Blackbaud Grantmaking - very functional, but not integrated
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated May 22, 2018

Blackbaud Grantmaking - very functional, but not integrated

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online)

Our foundation uses Blackbaud Grantmaking to manage our charitable grants throughout the entire process from application to review to award and reporting. As Grants Manager, I consider myself the "power user" of Blackbaud Grantmaking. In addition, our two program officers and an admin assistant use Blackbaud Grantmaking. Using Blackbaud Grantmaking has enabled our foundation to transition from hard copy applications to a paperless process and also to paperless Board of Directors meetings through use of PDFs from Blackbaud Grantmaking for use on their iPads. I also use the tools in Blackbaud Grantmaking to create custom dashboards for each user which has been very helpful for the program officers to see only the requests/grants that are their responsibility. The Blackbaud Grantmaking tools also help me in creating informative reports and graphics using the data reported from our grantees.
  • 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.
  • Value for money
  • Expertise of Blackbaud team
  • Features and functions
  • Product reputation
Our foundation's biggest concerns when choosing Blackbaud Grantmaking were the functionality of the software and the expertise of the team supporting the software.
  • Reduced time spent on administrative tasks
  • Better reporting capabilities
  • Better able to communicate grantmaking activities and results
  • Better organizational effectiveness
  • Greater transparency across the organization
  • Greater interoperability with other technology solutions
Blackbaud Grantmaking helped us reduce time spent on administrative tasks by allowing us to move to a paperless application and reporting system. We are more able to pull grantee's reported data from Blackbaud Grantmaking in creating more useful reports and graphics for communicating the foundation's grantmaking activities. The foundation's program officers have increased their use of Blackbaud Grantmaking because of the dashboards that I customize for them which helps them focus on their assigned grants. Blackbaud Grantmaking has helped us move to paperless Board meetings in creating large PDFs of grant materials for use with iPads.

Blackbaud Grantmaking needs to make improvements with integration with other technology and software. It's lacking in synchronizing with contact management and accounting management software.
Our foundation is a public charity and not only awards grants, but also receives donations and uses a Blackbaud product, eTapestry, to manage donor information. It would be great if Blackbaud Grantmaking and eTapestry could be integrated. Currently, we run them separately and have to manually reconcile information.
  • Nothing comes to mind.
  • good done great and foundant
Four years ago when we first considered Blackbaud Grantmaking, two software providers presented demonstrations of their products to our foundation. We reviewed Good Done Great and Foundant, but found that Blackbaud Grantmaking had more features and the functionality we were looking for. However, technology has advanced over the last four years and there are several technology solutions in the market that are now competitive with Blackbaud Grantmaking and we'll be evaluating those products over the next year or so.
Blackbaud Grantmaking is well suited to handling large numbers of grant requests and would be very helpful in handling a high volume of applications.

Blackbaud Grantmaking is less appropriate if a foundation is looking for a "foundation management" system vs a grants management system only.

Using Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online)

4 - 
  • Grants Management
  • Program Development
1 - As Grants Manager, I am responsible for using the admin controls to update and edit the codes used for tracking data, to edit and generate correspondence templates used in the system, edit and generate online application and reporting forms, design and schedule automated reports and design and implement personalized dashboards. As far as tech support, we have no one onsite to support Blackbaud Grantmaking and we rely on Blackbaud's support team. We use email and phone to contact Blackbaud for any tech issues.
  • Blackbaud Grantmaking allows us to have all the grant-related information in one online resource accessible through the internet to all staff no matter where they are located.
  • Blackbaud Grantmaking has allowed us to have a 90% paperless process. Community organizations apply and report to us through online forms and we use the system to create electronic meeting materials. We still issue paper checks.
  • Blackbaud Grantmaking's dashboard feature allows us to create personalized dashboards for each user. The personalized dashboards allow users to focus on the grants assigned to them and not be confused or distracted by other unnecessary data.
  • We use the system for the purposes it was designed.
  • In the future, our organization could add the Budget and A/P features to streamline the process even more and move to electronic payments.
Blackbaud Grantmaking meets almost all of our grants management needs. However, our contract is up for renewal in 2 years and there could be huge developments in many vendors' grants management software. So we will do a survey of the current software solutions in the market before renewing our Blackbaud Grantmaking contract.

Evaluating Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online) and Competitors

Yes - Grantmaking replaced an old Blackbaud product, a server-based installation of Blackbaud Grantmaking. We replaced it because it was very old technology and we wanted a much more user friendly interface. We wanted to move the system to the cloud instead of having an onsite server-based solution so that the data could be easily accessed via the internet no matter where staff was located.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
The primary factor was the product features. We wanted to be sure that the system was capable of handling all of our processes in the management of our grant records. We didn't want a system where we had to design "work arounds" and/or use the system in a way it wasn't designed.
I wouldn't change anything in the evaluation and selection process.

Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online) Implementation

Preparing and cleaning up your data prior to implementation, will make the process much smoother and easier. Garbage in, garbage out.
Yes - 
  • Prior to the implementation process, we went through an internal data review process and cleaned up any issues.
  • Blackbaud then copied the data from our existing Blackbaud Grantmaking system and used it to develop the new Blackbaud Grantmaking Online system for us. That part of the process took about 10 days and during that time, we could refer to data in the old system, but we couldn't make any changes. This meant that we had to keep manual records of changes we needed to make once the new system was implemented.
  • Once the new system was implemented, the specialist worked with me on a weekly basis to train me on new features and to help troubleshoot an issues. There was no limit on the number of training sessions and I worked with her weekly until I felt confident to go it alone.
  • In the first few weeks of working with the new system, there were some missing documents that should have been included as part of the data migration. After contacting my implementation specialist, she was able to get that resolved very quickly.
Change management was minimal - Communication on a regular basis was important for us during this process. Staff was always more comfortable and confident about the changes when I regularly shared detailed updates on the process, even if they didn't like some of the information I was sharing. As long as they felt "in the loop", they were invested in the process.
  • Downtime during data migration can be frustrating, but it's a necessary part of the process and you have to just wait it out.
  • There were some missing records immediately after implementation, but Blackbaud was able to resolve that issue quickly. Those missing documents did make me a little less confident in the rest of the data which led me to do a lot more random record checks than I had planned. Fortunately, those random checks didn't turn up any other issues and helped restore my trust in the data.

Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online) Support

Blackbaud Grantmaking Support is responsive and only occasionally do I have multiple interactions on one services ticket with them. Typically, they can resolve my issue right away.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
No - The standard support included in our contract is sufficient for our needs. We contact support by phone or email and our issues are resolved in a timely manner. We're also able to use Blackbaud Community's support section to monitor our cases and update the tickets as necessary. If I need to show a support specialist my issue, they connect me to a screen-sharing session.
On one occasion, I accidentally deleted a grant record in the system. I contacted Support and they were able to reset the online application so that I could pull it into the system again and recreate the deleted information. When I accidentally deleted the record, I thought that it was truly permanent and I wasn't sure that Support could "undo" my mistake. I was very relieved that the could get the information back for me.

Using Blackbaud Grantmaking (formerly GIFTS Online)

There is room for improvement and the development of the software seem slow. As customers, we hear a lot about what's in development and promises of new features rolling out. However, it feels like those developments take a really long time to show up in they system for my day-to-day use.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • It's easy to accept online applications and have grant records automatically created from the application.
  • It's easy to manage a grant record in the system from application to approval to payment and reporting.
  • Blackbaud Grantmaking makes it easy to manage the multitude of documents related to each grant record or organization record.
  • Blackbaud Grantmaking's personalized dashboards make it easy for individual staff members to focus on their assigned grants without having to sort through other unrelated records.
  • Customizing and formatting Blackbaud Grantmaking's standard and ad hoc reports is not easy. I typically avoid using the system's reports and instead export my data to Excel and manipulate and format the data manually.
  • Blackbaud Grantmaking does not allow users to attach a grant application to an existing grant request in the system. We are forced to use a work around which includes manually moving documents and recreating coding data.
  • Casual users of the system find the advanced search feature very complex and not user friendly.
Yes - The mobile app is not useful for our staff. They say that it feels clunky and they typically don't use it.