Going paperless can help reduce overall costs and increase efficiency. The time you and your employees spend filing paper manually and searching for it adds up. When foundations start eliminating paper, the end result is usually more time to devote to the causes that advance the foundations’ work, and happier employees. Rather than staying after hours with a pile of paperwork to get through, you can review, maintain and report on proposals and submissions online. The move to an online process can make a significant difference. With a sophisticated platform, you can more easily manage data and greatly enhance collaborative workflow throughout the organization.

Even with knowledge of the advantages of implementing digital platforms and reducing paper use, it can be hard to know how to get started with such a change. With the many fantastic tools on the market available to foundations, a perfect place to start is the grant-management process. It’s central to your operations and the paperwork involved is particularly cumbersome.

Here are a few ways to get started with paperless processes:

Run your grant making process online

This sounds complicated, but in reality, a grant-management platform can easily accommodate these functions in a user-friendly central location. Applicants can submit their materials online, your organization can easily see if any elements missing, and your staff can even request additional details from applicants directly from the online system.

Communicate electronically

Once your application process is online, it’s easier to maintain all communications with grantees digitally. Digital messages are often more efficient than paper anyway. Using an internal messaging service provides ease of use and a level of accountability that paper isn’t able to offer.

Go paperless in meetings

Business Management Daily suggests eliminating paper from meetings. Rather than printing paper agendas, utilize a document-management system that will allow you to access these materials digitally. It’s also easy to create a presentation that everyone can look at together.

Set up a shared document system

For many organizations, eliminating the use of paper in the office is unrealistic, but you can still store documents and files online for easy access and space savings.  Once you have set up a document management system, you can easily scan the important papers that do accumulate so they will be organized more effectively online.

Putting systems in place so that you can reduce paper can seem like a big job at first, but it’s well worth it in the long run. While you can be more environmentally-friendly this way, digital platforms tend to enhance communications and streamline workflow, making it easier for you to distribute funds.