Makes Life Easier for Grants Managers!
April 17, 2017

Makes Life Easier for Grants Managers!

Mary Giraulo | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Grant Lifecycle Manager

The grants department at United Arts of Central Florida uses Foundant's Grant Lifecycle Manager to manage multiple grant programs funding arts and cultural activities in a four-county region. We are able to design our own grant forms, accept applications, collect contracts and reports, and track payments.
  • Foundant provides a streamlined grants management solution for reasonable cost.
  • The company listens to its users, collecting ideas and making improvements. Updates to the software are rolled out several times a year. When something cannot be changed right away, the company gives context and forecasts when the change might be possible.
  • While the software is easy to use, it also offers more advanced features (such as merge templates) that allow more customization for the advanced user.
  • While tech support is responsive, sending timely emails and updates, I sometimes feel as if a needed item is going to be dropped because they can't figure it out. On the plus side, they always send an electronic survey afterwards, and if you have an issue they will call you personally to resolve it.
  • The external evaluator feature is a great idea, but doesn't work well for me as I prefer to only give my reviewers access to very targeted pieces of the application. I have worked around this by using merge templates, and sending PDFs to my reviewers.
  • I have supported a number of possible improvements (and suggested some of my own) on the user message board. Many of these have already been implemented, but many remain. It's a common problem with software that it takes so much more time to fix something than to suggest something. But on the whole, I have been pleased with the rate of improvements.
  • This software has made it much easier to work with reviewers (panels of community volunteers who provide scores and comments for the grant applications). While we only use the Evaluator function for two of our many grant programs, the merge templates have saved a lot of time in assembling the materials to send digitally (one PDF per application) for the other grant programs. In our old database, I had to download each document from the application, convert to PDF, then combine. That was very labor intensive! In this software, I create a merge template and all the documents that I want included are automatically converted to PDF, in the order I want them. This was a big reason we moved to this software and it continues to be a fantastic feature.
  • The automatic email reminders that have been built into the software (this is one example of an excellent improvement that has been added since we got the software - showing their constant efforts to get even better) have saved a lot of time and effort. I used to set reminders on my calendar every year to write a long involved email to all the grantees for a particular grant program, to remind them to submit their grant reports. And then, if they still forgot, I had to chase them down. Now, I just set up the reports in the software and there is an automatic reminder that goes out two weeks before; if they still forget, there is an automatic reminder that goes out one day after the deadline to let them know that it's late. I still have to chase a few of them down but the majority are taken care of.
  • MicroEdge GIFTS
We used MicroEdge GIFTS (server hosted, not online) for about five years, but became frustrated with the fact that their improvements were not provided to existing users of the product unless they purchased additional modules, usually at $20K+ each, even though we had to pay $10-15K per year in "maintenance." Foundant distinguished itself by providing updates to users without additional cost, and by the quick pace of updates.

Foundant also offered significant benefits like the ability to convert an entire application to PDF in one click; merge templates; TextAndUpload field type and more. The form creator was much more intuitive than MicroEdge GIFTS, as it looked like the applicant's view and allowed the user to drag and drop fields; MicroEdge's form creators looked/behaved differently for different types of forms. Foundant's reporting tool was also superior, allowing filters and pie charts on screen. Other software options that we looked at had some interesting additional features, but were significantly more pricey and we felt Foundant provided the better value. I'm still confident we made the right choice, more than 4 years later.
The software has served our needs well for the past four years, and with the continuous improvements that keep rolling out, I can't see us moving to another type of grants management software in the future.