100 Forms in 100 Days campaign saves nonprofits 1 million hours

Aug 11, 2021

(Saint Paul, Minnesota) – A campaign to save nonprofits a million hours through grant application process improvements has realized its aims. 

Millions of mission-related hours are lost every year to the time-consuming grant application process. Nonprofits consistently report that “technical time-wasters” in grant applications consume 20-30 percent of their time, according to over 2,500 anonymous reviews of grantmaking foundations on GrantAdvisor.org.

Addressing such time-wasters is a key opportunity for funders seeking to improve accessibility and provide equitable access to funding.

A Unique Partnership

Leveraging the momentum in philanthropy to address inequity, GrantAdvisor.org partnered with the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) in summer 2021 to develop a unique campaign: “100 Forms in 100 Days.” Building upon key findings from thousands of GrantAdvisor reviews and 500 responses to a 2020 survey called #FixTheForm (co-led by GrantAdvisor’s Kari Aanestad & London-based fundraiser and grantmaker Laura Solomons), “100 Forms in 100 Days” rallied grantmakers to address the top pain point in the application process: The inability to see the full application when preparing a response. 

“The pandemic has heightened philanthropy’s awareness of what nonprofits need, especially regarding how technology can make or break their mission,” says Chantal Forster, TAG’s Executive Director. “It’s inspiring to see foundation tech staff become vocal advocates for their nonprofit peers as a result of the pandemic.”

The campaign’s goal was simple: Gather 100 example grant forms in 100 days. In doing so, GrantAdvisor and TAG aimed to build awareness of this pain point for nonprofits and inspire foundations to provide a downloadable version of the application on their websites. What happened was so much more.

Not only did over 120 grantmakers throughout the world participate in the “100 Forms” campaign but five leading grants management providers enabled or amplified functionality in their systems to specifically address this pain point for nonprofits. Blackbaud, Fluxx, Foundant, GivingData, and SmartSimple now provide the ability for over 3,000 foundations to enable grant form download for their applicants. This seemingly simple technical change has a multiplier effect that impacts over 1 million nonprofits according to customer data provided by the five vendors.

“It’s inspiring to see nonprofits, foundations, and the tech industry coming together to make practical changes and address an issue that costs our sector millions of dollars a year,” says Kari Aanestad, co-founder of GrantAdvisor.org and director of advancement at Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. “This campaign demonstrates the immense collective power we hold when nonprofits offer honest feedback, and philanthropy responds.

Campaign Results

  • 128 foundations made their grant applications public, including some of the largest, most influential foundations in global grantmaking including  the Ford Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and European Climate Foundation.
  • Five industry-leading grants management software providers, Blackbaud, Fluxx, Foundant, GivingData, and SmartSimple, made permanent enhancements  to their platforms, enabling foundations to make their full grant form available ahead of time. (Full list of participating foundations and vendors: http://blog.grantadvisor.org/reformer-community/).
  • 3,300 foundations can now enable grant form download  in their grants management software, impacting one million nonprofits who apply for funding. If this change saves a nonprofit one hour, that’s one million hours saved.

“These changes will really help us be able to spend less time and money on form filling and more on the causes and people we support,” said a respondent to the #FixTheForm Survey. 

What’s Next?

  • GrantAdvisor and the #FixTheForm campaign will continue efforts to raise awareness and push funders to make changes that address nonprofits’ top pain points in grant applications and reports.
  • TAG is conducting data analysis on the 128 forms shared during the campaign to answer a longstanding question for the sector: “How similar are our grant application forms?” Find out on Thursday, August 19, 1 – 2 p.m. EST:  https://tagtech.org/event/100forms-results


For Media Inquiries:

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and Grant Advisor
Laura Dunford, Communications Manager

Technology Association of Grantmakers
Chantal Forster, Executive Director

About GrantAdvisor

GrantAdvisor is an anonymous review site of grantmaking foundations launched by three nonprofits and dozens of nonprofit leaders in 2017. Today the site has over 2,600 reviews on 800 foundations. Nowhere else can grantseekers find public advice from peers on what it really takes to secure grant funding or where foundations can get free, honest feedback. Learn more: https://grantadvisor.org

About the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN)

MCN was founded in 1987 to meet the increasing information needs of nonprofits and to convene nonprofits to address issues facing the sector. With over 2,200 nonprofit member organizations, it is the second largest state association of nonprofits in the U.S., with a mission to inform, promote, connect, and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector. Learn more: www.minnesotanonprofits.org.

About the Technology Association of Grantmakers

TAG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization that promotes the strategic, innovative, and equitable use of technology in philanthropy to solve problems and improve lives. With over 2000 members in 300 foundations throughout North America and beyond, TAG is the voice of technology in the philanthropic sector, providing technology professionals, tech funders, and “accidental techies” with knowledge, networks, mentoring, and educational opportunities.

Since 2008, the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) has built a global community, conducted groundbreaking research, and become an advocate for investment in tech infrastructure throughout the charitable sector. For more information, visit tagtech.org.