What Is Grant Management?
For several years now Salesforce has had two key offerings when it comes to Grant Management on their platform: Outbound Funds Module (OFM) and the Grants Management System (GMS).
OFM is a free offering that provides grant management capabilities including requests, decisions and disbursement tracking.
GMS was based on the OFM but included additional functionality for application reviews and the Experience cloud with a prebuilt Experience for grantee’s to see their own applications and update any monitoring/impact reports needed.
Now, the latest iteration of the new Nonprofit Cloud suite of products is the Grantmaking product. This sits on top of the existing Nonprofit Cloud Programmes and Case Management functionality that we have covered previously.
This new offering provides similar functionality as the existing GMS capabilities but includes several enhancements and closer alignment with the core platform.
So let’s go through the main changes, additions and improvements here to help showcase some of the functionality that you could be taking advantage of right now!
Key differences between the GMS and the Grantmaking platform:
- Funding Requests are now Individual Applications
- Funding Awards are now separate records (with related disbursements, requirements etc)
- Funding Programs are now called Funding Opportunities
- Grantmaking now has budget template capabilities for organisations to dictate what budgets and line items are needed at the application stage
- Budget records are now tied into the Disbursements so that you can track the outgoing payments against predetermined budgets
- Based on the Nonprofit Cloud, Grantmaking can now also benefit from the elements detailed in earlier blogs such as Omnistudio, Action Plans, Document Checklists as well as tie into the case and program management products.
- Oh, and Multiple Awards against the same application!
So, let’s dig into the details of the above and provide a high level overview of the functionality and possibilities of the Grantmaking solution.
Let’s start at the beginning and setup the structure that a grantmaking organisation would do when they first release a funding round and that is:
Funding Opportunities are records that can be created to track which grant funds you are currently receiving applications for, those that are closed, planned etc all driven by a status field.
As always with Salesforce, we can modify the standard fields and add additional fields to capture the data that your organisation needs to facilitate your funding opportunity data and reporting requirements.
As you can see from the image above, the Funding Opportunity records also provide a list of Applications, Awards and an Analysis tab as standard.
The Applications tab is self explanatory, this is where you can see a list of the Individual Applications that have been received. The Awards tab however is new and this is because in the Grantmaking application Salesforce have split the award process out from the request process so that you can now have multiple awards against a single application.
If you are familiar with the OFM or GMS mentioned above, then the Individual Application record is the equivalent to the Funding Request records.
This Individual Application record is where you would track all of the engagement, data and related elements from the Application stage through to the Decision stage.
It is worth noting at this point that Grantmaking, similar to the GMS includes Experience Cloud licences, which means a grant seeking portal is included. The status field at the Funding Opportunity record mentioned above allows us to publish the Funding Opportunity in real time for users of the Experience Cloud to apply and generate an Individual Application.
Lets couple this with the wider context of the Nonprofit Cloud functionality, namely, Omnistudio and more specifically, the ability to generate online forms (such as Application forms!) directly from within Salesforce, and surface those forms on the experience cloud, and at that point, you can then embed the application page onto your website if needed.
What Salesforce is doing here, is providing grantmakers a one stop shop for publishing Funding Opportunities via the Experience cloud, and providing an application form which generates Individual Application records – this is a very powerful combination.
Now circling back to the Individual Application record, we can track multiple applications against the same person over time and the relevant related records:
I made reference earlier to a budget template which can be created and added against the Funding Opportunity records. The idea here is that you create a Budget Template, with line items which is atypical for most of your funding which will added to the application forms – your driving the budget requests from the outset. Once submitted the application form will create an Individual Application, and you’ll be able to see the budget details within the associated tab.
Now we have reached a point where we have published a funding round, received applications, associated action plans and budgets and are ready to review the applications and proceed through the remaining stages – all without leaving the Salesforce platform.
Let’s cover the first thing that most grantmaking organisations do when they receive a new application: Review.
The review structure is fairly standard and simple, the main difference here is that you can track many reviews against the same application, so you might have an initial review and then a followup review following more information being received.
As you can see, the standard review record provides additional functionality regarding the individual performing the review and this can be an internal staff member, or an external reviewer via the Experience Cloud
It also allows us to capture the recommendations, conditions and comments, but of course, we can add many more fields as needed!
Similar to the reviews, Application Decisions have now been split out to provide multiple decisions against the same application if needed, perhaps one of your grant processes is to accept applications for multiple purposes, and each need to be reviewed and decided upon.
The decision record is very simplistic out of the box, tracking who made the decision and what the decision is whilst tracking additional comments as needed – again this can be surfaced into the Experience cloud if you have decision makers that are external to your organisation.
If the decision is to award the applicant, then we can move into the Award stage of the process. This is a separate record (which again allows us to have multiple awards against the same application) with various associated components which we will go into, but initially, the Award record simply captures the amount awarded, decision dates, start and end dates etc whilst relating the award back to the originating application, contact and funding opportunity.
The fun part of the Award process however are the related areas of the award; Requirements, Disbursements, Amendments.
- Requirements are more advanced in the Grantmaking solution compared to the GMS products, out of the box asking for more pertinent information such as Accomplishes and Outcomes, Concerns, challenges as well as quantitative data such as number of beneficiaries, population served, on track with spending, targets etc
Incidentally, the platform starts to elevate the capabilities further when you introduce the Action plans and document checklist components at this level – allowing us to automatically create a series of tasks and actions needed for each requirement as well as a checklist of documents needed to deem the requirement met- once checked off, here comes the approval process notification for someone to review the information and sign off the requirement officially.
- Disbursements are very similar to the GMS and OFM packages, the main difference is the ability to link the disbursements back to Budget Allocations from the Application stage. Use Disbursements to track outbound payments by status (scheduled, Cancelled, Paid etc) and link them to the requirements so that no disbursements can be paid if there are outstanding requirements.
- Amendments – these records provide an additional layer of auditability by creating separate records to capture changes to the overall award such as an increase or decrease is awarded amounts, the reasoning and dates, comments etc These records also capture who has approved the amendment and when
That’s it, that’s Grantmaking on the Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud in a nutshell, obviously there is a lot more depth when we consider this functionality in the wider context of the platforms capabilities but as way of an introduction, I hope you agree that this gives food for thought – get in touch if there are any questions!