News & Press: TAG News

TAG Releases A Consumers Guide to Grants Management Systems

Monday, May 23, 2016   (0 Comments)

Grantmakers Look to the Cloud for Systems Solutions


Lisa Pool  | |  610-688-6832

Nikki Powell  |  |  202-495-0419

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May 24, 2016 (WASHINGTON, DC) Cloud-based grantmaking systems have taken the lead in use by foundations, mirroring the overall growth of the use of cloud technologies across all organization types. Cloud-based systems used by funders now greatly outnumber local server installations of the systems used to manage the distribution of billions of dollars each year, according to A Consumers Guide to Grants Management Systems, a new report released by Grants Managers Network (GMN) and Technology Affinity Group (TAG), with research conducted by Idealware. The report compares 29 grants management systems across 174 requirements criteria, looks at what each system does, and compares the strengths and weaknesses of each system available to grantmakers.

“Findings are very encouraging to the philanthropy sector,” says Michelle Greanias, executive director of Grants Managers Network. “Vendors are focused on the user experience, both in design and management of systems, and some are making great strides in helping streamline operations, which ultimately benefits grantseekers and their missions.”

“Some vendors have responded quickly and enthusiastically to the sector-wide call to streamline the application processes for grantseekers. A few of them have already implemented specific solutions, such as the partnership between the Simplify initiative and Guidestar, which uses a central database of nonprofit information to prepopulate the repetitive and unproductive elements of grant applications, saving grantees time and enabling them to easily share their data with funders," according to Lisa Pool, executive director of Technology Affinity Group. 

“This report helps grantmakers take the first step in choosing a system,” notes Karen Graham, executive director of Idealware.  “While it’s not a substitute for the demonstrations and due diligence necessary to choose the right software solution, it will help them understand the differences between products and drastically cut down research time so they can focus in on a short list of potential solutions likely to fit their own requirements and priorities."

As the field of grantmaking systems evolves and becomes more crowded, the range of complexity and price points is also growing. Small packages can support straightforward online application, review, and progress reporting processes for $2,400 a year, while a specialty solution for a very large grantmaking organization can cost upward of $200,000 a year.

The first edition of A Consumers Guide to Grants Management Systems was released in 2008, with subsequent major revisions in 2011 and 2013. A separate 2012 edition focused on grants management systems for community foundations.  

The full report is available from GMN at, from TAG at, and from Idealware at, respectively.


Grants Managers Network is a thriving national association of nearly 3,000 philanthropy professionals with a mission to improve grantmaking by advancing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of grants management professionals and leading grantmakers to adopt and incorporate effective practices that benefit the philanthropic community. By increasing the knowledge of grants managers and the efficiency and effectiveness of funders, GMN helps grantmakers deliver more resources directly to mission-driven activities, leading to better outcomes for grantmakers and grantseekers alike. Learn more about GMN at

The Technology Affinity Group (TAG) ( is a non-profit membership organization that promotes the power of technology to advance the goals of the philanthropic sector. TAG is an active community of professionals responsible for aligning technology with the philanthropic objectives of their organizations, striving to provide the highest quality resources and learning opportunities for TAG members in an open environment built on trust and a shared belief in the greater common good.

Idealware provides thoroughly researched, impartial and accessible resources about software to help nonprofits make smart technology decisions. Idealware provides an authoritative online guide to the software that allows U.S. nonprofits—especially small ones—to be more effective. By synthesizing vast amounts of original research into credible and approachable information, Idealware helps nonprofits make the most of their time and financial resources. Learn more at

The Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization that promotes the power of technology to advance the goals of the philanthropic sector.