Subjecting applicants to a process that includes downloading and printing forms; completing them by hand, scanning, and finally either emailing or mailing is time-consuming and tedious.

Hosting your grant application online saves you and your applicants valuable time while significantly reducing admin and support effort, allowing you to concentrate on the high-level priorities that will fuel your success.

Customizing a grant application form that’s thorough yet concise is one of the most important tasks in your grantmaking process.

So, what makes an inclusive and effective grant application form? Here’s a guide for your reference:

What does our organization need to know to make a decision?

This varies on a case-to-case basis but it’s important for you to gather and collate all the information you need to come up with the best decision. Keep it short and concise by asking only what’s necessary. Eliminate questions that won’t help in your decision-making process to save you and your applicants valuable time.

1. Information about the grantee

Collect basic information about the grantee to establish compliance with your eligibility criteria and if they meet any legal or operational protocols.

2. Information about their proposal

Information about what the grantee intends to do with the funds—whether for a general operational budget, a specific project or plan, or some other distinction, will be key for almost all kinds of grants.

This can include the establishment of need, a detailed plan of execution, and timeline information.

You can also ask applicants to articulate a plan for future sustainability after the exhaustion of the grant funds in question. Also: how does the grantee intend to measure their success and report on their impact?

3. Information that you’ll need to report

Don’t forget to include key information that you’ll need to report to your stakeholders, such as data that demonstrates the diversity of your applicant pool and outcome measurements.

How do I make my application form inclusive?

Many organizations are focused on best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout their grant management process. Designing the application form itself is a crucial step in these best practices.

Here is a summary of strategies that will help, and tips for how online grant management software for grantmakers can make it easier to be more inclusive in your search and eliminate bias.

Create an easy and accessible online process for applicants

By making your grant application form simple, intuitive, and accessible, you help attract the best possible applicants to your foundation or business’s grantmaking process.

Use tools to eliminate bias

For any grantmaker serious about diversity, equity, and inclusion, it’s non-negotiable to be able to hide applicant details that might consciously or unconsciously influence grant reviewers and decision-makers.

This could include personally identifying information, demographic data, or anything other data specific to your grant that might be crucial to collect but could risk introducing bias into the review process.

Be mindful when collecting demographic data

It’s crucial to be mindful when collecting sensitive information like demographic data. Here are some proven strategies to do it right:

Include transparent guidelines

When you’re asking people sensitive questions, it’s important to let them know why.

For example, you can share that the information will be used at the end of your program to evaluate whether you have reached your goals around a diverse applicant pool or to ensure that your funding is equitably distributed among different groups.

This is also a great way to let applicants know that this information will be concealed from reviewers and will not be used as part of a funding decision.

Make it optional

Especially when it comes to demographic data, such as race, gender identification, sexual orientation, disability status, or other data, it should always be the applicant’s choice if they want to disclose.

Allow for self-identification

Giving individuals the option to self-describe is a key to making all individuals feel welcome and respected.

Be open to diverse communication styles

Allowing for diverse communication styles and mediums lets all your applicants put their best foot forward.

Keep your form concise.

Keeping your form concise is absolutely essential to encouraging your busy applicants to complete their submissions and avoid application abandonment.

After you’ve determined which information is crucial to coming to a decision, a grant management platform makes creating a concise form easy.

Make questions required

A tool that can mark questions as required not only allows your team to ensure that you gather all essential data and eliminate incomplete submissions, it also signals to applicants that they may safely ignore any non-required questions that may be less relevant to their proposal.

Grants United is an all-in-one solution encompassing all your needs, so you can carry out your grants mission of any size seamlessly on one platform.

Build and Accept Applications

Choose existing forms or customize your own form to fulfill your requirements, and view and manage all your existing forms on one screen.



Manage your Application process

Communicate with applicants and reviewers, view applicants in real-time, and manage the evaluation workflow to make sure your review team makes equitable and unbiased decisions.

User-Centric Interface

Designed with ease of use and convenience in mind, our centralized, mobile-friendly application system provides your applicant an engaging experience with full visibility, a rich text editor tool, and the ability to upload supporting documents on the go.

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Grants United is the leading cloud-based solutions provider with a robust user interface and end-to-end life cycle automation. Maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve the way you collaborate with our intuitive platform.