When you use manual processes use paper applications for grants and scholarships, the costs may be adding up more quickly than you think. The paper buildup can produce unexpected costs related to storage and postage. And these costs aren’t just monetary; dealing with a paper or other inefficient processes can add significant time to the grant or scholarship management process. Before you know it, you and your staff can be putting in 60-hour workweeks and sacrificing personal time to inefficiency and burnout. Luckily, you have other options. With cloud-based software, you can make your processes more efficient, from review to reporting, and go paperless.

The hidden costs of paper manual processes

The U.S. uses significant amounts of paper. According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency cited by the Paperless Project, the average office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of paper every year. In 2010, the average American recycled more than 300 pounds of paper. If you think about just how much paper we use on a daily basis, it becomes shocking. With the cost-effective technology available on the market, foundations no longer need to be mired in paper-based grant processes, especially since working with paper is time-consuming, which is the last thing you need. Employee time costs money and, perhaps more importantly, energy.

The average employee spends 30 to 40 percent of his or her time searching for information that is contained in emails, documents, and filing cabinets. When you’re in the middle of a busy grant application period, or it’s time to report back to your donors, spending hours of time searching leads to stress and probably less attention given to the actual report, once the information is located. If you want your staff to remain engaged, alleviating some of the burdens they face could be a good first step.

Then, think about all the time you devote to errands that aren’t really advancing the work that you do. According to the Paperless Project, the average document is copied up to 11 times. When you store paper, employees have to walk to the storage area, search for papers and come back. All of these activities do nothing to contribute to distributing funds and just soak up precious time and energy.

Go for the cloud

Software-as-a-service platforms are gaining popularity because of their ease of use and the flexibility they allow. As Idealware puts it, the ability to access the data you need from any Internet-enabled device can make life a lot easier for busy employees. Rather than spending precious hours looking for information, a cloud-based platform can easily store all the data you need on a user-friendly interface. Imagine having applications, data from previous grantees, and the review process all under one roof. No more comparing spreadsheets and trying to make sense of the data contained in them.

Going paperless is not only easier for employees, but it can save a lot of money in the long run on costs related to paper and its storage. Still, the benefits of increased organization and saved time are even harder to ignore.