Blackbaud Grantmaking Review 2018
Krista Patterson | TrustRadius Reviewer
August 04, 2018

Blackbaud Grantmaking Review 2018

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online)

We use Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online) to manage a funding program, including: all aspects of database and contact management, grantee reporting; our internal (staff and board) and external (funder) reporting; online applications; reviewer portal; budgeting, allocating and tracking grant disbursements. We utilize Blueprint for further ability to customize according to our needs. We disburse grants to individuals and organizations.

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.
  • Value for money
  • Features and functions
  • Product reputation
  • References from peers
  • Ability to track and measure grant outcomes and impact
We wanted an online solution so we would not have to deal with hosting, managing or upgrading software and we wanted access to tech support managing the back end of the software. We also wanted good support (which there is) and the ability to customize (which there is) as well as an established company who would be around long term so we would not lose the investment of time in implementation and training if the company folded. We also value data security and were looking for value for money (does it overall decrease admin, even taking into accocunt implementation, training and supporting applicants).
  • Reduced time spent on administrative tasks
  • Reduced time spent on proposal review
  • Better reporting capabilities
  • Better able to communicate grantmaking activities and results
  • Better collaboration with grant applicants
  • Better organizational effectiveness
  • Greater transparency across the organization
Mostly, but so far admin and reviewer processes are not as streamlined as we would like.
Best practices has been very helpful
  • Better data collection / security
  • Better access to relevant information through collection and reporting processes.
  • Better overall accountability.
Most of the ones used / evaluated were 2012 (or older) and most of them do not exist any more. We Started with Gifts ONLINE and continued with Blackbaud when they bought GIFTS.
As I mentioned, cost is prohibitive for us. Because it is highly customizable, it is very powerful, but if you are looking for an intuitive, easy to use solution right "out of the box" solution because you have few staff and no IT dept. this may not be the best fit (unless they develop some lower cost / less customizable options?).
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.