made and all required reports are received, acknowledged and approved the grant is moved to the "Completed" state. The state machine for applications is shown below.

Application and Grant Status Flow Diagram

How does your system manage questions/guidelines?

The system provides a list of allowable questions that may configured by the Foundation. Some questions must always be answered by the applicant. All other questions may be configured by the grantmaker as required, optional or not required. Some questions are answered by selecting a value from a dropdown. Other questions are answered by using short or long text input fields. All text input fields have fixed limits that range from a few 10s of characters to 5000 characters (which is about 600 words). The grantmaker may also configure their own supplementary questions as required or optional and specify the maximum length for each answer.

In those instances where a multi-year grant has been approved, how can a grantee return to an existing application and apply for future/continued funding?

Applicants may register on the website and then enter their organizational and program information in any order and over any time frame they wish. Any information that has been entered and saved or any documents that have been uploaded will always be available for future use or applications. The applicant may also research and review grantmakers, funding interests, guidelines and deadlines at their own discretion. Once a grantmaker has been identified, the applicant may submit an application through a few simple sequential steps. An applicant creates an application by selecting a program, and a grantmaker that the selected program will be submitted to as an application. The system automatically binds together the organization and program information to construct an application when it is successfully submitted to the grantmaker. Applications will not be submitted by the system to grantmakers unless they contain the grantmaker's required information and pass the grantmaker's funding interests and other filtering criteria. Changes in the status of the application are reported automatically to the applicant by email and updated on the Website in real-time.

The information can be easily reused for subsequent applications to the same or different grantmakers. We have observed extensive use of this capability on our system.

Some documents are not natively in electronic format. Therefore in order for a grantee to upload these documents into an application, the grantee would need to scan or fax the documents. What provisions do you offer that allow a grantee the ability to attach a paper to electronic document to an application when a scanner is not available?

We currently recommend the applicant submit the paper information to the grantmaker and indicate the application on the submitted paper. The foundation can then either file the paper or scan it themselves and then upload and attached the document to the application. It should also be noted the system allows the grantmaker to add complete paper-based applications and their associated documents to the system. Our current experience indicates that most grantees appear to have electronic versions of their important documentation.

How do staff members access the grant management system? Do grantmakers and applicants have the ability to establish multiple users or accounts?

Each grantmaker or applicant account may have one or more users. There is no limit on the number of users for each applicant or grantmaker account. Each user may have different permissions within the account. The permissions control what information in the account may be reviewed and/or changed.

Secure password protected access is supported for every user account in of the system. The user specifies their own user name and password when they register an account. The user may change their user name or password at their discretion. Applicants cannot access other applicant or grantmaker user accounts and grantmakers cannot access other grantmaker or applicant user accounts.

Applicants might not have the ability to complete an application in one sitting. Does your software allow grantees the ability to establish an initial application then return to the application multiple times while completing the various components of the application process?

Yes. Applicants can maintain information about their organization as well as information about one or more of their organization's programs. Applicants may enter their organizational and program information in any order and over any time frame they wish. They can work on entering some information, go away, and come back minutes or months later, and the information will still be there. The information is persistent and may be reused and does not need to be re-entered for each application. An applicant creates an application by selecting a program, and a grantmaker that the selected program will be submitted to as an application. The system automatically binds together the applicant's organization and program information which becomes the application to the grantmaker. This method allows maximum flexibility and re-use of the information.

Does your application allow applicants to see previously recorded applications from their organization?

Yes. All applications submitted by an applicant to a grantmaker are persistent. The applications and their real-time status are always available for viewing by the applicant and grantmaker.

How do organizations upload documents to the system?

Applicants may upload, delete and review documents describing their organization and/or the various programs for which they are seeking funding. The documents are uploaded using the Web browsers upload capabilities. These documents may be used for general informational purposes, to support applications or to support grant reporting. Some document types that are can be uploaded include: general information, tax determination letter, annual report, budget, staff, letters of support and commitment. Some document formats that are supported include: Word, Acrobat, Excel, JPEG, GIF, and TIF.

How does the grantmaker access uploaded documents?

Each document uploaded by the applicant and submitted as part of an application is viewable by the grantmaker directly from their Web browser. Each viewable document is hyperlinked, and may be viewed by simply clicking on that hyperlink. The document is opened in the browser using the appropriate application (e.g. Word, Excel, Acrobat, etc.). The document may then either be opened for viewing or saved to the local environment of the grantmaker.

What are the browser and operating systems requirements?

Applicants or grantmakers do not require any special software to use the Common Grant Application. All that is required is a Web browser and Internet access. We are independent of the users underlying operating system. Our software is tested against the Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari Web browsers. Our system is also independent of any particular user applications, although if a user would like to review or open a received document that was created using a particular application, that application must be on the user's computer (e.g. Microsoft Word).

Are there space restrictions on the amount or size of documents uploaded?

Yes, the current size limitation is 100 MB per document.

How does your application allow for segmented and secure access to the application review and scoring system without providing global access to all aspects of the grant system?

The grantmaker account may have one or more users. There is no limit on the number of users for the grantmaker account. The account owner and administrator can set separate account permissions for each user in the grantmaker account. These permissions are: owner, administrator, evaulator, reviewer (detailed), reviewer (summary). The permissions affect the detail of what the account users are able to view, change and evaluate. The scoring and evaluation capabilities allow the account owner to define the method to be used (rating, ranking, notations) and the visibility of the scores between users. Users with an account type of Owner, Administrator or Evaluator may be assigned to evaluator groups for the purpose of evaluating applications. Evaluator groups may be empty or consist of one or more users. The account permissions are:

Name Summary Description
Owner Create new user accounts, setup and change organization and program information, review applications, evaluate applications, approve and reject applications, create and run custom reports.
Administrator Create new user accounts, setup and change organization and program information, review applications, evaluate applications, approve and reject applications, create and run custom reports.
Evaluator Review organization and program information, review applications, evaluate applications. Run custom reports.
Reviewer 1 Review organization and program information, review applications. Run custom reports.
Reviewer 3 Review organization and program information, review applications. Run custom reports.

How do evaluators record notes on each application? Are these notes kept private from the applicant? Are these notes kept private from other evaluators? Can these notes be printed? Can offline notes be uploaded and added to an application without the grantee seeing the notes?

All applications and their associated documents can be reviewed online, although it is possible to export and/or print the information for use by those that would prefer paper. Account owners and administrators can record notes on each application. To record their notes they go to the application and click on an Edit Notes button. Each evaluator can record their scores, application notes and evaluation question notes on each application. To record their notes they go to the application and click on the Edit Evaluation button.

None of the account owner's or administrator notes, or evaluator scores and notes are ever visible to the applicant. The account owner or administrator can configure whether or not evaluators within an evaluator group/program can see each other's scores and notes. The account owner or administrator can also configure whether or not evaluators outside of the evaluator group/program can add their own score or notes. Owners and administrators can always see all evaluator's scores and notes. There are a number of standard reports that display various fields of the evaluator's scores and notes by evaluator or by application. One or more evaluations can also be saved or exported as a PDF file. If multiple evaluations are selected they will be saved into a single PDF file pre-pended with a table of contents.

How does the Common Grant Application manage grant ratings? Can ratings be different from year to year?

The evaluation processes are independent for each grantmaker program. Every program may have the same rules and information, or they may be different from each other.

The account owner or administrator sets up the evaluation rules. These include:

  • Whether an application evaluation is required for a grantmaker program.
  • What type of application evaluation scale will be used.
  • Membership of the evaluator groups (if any).
  • Which evaluator groups (if any) are assigned to each grantmaker program.
  • Whether evaluators can see other evaluators scores and notes.
  • Whether evaluators outside of an evaluator group can add their own notes to an application evaluation. Evaluators outside of an evaluator group cannot score an application evaluation they have not been assigned.

These rules are applied to applications as they are received. None of the evaluation information is visible to the applicant. The owner or administrator may, if necessary, change the assigned grantmaker program, assigned evaluation scale and/or assigned evaluator group after an application has been received.

Owners, administrators and evaluators may all be assigned to evaluator groups. Applications are available for evaluation the moment they are received. Evaluators can either periodically login and visit the website to identify new applications that have been received, or select whether or not they would like to receive an email when an application is received. After completion of the grantmaker evaluation process, the owner or administrator then may either accept or reject the application. Evaluators and reviewers cannot perform this step.

There are 3 standard evaluation scales, and 2 custom evaluation scales. Owners or administrators select and setup the scale that will be used for evaluations and evaluators simply use the scale. The possible scales are:

Name Description
Rating (Non-numeric Scale: Yes, No, Maybe) A non-numeric scale allowing the evaluator to score an application with a yes, no or maybe.
Rating (Numeric Scale: 0 - 4) A numeric scale allowing the evaluator to score an application from 0 (meaning the evaluator recommends the application not be approved) to 4 (meaning the evaluator recommends approval of the application).
Rating (Numeric Scale: 1 - 5) A numeric scale allowing the evaluator to score an application from 1 (meaning the evaluator recommends the application not be approved) to 5 (meaning the evaluator recommends approval of the application).
Ranking (Numeric Ranking) A numeric ranking scale of any value allowing evaluators to rank an application against other applications being evaluated. This is the most flexible option (because evaluators can enter any numeric value when making their evaluation), but this flexibility also means that applications aren't rated on a single defined scale.
Rating (Numeric Scale: Custom by Column) A user defined scale with one or more questions, one or more scoring ranges for all questions and descriptive text of how questions should be scored within each allowable scoring range. The scoring ranges are the same for all questions.
Rating (Numeric Scale: Custom by Row) A user defined scale with one or more questions, one scoring range per question and descriptive text of how each question should be scored within the allowable range. The scoring ranges may be different for each question.

Once a grant is ready to be funded, how does your grant management system manage the funding effort?

The grantmaker specifies the amount approved at the time they approve the application. The grantmaker can then break this down into one or more amounts approved, scheduled and paid. We currently work with a payment gateway to manage subscription fee and per application fee payments. In the future we plan to add a capability that will allow direct EFT to the applicant.

When an applicant who has been awarded a grant logs into the application, what type of information is shared with the applicant?

Applicants can set their personal preferences so that they can receive an email when the status of an application changes. They can also log in to the system at any time to check the real-time status of an application. At the time a grantmaker approves an application they are asked to provide the following information (as necessary):

  • Amount Approved.
  • Notes.
  • Whether or not an online agreement is required.
  • Agreement text (if an online agreement is required).
  • Whether or not attachments, interim and/or final reports are required.
  • Report guidelines (if reports are required).

If an online agreement is required, the grantmaker may use agreement text from a template, or tailor the agreement text for each individual applicant. If one or more reports are required, the grantmaker may provide the report guidelines text from a template, or tailor the report guidelines text for each individual grantmaker. The amount approved, notes, grant agreement information and report information are all associated with the approved application and viewable by the applicant any time after the application has been approved.

If an online based agreement is used by the grantmaker, it may be reviewed and accepted or rejected by the applicant. The applicant's agreement page will show the agreement and provide a response section that will allow the applicant to either accept or reject the agreement, and also provide any additional response that will be viewable by the grantmaker. The agreement can be changed by the grantmaker until it has been accepted by the applicant. It cannot be changed by the applicant. Grantmakers can set their personal preferences so that they can receive an email when a agreement is received.

If one or more reports are required by the grantmaker, they may be uploaded by the applicant at any time. The grantmaker may then review the reports online, acknowledge their receipt and indicate to the applicant when all reports have been accepted and approved. Grantmakers can set their personal preferences so that they can receive an email when a report is received.

When an applicant who was not awarded a grant logs into the system, what type of information is shared?

Applicants can set their personal preferences, so they can receive an email when the status of an application changes. They can also log in to the system at any time to check the real-time status of an application. At the time a grantmaker rejects an application they are asked to provide the following information:

  • Reject reason and description
  • Notes

The system provides a set of standard reject reasons but the grantmaker may create their own reasons with an associated description. The reject reason, description and notes are all associated with the rejected application and viewable by the applicant any time after the application has been rejected.

What automated support does your system provide for checking the nonprofit status of approved applicant organizations? For example, does your system have the capacity to link and retrieve data from IRS resources like Publication 78 or the Exempt Organizations Master File?

The system provides a link to the IRS Publication 78 Web page with the appropriate organization name provided for the IRS search function. Similar links are also provided to Guidestar and other websites.

How does your system account for post award analysis and site visits?

The system provides two mechanisms to manage an application, post grant. It allows the grantmaker to request and receive attachements, interim and/or final reports from the applicant and it also provides online document management capabilities.

Grantmakers may require one or more reports as part of an approved application. The grantmaker may specify the report guidelines to the applicant. The grant reports may be uploaded in any of our supported upload formats (e.g. Word, Acrobat, etc.). These reports are then available to the grantmaker for review, acknowledgement and approval.

The system also provides online document management capabilities for the grantmaker that allow them to upload, organize and manage their documents on the system. These capabilities are independent of the report capabilities. The online document management capabilities allow the grantmaker to create and manage directory structures, upload and delete files, review files and change files. The user permissions determine what each user is allowed to do. The document management system provides a central and online repository for the online storage and review of board books, meeting minutes, site visit reports, etc.

Are there standard progress reports? Can any type of progress reports be created?

No. The format of reports is specified by the grantmaker. We do not provide Web-based forms to report progress. We have found the requirements of grantmakers vary greatly. Our system will allow the upload of progress reports in the form of interim reports.

How does your system support report writing?

There are different types of information and reports available for online review, printing and export by the grantmaker. Aggregate application statistics are accumulated for all applications and grants. Some general statistics are accumulated as well as statistics for applications received by method, by cause and by type and statistics for applications and grant approved by cause and by type. These reports can be printed directly by using the Web browser print function.

The grantmaker manages the export of application information by selecting either a standard or custom view of the application listing. These views determine the fields of the application that are displayed on the application listing. The standard view provides a pre-defined list of fields that are viewable. The custom view is configurable by the grantmaker and allows the grantmaker to select filtering criteria, sorting criteria and which fields they would like to see in the report. All fields in the application are available for the report. Each custom view is savable and may be reused. The resulting report listing one or more applications or grants may then be exported into a CSV file. The CSV file may be opened for viewing or saved to the local environment of the user for use by an external spreadsheet or database application.

One or more complete applications or grants can also be saved or exported as a PDF file. If multiple applications or grants are selected they will be saved into a single PDF file pre-pended with a table of contents.

Each document uploaded by the applicant and submitted as part of an application is viewable by the grantmaker directly from their Web browser. Each viewable document is hyperlinked, and may be viewed by simply clicking on that hyperlink. The document may then either be opened for viewing or saved to the local environment of the grantmaker.

Can report creation begin in the application and end in Microsoft Excel?

Yes. All reports can be exported into a CSV/Excel file that may be opened for viewing or saved to the local environment of the user for use by an external spreadsheet or database application. Our system is independent of the underlying word processing, spreadsheet or other applications.

How does your system manage email bounces?

Emails sent by the system that are bounced, are returned back to the system. Emails sent by users that are bounced, are returned to the user.

How does your system handle opt-in/opt-out functionality?

The system uses a combination of opt-in and opt-out functionality. All emails and internal message notifications are opt-in. To account for some marketing emails that we may send to people that do not have an account on our system we also provide an opt-out capability for those emails.

Can your system send html and text based emails?

Yes.

Does your system support email list management capabilities?

Our system offers email capabilities for certain built in events and triggers, but does not offer general email and email list management capability to users. Our system posts all system generated messages to internal and individual user message boards and then based on user preferences, also sends an equivalent email to that user. In the future we will add the capability to allow user to user internal message and email posting. Threads will be maintainable between users, organizations or applications. Our system currently provides sorting and filtering capabilities to grantmakers that allow them to browse and review all applicants. These filters include:

  • Applicant relationship (all in system, submitted an application)
  • Funding type sought (e.g. program, capital, etc.)
  • Funding cause sought (e.g. environment, health, etc.)

The information can also be sorted by name, city, state and country.

This information can be used to create an email list, although at the moment an external email system would have to be used to send the email.

The systems existing ad-hoc reporting capabilities include the capabilities to filter and sort applications on various criteria. The resulting report can include applicants email addresses. All reports are exportable as a CSV file. The exported file could be used by an external email system to send emails.

Does your system operate using an internal or external mail server?

Our system is a hosted solution that resides in the cloud. We use the email server within our hosted solution. So, our system is external to the user, but the email server is internal to our solution.

Does your system allow for emails to be sent automatically when a particular event occurs on the system?

Our system sends internal message and email notifications automatically for a number of conditions. Applicants and grantmakers cannot choose whether to send these notifications, but they can set their own user preferences to specify whether they would like receive these internal message and email notifications. The allowable choices depend on the user type (applicant or grantmaker) and user permissions (owner, administrator, evaluator, and reviewer).

Owners and administrators can also choose whether to receive emails for activities directly associated with their own actions or for all users in their organization. This provides a useful oversight and monitoring capability. Evaluators will only receive emails and internal message notifications for applications associated with evaluator groups they have been assigned to (i.e., they will not receive emails or notifications for evaluator groups they are not a member of).

How much of the grant review process can applicants see? Can they tell whether their applications have been reviewed? By which evaluators?

The applicant doesn't see any of the grant review process. They only see the "status" of their application. When it is submitted it is under "review". When the grantmaker approves the application then the status changes to "approved" and the applicant receives an email and when they login they see their application was approved and has moved over to the Grant tab. If the grantmaker requires a grant agreement then they receive an email. If the grantmaker requires a report then they receive an email. The applicant also receives an email when an application is declined or withdrawn and they see the status change. They don't see any activity of an evaluator evaluating an application or any of their notes.