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TAG Announces Release of Updated Consumers Guide to Grants Management Software

Saturday, October 1, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Pool

TAG Announces Release of Updated Consumer's Guide to Grants Management Software

Excerpted from the Executive Summary of A Consumers Guide to Grants Management Systems

Developed by Idealware. Commissioned by the Grants Managers Network and the Technology Affinity Group.

Grants management software helps grantmakers save time, make their processes more effective and transparent, and can even transform the way they do business. Since Idealware released the first edition of our Consumers Guide to Grants Management Systems in 2008, the grants management system marketplace has become more vibrant, with healthy competition creating better systems for both small and large grantmakers. The number of vendors offering tools has greatly expanded, providing many more options for smaller foundations at affordable costs. Online hosted systems are also becoming the norm. On the higher end, systems are adding compelling customization features with tailor the interface to the user.

This expansion is great for grants managers, but the array of choices can make it complicated to decide what system makes sense for any given organization. A Consumer's Guide to Grants Management Systems explores the systems available to help grantmakers accept and review applications and track grants throughout their life cycles, with detailed comparisons of 20 systems.

Community foundations differ from other grantmaking organizations in several important areas, and are therefore not included in this report—we also have a report on grants management software for community foundations that we'll release soon after this one.

What Systems Are Available?

There's a huge variety of grants management systems, ranging from options for small foundations at only a few thousand dollars a year, specialty options for niches like arts grantmaking or medical research foundations, and robust, completely configurable solutions for large grantmakers starting at $100,000 or more.

Low cost for simple needs

More functionality isn't necessarily better. If you have only a small grants program, a straightforward system with a lower price tag could provide exactly the support you need. Consider Bromelkamp's, Closerware GrantMaker, Foundant Grant Lifecycle Manager, MicroEdge GIFTS Online or WizeHive Grant Manager.

Flexible relationship management

If you are hoping to track not just the basic details of a grant, but complex custom tracking information about applications and relationships, consider the growing number of systems geared to support this need with customizable options and strong support for relationship management, such as Bromelkamp, Bromelkamp First Pearl, Good Done Great Grant Management System, MicroEdge GIFTS, MicroEdge GIFTS Online, NPower Foundation Grant Manager, SmartSimple GMS for Private Foundations or Solpath Fluxx.

Complex online data collection needs

If your core priority in a grants management system is to collect complex application and grantee progress report data online, a number of systems provide both strong online support and useful general grants management functionality. Consider CyberGrants, Good Done Great Grant Management System, JK Group, PhilanTech PhilanTrack or NPower Foundation Grant Manager.

Complex application review needs

Some systems provide very little functionality to support complex review processes, while others provide complex scoring mechanisms, online forms to allow outside reviewers, and even specialized functionality geared toward reviewing arts projects or medical research applications. If review functionality is a core priority, consider WESTAF GrantsOnline™, Dulles Technology Partners WebGrants, GrantStream GrantRight™ or Altum proposalCENTRAL

Strong all-around functionality for the large foundation

If you need all of the above—and are willing to pay for it—large "enterprise” systems provide strong functionality and customization for a larger price tag. Consider Altum Easygrants, Grantium G3, FusionLabs GrantedGE or MicroEdge GIFTS.

Comparing the Systems

How do all these packages compare? A Consumer's Guide to Grants Management Systems provides both a high-level look at the systems and a closer look at the details behind them. Quick paragraph blurbs describe the core strengths and weaknesses of each system, and a comparison chart shows how they stack up across a set of 17 different criteria. Finally, the reviews of the systems provide a detailed, six-page summary of each system that shows how it addresses more than 125 different criteria. The grants management software marketplace has never had a better set of options to support effective and efficient grantmaking, and this report helps grantmakers understand how all these options compare.

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