Accepting applications is just one stage of the grantmaking process. Even from the start, it can be hard to stay organized without the right processes in place. To decrease the number of applications that are out of line with the foundation’s mission, more foundations have started using requests for proposals, which ask for applications related to specific projects, Grant Space said. Foundations are increasingly using this method to gain applicants for several reasons. First, because it ensures that the funding requests will be in line with the interests of the foundation. Secondly, sending out requests can reduce the sheer volume of applications coming in. some foundations use requests for proposals.
Why some foundations use requests for proposals
According to Philanthropy News Digest, about 60 percent of the roughly 86,000 foundations in the U.S. don’t accept unsolicited proposals. The choice to accept unsolicited applications or not generally depends on the size of the foundation. While grantmakers may want to consider every letter that comes in the door, many organizations are simply not staffed in a way that makes it possible to look over every single application. PND cited a report from Foundation Center that found that out of 11,000 foundations surveyed, more than three-quarters had fewer than four people on staff. Imagine trying to give each application that comes through the same amount of attention. Without the right tools, it can be nearly impossible.
On the other hand, sound foundations choose not to accept unsolicited proposals because they have a very specific idea in mind of the types of projects they wish to fund. As PND puts it, though larger foundations may have significant assets, these funds still need to be used strategically to address some of the bigger problems in the world. Even with a large number of employees dedicated to reviewing applications, a lot of time may be lost on applications for projects or organizations that are unrelated to the work the foundation is doing.
Accept applications more efficiently with grant management software
No matter what needs or reasons a foundation has during the application process, grant management software can make it easier to send requests and accept applications. For organizations that choose to go the RFP route, a grant management platform like CommunityForce’s can automate the process, and make sure the request letter is distributed to the right areas quickly. With better collaboration, staff can craft a better request.
In addition, more sophisticated screening tools can make it easier to cut through the volume of applicants and find the ones that are on the mark in terms of the foundation’s mission. When foundations are using a grant management platform instead of spreadsheets and databases, they can go through the review process more quickly and effectively because they have insight into what colleagues are doing.
Finally, grant management platforms provide reporting that can help foundations determine whether their funds are truly being used in the way they intended. These metrics can assist foundations in crafting more effective RFPs in the future.