Here at WizeHive we spend all day, every day helping clients streamline their application processes. That’s why I love Project Streamline !
Project Streamline is an organization dedicated to helping grant makers and non-profits maximize the resources that are spent on mission-based activities. Much of their research focuses on how current application and reporting practices, which are meant to increase the effectiveness of grant making, actually minimize that effectiveness. But not to worry, their website is full of great tips, tools and recommendations for streamlining! To understand Project Streamline at a glance, here are their four core principles:
1. Start Fresh
Really take a look at your organization’s application and reporting requirements. Is all the information you collect important to your grant making decisions? If not, eliminate it. Grant seekers should clearly understand why information is needed from them and be able to provide that information in a meaningful way.
2. Right-size Grant Expectations
The effort grant seekers put forth should be proportionate to the size of the grant. It’s ok to have different application and reporting requirements if there is a major difference in the size of the grants being given. Once a grant seeker becomes a grantee their information should be stored in a way that it can be used in the future, so that the grantee can provide updates rather than re-submitting the same material multiple times.
3. Relieve the Burden
Take advantage of technologies like online application management tools to minimize the time and money spent by grantseekers. Just keep in mind that going online doesn’t necessarily mean you’re streamlined. Make sure you pick a well-tested, well designed system that’s a good match for your organization’s needs. Another great way to eliminate unnecessary administration is to avoid it completely. Many grantseekers report routinely submitting time-consuming application materials when it’s unlikely that they will even receive funding. Adding filters like letters of inquiry to the application process will help non-profits avoid that time all together. Remember, less administration will allow the non-profits you fund to better support their cause
4. Improve Communication
If you really want to learn about the impact of your funding you need to regularly communicate with and seek feedback from grant seekers and grantees.
Want to know how your organization measures up? Take this survey. If your organization didn’t score as highly as you would like, check out the Guide to Streamlining series, which can help your organization apply those principles.