This blog, part 5 in our series on how to transform your grant-making on Salesforce, we are looking at grant monitoring. By this term, I am referring to the ongoing reporting that is required from a grantee to allow funders to evaluate the impact and importantly, to ensure that the agreed outcomes are met.
During my many years speaking to a wide range of grant managers, the process of requesting and chasing progress reports can be one of the most time-consuming tasks. With Salesforce, the entire process can be streamlined by setting up online monitoring forms, automated processes and where relevant, controlling the release of payments.
Online monitoring forms
Using any integrated form solution (see part 1 of this blog series where options were discussed), online reporting forms can be created to do the following:
- Pre-populate information already held about the organisation and the original funding request (this is achieved by appending the related ID to the form URL). It is also possible to display the latest outcomes/indicators that were submitted either at application stage or on the last report to compare actual with expected
- Capture the qualitative and quantitative information required to evaluate how the grant has been used and how it has benefited – different form templates can be set up for each grant programme
- Identify the themes or categories within the impact evaluation model that are used by your organisation. Hyphen8 has implemented a wide range of different structures – from widely used models such as Sustainable Development Goals (which is an optional add-on to our grantFlex product) to more complex multi-level models designed by the grant-maker themselves
- Upload any further supplementary case study or photos to be used in publicity
The entire process to request grant reports and issue reminders if they have not been received can be automated on Salesforce – saving a huge amount of time.
Firstly, there is the flexibility to associate multiple requirements to each funding request, including any schedule of reports required based on the type and length of funding where:
- Due date for each report can be scheduled and edited throughout the duration of funding
- Status of each required report to track whether it is Scheduled, Received, Approved
Secondly, there is the option to set up workflow processes to automate:
- Process to send an email with a link to the monitoring form to the main contact a specified number of days before the due date
- Process to send a reminder email if the report has not been received
- Update to the status field when the form has been submitted
- Assignment of tasks to the internal Grant Manager to check the received report
All of our grant-makers for whom we have set up automated monitoring processes have reported a huge save in time and an increase in those submitted on time.
Link to payments
In many cases, where a schedule of multiple grant payments is agreed, these are contingent on the receipt and approval of the grant report. In Salesforce, this process can be controlled as follows:
- User profile permissions to restrict who is able to change the status of a the grant report requirement record – so even if the report is received, you can use an additional status (such as Approved) to indicate that it has been reviewed
- Link between a payment record and any associated requirements to be completed before payment can be released
- Validation rules to prevent the status of the Payment being changed to ‘Approved for payment’ unless all associated requirements have been approved
This framework also provides the flexibility to link some requirements to payments but not others.
So, now that the monitoring data is flowing in to Salesforce, you can take advantage of the methods of data output; list views, reports and dashboards to track, slice and dice the information. Analytics will be the topic of the final blog in this series.
If you are interested in reading the previous blogs in this series, click on the links below: