For foundations to effectively deliver funding to organizations that need it, they need to keep on top of current philanthropic climate in addition to understanding how to meet their goals in an ever-changing environment. Grant management platforms can help philanthropic organizations more effectively stay on top of the grant cycle, but grantmakers also need in-depth knowledge to make these platforms perform to their greatest potential. Grants Managers Network is an organization devoted to improving grantmaking by advancing knowledge and skills. To further this mission, a new report, “GMN’s Blueprint for the Future 2014-2016”, highlights a strategic approach for the future to help grantmakers get what they need to perform better.

High on the list is the need to increase the know-how of grants management professionals so they can deliver better outcomes for their foundations as well as the nonprofit organizations that rely on funding from them. Making grantmaking more effective means harnessing the latest tools and research and putting them to work to improve processes. For instance, many foundations have yet to implement grant management software, which can eliminate the inefficiencies that result from paper-based processes.

Grantmakers need process improvement

Another point on GMN’s report is that grantmakers need to more quickly adopt processes that are proven to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of grantmaking on a large scale. Once again, implementing grantmaking tools could be the first step in making this a reality. All three of these outlined attributes can be improved with the use of digital tools. Sophisticated grant management software like CommunityForce’s comes with reporting tools that can help foundations analyze their operations and make strategic, data-driven decisions. This software also increases transparency, both within organizations and externally. When decision-makers are able to keep in touch using digital tools throughout the grant-making process, decisions are made more effectively. When foundations have a better handle on decision-making, they are better able to communicate with nonprofits about how decisions are made, which is something that these organizations are perennially interested in knowing.

Consistently reevaluating how grantmaking works best in the face of the current philanthropic climate and available tools is a vital part of success. According to Grantcraft, this process isn’t just important for grantmaking organizations, but philanthropic impact overall. Grantmaking is difficult and time-consuming, but for the benefit of those who utilize funding, it’s important to spend time working on process improvement for foundations everywhere.