When you look at all of the work grant-makers have to deal with throughout all aspects of the awarding process, it’s surprising how many foundations and institutions still use paper to manage applications. While it may be surprising to nonprofits seeking funds, grant-making is an enormous undertaking. Once the grants have been given, there is still more work to do, like checking up on the grant receivers and then reporting back to the board on the allocation of funds. It can be relentless for these foundations, especially when they deal with multiple grants.

While the situation can appear bleak from the inside, organizations are benefiting from grant management software more than you may think, and they’re enjoying the streamlined procedures that technology can bring. In March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced that it was switching to a paperless system that would automate grant application and post-awards processing.

A release from the organization outlined how NIFA had previously utilized paper-based filing systems that required significant resources to maintain over time. With the grant management system, NIFA has cut many staff hours from post-awards management, which used to take up a huge amount of time. Because records are sent electronically, the staff who deal with more than 5,000 post-award processes can do so more quickly and efficiently. The institute expects the cost reductions from the changes to save taxpayers more than $100,000 annually.

Change is possible. You just need to know what grant management software can do for you and where to find a solution that works.

Increase the efficiency of reporting in grant management

Another benefit you can expect when you switch to a grant management system is that the reporting process can be far easier, especially if you have a solution that also delivers business intelligence. These platforms can harness the data in your grant management software and deliver visualizations that make it easier to determine where funds were allocated and how they were used.

This can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, most people can gain a better understanding of data through graphs and charts rather than just by attempting to reason through these relationships using a spreadsheet. A pie chart or graph can make numeric relationships more immediately clear. On the other hand, good business intelligence goes a step beyond simple charts that can be duplicated in Excel to offer dynamic, real-time results like scatter plots and forecasts.

Secondly, according to Ideal ware, the data you need is often isolated in separate platforms. You may have one with financial information, another that contains donor information and one more that holds the reporting data from your grantees. Finding a way to combine the information siloed in these accounts and make sense out of it is a nightmare.

The third reason switching to software that offers business intelligence can help you shave hours off of the reporting process is simply the capability to deliver this data immediately.

From applications all the way through post-award processing and reporting, grant management software can increase the efficiency of procedures, making life easier for you and your stakeholders.