CRM: The Future Is Now

For decades the grantmaking lifecycle has been supported by data systems that are limited to grant management and unscalable custom solutions that run off an on-premise server. In an effort to replace these outdated, siloed solutions, a number of cloud-based solutions were brought to life to streamline the grantmaking lifecycle. But will these one-point solutions be sufficient for foundations in the long run?

Businesses in countless industries have seen the benefits of implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, often referred to as Constituent Relationship Management in the nonprofit sector. A CRM platform can support the majority of business processes across an organization using a single solution, usually hosted in the cloud. Sounds great, or rather scary? Perhaps a little bit of both.

Change doesn’t come easy, and many foundations remain hesitant to implement a CRM without a full understanding of how a system usually geared towards sales will be able to support not just the grantmaking process, but the work of the entire organization. Here are some of the prime reasons to move to CRM.

Increased Efficiency and Collaboration

Multiple stakeholders have a hand in moving an application from the initial submission to grant award to close-out. Using a CRM with external-facing portals gives grant makers, grant seekers, reviewers, recommenders, and consultants the opportunity to come together on a single platform for better collaboration and increased transparency. This means you can easily assign a task to a reviewer, request additional information from a grant seeker, or update the status of a certain grant application so others can easily access current information when needed. Using a single platform throughout the process allows for fewer steps and simplified workflows, ultimately allowing your staff to save valuable time and reduce operational costs.

A Single “Source of Truth”

Disconnected “silos” of data exist even in organizations with a formal grant management system, maintained by users who feel the system doesn’t support the data tracking capabilities or reporting they need. This often leads to duplicate and out-of-sync data across the entire organization, making it challenging to know whether the information is current or correct. A CRM solution can support every department within your institution, providing your staff with a single source of truth that is easy to access and contains more than just grants data.

Comprehensive Reporting

One of the major benefits of implementing a CRM platform for your institution is that they empower your staff with robust reporting functionalities. When all information is stored in a single database, it’s easy to quickly gather and summarize the data into comprehensive and easy-to-read reports, minimize reporting inconsistencies that come with siloed systems, and allow staff to measure the impact of your grants.

Improved End-to-End Experience

Ultimately, a cloud-based CRM platform lets you improve the end-to-end experience for everyone involved, including your staff, grant seekers and external reviewers. Not only are they able to work collaboratively in a single “source of truth”; they can access the information from anywhere, anytime and from any device, allowing staff to operate more efficiently.

 

—Marquetta Drakes is the Senior Product Manager of foundationConnect at roundCorner, providing foundations with a cloud-based CRM platform. In her role she is responsible for managing the product lifecycle in order to implement the tools needed to manage philanthropic giving, scholarship programs & similar application-based processes.

 

Guest Blogger

GMN welcomes blog posts from members, colleagues from peer organizations, thought leaders, and others in the philanthropy sector. Contact Nikki Powell at npowell@gmnetwork.org.