Grant-making on Salesforce – Application stage

Following the launch of grantFlex, our grant-making solution on Salesforce, our next blog series will focus on how Salesforce can transform processes at each stage of the grant-making lifecycle.

The first stage in any funding process is the Application, and this typically involves some type of application form. This is either made available via a public application form or the link to a form is sent in an email to invited applicants.

The ability to capture data online throughout a relationship with the grantee is a huge time-saver for administrators. No more manual data entry, paper-shuffling and precious time free up for more worthwhile activities!

From our experience setting up application forms to integrate with Salesforce for numerous organisations, the length and complexity of application forms varies depending on the value or the type of funding.

However, there are definitely some common requirements.

From the applicant’s perspective, they need to be able to:

  • Complete the form easily with intuitive data entry, simple to understand guidance and clear validation rules
  • Save and retrieve forms before submitting
  • Receive an acknowledgement email with a copy of the submitted application
  • Attach supplementary documents such as accounts, policies and additional funding proposal details

From an internal perspective, the following is important:

  • Range of form templates to reflect grant programme variances
  • Built-in eligibility questions to filter out applicants that do not meet funding criteria
  • Ability to track applications that have been started or are in progress
  • Process to check whether the organisation and contact already exist in your database
  • Form design can reflect our organisation’s branding

Selecting a form solution

As you would expect with a flexible platform like Salesforce, there are a number of options when it comes to integrated form solutions.

We can recommend the best solution following the DEFINE phase of an implementation. There are certain questions to consider that can influence the recommendation:

  • How often does your form content change?
  • How likely are you to need additional forms as you introduce new funding programmes?
  • Do you have access to technical skills (either internal or external partner) to create and maintain form templates?
  • If you are managing forms internally, how many people will need permission to do this?
  • How complex is your form content? (dynamic tables, multi-level conditional routing)
  • How complex is your de-duplication matching
  • Do applications need to be endorsed by external parties prior to assessment?

There are a growing number of plug-in form builder applications available that integrate with Salesforce, including FormAssembly and FormStack .  We also have an in-built form solution as an option with our grantFlex product. They all differ in terms of functionality, set up process, level of integration, and of course cost and typically incur an annual licence fee (with a discount for non-profits).

For smaller charities wishing to avoid ongoing annual subscription fees and that need simple forms that are unlikely to change, there is the option to develop one-off forms as part of the implementation using Salesforce’s native development tools. BUT – the downside to this approach is that any changes to forms would require development skills and costs can escalate if there are very specific design/layout pre-requisites.

Once a new application has been received, it is ready to be assessed. The Assessment stage will be the focus of the next blog in this series.

If you would like to discuss how Salesforce can transform your grant-making processes, please get in touch!