It provides clarity in tracking project deadlines, completed and outstanding projects, financial tracking by project, contacts (and associated applications) as well as project and program outcomes. We used to rely on more paper and multiple programs / databases to manage this information piecemeal when the program was smaller, but this was not efficient when the program kept expanding. The data management and reporting functions are great at managing and extracting the information we require.
- Pulling information from the online application portal into the main database
- Automating requirement and deadline reminders to grantees and relevant reports to specific staff members
- Applications and reporting functions are highly customizable
- Because it is so complex it is not very intuitive to learn at the beginning - trying to align our workflow with the modules was challenging at first because we didn't have a full understanding of the capabilities of the software.
- When these is functionality we need which is not obvious, usually support can figure it out, but sometimes they say "no, but that is a great idea, post it to the community as a suggestion". If it is a great idea, why can they not just pass it along internally or post it? Taking the time to post to the community and / or search to see if my needs are already posted to the community so I can up-vote is not a good use of my time. Often I can't find the time to do it. I do appreciate that they are responsive and do make suggested changes, but this process is time consuming (reading through numerous posts) and unwieldy.
- Support people are very good, but would like to have access to them until 6 pm pacific time.
- The cost is prohibitive. We were hoping that the move from paper and multiple platforms into one online platform would lessen the time spent on admin (helping to offset the cost), but implementation has taken us longer than anticipated (we are a small org. with no dedicated IT staff). Some tasks are definitely more streamlined, and we definitely have a better overall handle on data management, tracking grant finances, deadlines and reporting, but sometimes it seems like some admin work has just been replaced with different work, such as: database management and providing support for the applicants / grantees. I think this may improve somewhat over time, but each year there will always be a certain amount of program changes to implement / program and new applicants to walk through the online portal submission process (including requirements and reporting) so time spent on this work will remain.
That being said, we have managed to implement successfully with no IT. I completed the implementation, code the application and online reporting forms (using HTML) and use Blueprint to customize what we need, but it has been a big learning curve and an investment of time to manage the back end of the program. I will say that training new general users is pretty straight forward so their ability to search for information they need and quickly is greatly enhanced. The automatic customized reports and reminders are pretty great, and the overall integrity of our processes and data are greatly improved. Sometimes we wonder if it is overly complex and if there is a way e could "hide" more of the aspects that are not relevant to us, or that we are not using, so we can have a cleaner interface.
Review: "Blackbaud Grantmaking is a comprehensive grants processing tool I would recommend to any nonprofit accountable for more than 100 grants annually."
- Easy to export data into multiple applications for various reports and requests.
- Mobile app for access to records in the field.
- The help desk is responsive.
- Would like to be able to print letters, envelopes, giving histories directly from the organization's record versus switching to reports, queries or creating a template...too many steps.
- History of giving prints from first to last and this cannot be changed. I have to export to Excel and re-sort by most recent date.
- Grant application information
- Grant review and approval process
- Grant monitoring
- Grant payments
- Track outcomes
- Document manager
- Contact management
- Document manager needs folder structure
- You must check out a document to update and then re-post the document to the document manager when completed. Often you mail merge a document using Blackbaud Grantmaking, but to tweak it you need to save it elsewhere and the upload to the document manager.
- There is no notification given if 2 users are updating the same record except when the 2nd user tries to save their work.
- Portal for grant seekers could be more user friendly.
- Connecting the Blackbaud Grantmaking email to Outlook would help. Blackbaud has made improvements in this area. If I send an email from Blackbaud Grantmaking it does not show up in my Outlook sent messages.
- Reports are fairly easy to create ad-hoc items for your own accounting needs.
- Being able to categorize grants, areas, etc., allows for more reporting capabilities.
- Reporting is odd because they clear your search fields each time so refining a report to get the information you're are looking to show can be frustrating... Old original GIFTS did this much better.
- Screens in online do not put curser in the first cell so you can tab....
- Cloud-based data collection allowing for online applications through electronic notification of grants
- On-the-go access to data either through a web address or mobile app
- Best in class grants management
- Large community of system users and strong user groups
- Application linking process is time consuming
- System enhancement ideas must be submitted to a community portal and other users must take the initiative to vote on their favorite ideas instead of vendor programmers collecting received ideas and doing the work themselves.
- Lack of conditional logic in online application
- Communication with other Blackbaud products notably Employee Volunteering and Engagement (fka AngelPoints)
Cons - Portal voting on ideas, lack of seamless connection with other Blackbaud products like AngelPoints, and no conditional logic on application forms
Blackbaud Grantmaking Review: "Product Transforms Grant-Making Operations, improving efficiency & driving impact"
- Improves Efficiency
- Improves Data Integrity
- Ease of use
- Reporting can be a little clunky when you're building advanced or highly customized reports
- Would like to be able to automate queries
- Would like to have "branching" ability on applications
- If you have a blueprint with your subscription, you can customize a lot of internal and external fields.
- If you have the budget module, you can keep track of real-time budget information, as well as export this information easily.
- The forms manager is very responsive to HTML coding, so there are a lot of options when it comes to the look and feel of your grant portal.
- Reporting and automatic reporting is not as intuitive as it should be. There is a lot of modification that has to happen for the report to come out the way you want it.
- Sorting by custom fields or coding is difficult and requires advanced searching with syntax. It is easier to export your data or fields to an Excel spreadsheet and then sorts.
- Users are not notified to do tasks and other to-do items. A user has to log into the platform to see what they have to do, and they must have a dashboard part set up to show them what needs to be done. This makes some less frequent users confused.
The system has provided access both for staff and grantees, better management, the ability to pull data from the grants using classifications and drop down menus. The Improvement is so significant it would be difficult to list how transferring to an online Grant Management System has benefited our organization.
- Very versatile.
- Allows as many applications as needed for multiple types of Grants including single stage and allowing for a letter of interest followed up by a second stage application.
- Allows all corresponds to be maintained in one location within the grant application
- Provides access to contact information, payment information, refunds, etc.
- Modules allow for as many specialized fields as needed.
- Internal and external reviews allow grant review without additional licenses.
- While comprehensive application creation can be difficult and confusing
- Cost can be high with additional modules
- I highly recommend new users complete the online training courses available on Blackbaud before creating applications, reports, and templates for correspondence.
- Not sure about current modules but in the past did not transfer well to accounting software.
- Better spell check
- Better formatting for application forms to make them pretty
- Manage the processing of all grant applications (using the IGAM module);
- Manage written and email communications with applicants and grantees;
- Track and schedule and record payments;
- Set reminders for critical tasks;
- Generate custom reports for our clients.
- Custom reporting: in addition to providing many standard reports, Blackbaud Grantmaking makes it very easy to create and save custom reports. Writing effective queries is simple and requires no knowledge of SQL (though you have an option to write SQL queries if you prefer).
- Robust template system: Blackbaud Grantmaking's Document Template Manager greatly facilitates our written communications with applicants. Approval/decline letters, check letters, and proposal summaries are just a few of the documents we generate on a daily basis, and unlike some other systems we've used, you don't have to export the data from Blackbaud Grantmaking before using it in a mail merge document. The Document Template Manager integrates with Microsoft Word.
- Managing multiple funding sources: We have over a dozen foundation clients who have supported hundreds of organizations over the years. Blackbaud Grantmaking makes it very simple to keep the client data separated, even when multiple clients are contributing to the same organizations.
- Blackbaud Grantmaking is a budget-friendly document management system. We have documents associated with organizations (e.g., IRS letters), individual grant requests (applications, budgets, approval letters, etc.), requirements (grant evaluations and reports), and payments (check letters) and it is very easy to save and search for these documents when they are needed. Blackbaud Grantmaking makes is easy to keep everything where it belongs (and move documents when you misfile them).
- The existing portal for applicants to submit online applications (IGAM) is too confusing for them. Instead of logging in through one link, they must use follow one link to begin a new application and a second link to view or resume working on their in-progress applications.
- Submitting progress reports and grant evaluations through IGAM is also very limited in its usefulness. Users can only upload attachments of completed forms. Ideally, Blackbaud Grantmaking would allow users to create online forms for grantees to fill out. Responses could then populate fields in a database table that could, in turn, be used in conjunction with the report generator and document templates.
- Easy to create and modify coding as your processes or programs change over time
- Connects to GuideStar for tax-exempt status confirmation; the update info feeds directly into the database
- Very convenient and easy to use OFAC and other terrorist watchlist checking
- Needs to be browser agnostic - full functionality in any browser on any system
- End reliance on Silverlight - needs to be a browser-based product you can use from any device with an internet connection
- Ability to add attachments to emails generated from templates
- More robust reporting functionality - I notice that some fields are not available for searching
- One thing I really like about Blackbaud Grantmaking is that I can access the information from anywhere - I don't have to be at my desk. I can access it from home without bringing my laptop home. My boss and colleagues can also access it whenever they want.
- The Customizer module allows you to personalize/create specific fields that are unique to you and your organization so that you can collect and use the information that benefits you.
- I wish that I could see more of the information at one time. I spend a lot of time scrolling across the page and having to rearrange my columns depending on what I need to see at the particular time.
- You are always having to set up Views in order to prevent rearranging columns all the time.
- I would like to be able to rearrange the Command Ribbon so that I can move the commands I use a lot to the front of the ribbon so I don't have to scroll so much. Too much clicking around.
- Our foundation's program officers find the Blackbaud Grantmaking customizable dashboards very useful in focusing on the grants under their portfolio and filtering out other grants.
- Our foundation uses the Blackbaud Grantmaking document management tools to create large PDFs for use in Board of Directors meetings so that the meetings are paperless and the members use only their iPads.
- Our foundation uses the Blackbaud Grantmaking charting tools to create informative reports using the data reported to us by our grantees.
- It would be great if Blackbaud Grantmaking could seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Outlook so that contacts, email correspondence and calendar items are all updated with the same data and therefore eliminate the need for duplicate entry. For example, a grant requirement due date would automatically be added to the associated user's calendar.
- It would be great if Blackbaud Grantmaking could seamlessly integrate with the foundation's accounting software, Quickbooks. Currently, we have to make entries into Blackbaud Grantmaking and then duplicate those entries into the accounting software.
- Blackbaud Grantmaking is also missing functionality when it comes to online applications related to requests that are already in Blackbaud Grantmaking. For instance, our foundation creates a request in Blackbaud Grantmaking before we actually receive an application from the grantee. We assign a status of "Anticipated" to those requests and the program officers often record activities (site visits, meetings, phone calls) and attach documents (emails, general info) to the request before inviting an application from the grantee. When the grantee eventually submits an application, Blackbaud Grantmaking doesn't allow us to attach the application to the existing request and instead creates a new requests. We then are forced to manually transfer and/or recreate all the activities and documents from the existing request to the new request. Then we delete the existing request. This missing functionality creates extra work for me.
Blackbaud Grantmaking is less appropriate if a foundation is looking for a "foundation management" system vs a grants management system only.
- We like to create our own numbering system and Blackbaud Grantmaking allows us that flexibility. When we were having issues with items being in numerical order the tech support was amazing.
- Creating your own forms is very important for us. We have several different donors and we have a grant application form and a report form for each one. They are easy to create as well as update and access.
- Alternative ways to hunt for information. I can access a grant by the organization name, project name, grant number or even the name of the person who submitted the grant application. This is critical in a case where the program officer has a nickname for the grant (you can include that as well in the profile) and can't remember anything else.
- For months I have had a report that cannot be opened because of some kind of error. Support has tried but it is something that remains on my system despite efforts to remove and open it. I know it is there so I work around it because Blackbaud Grantmaking has so much more to offer
- We cannot always help grantees get back the information they have saved on their applications. Many get frustrated when having to start over because they expected the grants administrator to be able to see what they have already submitted. While it protects the information of the grantee so that it cannot be changed by the grant maker, it create considerable difficulty for busy grantees who must start over again
- I am not sure about this, that it does or doesn't exits, but it would be great to be able to download signed grant agreements into the system. I believe can add reports that were not submitted online but I have never been trained how to do it.
- I would love the ability to scan signed checks into Blackbaud Grantmaking so that I can reference them. Checks do not go out from my Blackbaud Grantmaking account but from our finance department.
- Blackbaud Grantmaking is great for streaming an electronic database of files and records as they relate to our charitable giving.
- Blackbaud Grantmaking allows me to access my database from everywhere and anywhere I am.
- Blackbaud Grantmaking helps me track 30 years of Philanthropic Giving in one cohesive platform which is accessible to me and to all the users.
- Blackbaud Grantmaking allows us to track the cross generational grantmaking of many family members
- I would love it if there were live Chats for when I run into problems
- I would love to have an instant chat function when approaching the help desk
- Online Applications- Being able to send out applications to partners has allowed us to minimize confusion and allowed us to obtain detailed organization information faster.
- Reporting- Able to house all information in one location which helps with tracking progress of a request and pulling out detailed data .
- Accessibility- With Blackbaud Grantmaking being a cloud base database, I can access it from anywhere.
- Tracking Payments- All of our payments are tied to requirements which allows us to easily track if it has been fulfilled to initiate payment.
- Modifying information (specifically coding)- The foundation adds and modifies coding frequently and its very easy to make those changes in Blackbaud Grantmaking.
- Requirements/Payments- Sometimes when we input consulting agreements into the system there is no payment schedule. The system does not allow to attach a submitted requirements with the new payment.
- Tabs- Sometimes it becomes overwhelming when you click into a request to upload or modify it and tabs appear on the bottom after every click. I do think this system could modify that.
- Workflow- Our staff would like an easier way to be able to know when it is their turn in our foundation process. We have heard that this would be a feature but we are still waiting for it.
- Blackbaud Grantmaking levels- You can only share if another user has the same permissions as you. It has become a problem when trying to share certain dashboards with individuals.
My organization uses Blackbaud Grantmaking for the full lifecycle management of our contracts/grants. The system is used by 20 programmatic staff, out of 50 total staff. There are some gaps, in terms of utilizing an automated workflow, but for standard grant/contract agreements the system design is great.
1. Invitation to Apply Process
i. Utilize an invitation only process
ii. Receive applications via the online application module
-Submit the online application checklist to trigger the development of the application (internal process outside of Blackbaud Grantmaking)
-Develop and test the online application, then issue to the contract manager for distribution to potential partners
-Download the completed application, confirm the correct coding and files
-Review the narrative request, budget and related attachments
iii. Track status of pending applications
2. Develop the Contract/Agreement
i. Generate the contract template from Blackbaud Grantmaking and it prepopulates: -Contact information of the partner, -Payment schedule, -Requirement schedule, -Coding (budget, geographic, service area, etc.)
ii. Use the Document Template Manager to ensure that the legal language of the contract remains consistent, unless a ‘redlined’ contract with proposed changes is indicated
iii. Review, finalize and print the contract for signatures
3. Manage Contract Requirements
i. Input full schedule of contract deliverables into BG
ii. Utilize the online reporting feature to allow service providers/grantees to submit their reports via the online portal
iii. Track status of receipt and approvals
iv. Tie attachments and narrative reports to the request record
v. Upload subsequent analysis of the progress of the project to BG
4. Manage Contract Payments
i. Input full schedule of payments into BG
ii. Track status of payments and approvals
iii. Generate the payment cover sheet from BG and it prepopulates: -Payment schedule, -Actual payments processed, -Contingent requirement(s), -Coding (budget, geographic, service area, etc.)
iv. Copy of the check is manually uploaded to payment tab in BG
i. Determine final payout (or need of a credit memo to deobligate the remaining balance)
ii. Confirm that all requirements have been fulfilled and corresponding analysis has been uploaded
iii. Generate the form from BG and submit to Finance
iv. Update BG and mark the record ‘Completed’
- Online application and reporting - having an online portal for submission of applications and reports from our partners is extremely helpful and minimizes confusion
- Direct link between contract/grant requirements and payments - all of our payments are tied to deliverables and we want to easily confirm that they have been fulfilled
- Widespread usage - I know a number of other Foundations that use the system and can easily share tips and tricks. I also find the customer service to be extremely helpful.
- We're awaiting the functionality regarding an automated workflow. Staff would like to be automatically guided to the next step.
- The version control for documents is tricky and I recommend staff not use it. If they need a shared space to finalize the scope of work for a project, etc. we use SharePoint, then upload the final version to Blackbaud Grantmaking.
- For a casual user, the layout and way that records are connected can be confusing. We recommend having a power user planted in every program area, to guide those on their team that have access, but get frustrated with simple tasks.
Not well suited for a shared space for working drafts of files.
- Tracking the workflow/status of applications (i.e., if it has been received, vetted, assigned to a reviewer, if the reviewer has looked at it and provided feedback, etc.).
- It's not as user-friendly as other systems in the sense that fields aren't simply drag-n-drop and a number of set-up features require behind the scenes help from the vendor.
- Highly customizable - we use the coding sheet to put shared metrics in a drop-down menu
- Accessible anywhere - allows team to work from home during periods of intensive work
- Easy to create views and export a custom set of fields (columns) as an Excel file
- Allows shared searches and shared views
- We were very disappointed with the reviewer module. It was a main selling point of BG and it doesn’t meet our needs at all. We want something that allows us to create Likert-type scales for multiple criteria, and automatically average the scores for all reviewers.
- There are still quite a few bugs in the system, such as inability to create an accurate Fiscal Year automatically.
- The business model is not user-friendly. There is no “out clause” in the contracts, and the price is extraordinarily high. If the product is so great, why do you need to put handcuffs on your users?
- Organizes past grant requests and awards
- Easy to make updates to applications
- Love the dashboard feature so I can see all of the information that helps me to do my job!
- The option to make detailed edits to applications.
- Organizations on the dashboard need to stay in alpha order. I get tired of clicking on that button!
- Maybe bigger servers? GO gets VERY slow in the afternoons. It's my understanding that it's not my network but it is the 'cloud.'
- Provides a robust tracking system
- Integrates well with Microsoft Outlook
- Customizable reporting capability
- Customer Support/Help Desk process is cumbersome. (Majority of communications is via e-mail with a delayed, untimely response).
- Integration with Blackbaud has been more complex than anticipated and has caused technical difficulties for not only clients but also grant applicants (users). Clients and applicants have also experience system slowness.
- Several administrative rights were removed when we migrated to Blackbaud Outcomes without advanced communications.
Blackbaud Grantmaking is well suited for large organizations receiving a high-volume of applications with a need for process customization. Reporting is also highly customizable.
- Very user friendly.
- Lots of users to collaborate with.
- User support, particularly with user conferences. Microedge used to have a great conference for users but after the merge with Blackbaud, I no longer attend because the conference has very little content for BG users.
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GIFTS Online pricing is based on factors such as number of user licenses and additional features. Pricing is available upon request, please visit https://www.blackbaud.com/grant-making/products/gifts-online.
Blackbaud Grantmaking Support Options
|Video Tutorials / Webinar|
Blackbaud Grantmaking Technical Details
|Mobile Application:||Apple iOS, Android, Mobile Web|
|Supported Countries:||All countries|
|Supported Languages:||English (US), English (British), Welsh, Spanish, French, Portuguese|