Keep applicants informed with these three simple tips for better communications.
If you are inundated with emails, paper correspondence, and phone calls with your applicants and grantees, you are not alone. Here are three steps you can take to streamline communication with your applicants and grantees:
1. Share their status proactively.
Proactive feedback is key to pre-empting questions from your applicants regarding the status of their applications. Automatically email applicants when you receive information from them or when they reach a certain stage in the process. Include details regarding when they can expect to hear back from you, or else they will check in to find out.
If you utilize a submission portal, you can also use this space to share personalized feedback on top of the application's status.
2. Encourage public Q&A.
Encourage applicants to post questions about the application process to a forum instead of emailing your administrative team directly. This can be a private forum just for applicants hosted on your website, or just a simple discussion board on social media, such as a Facebook group. If one person has a question, you can be sure that others will have the same one, too. Public Q&A saves administrative time answering like questions, and keeps a level playing field across applicants.
3. Gather supplemental documents and reports online.
Although many grantmaking organizations have switched to online application processes, even greater efficiency can be obtained by using technology to replace supplemental and post-award data gathering.
For example, replace paper-based award acknowledgements with email notifications and electronic signatures that are automatically stored with the application and award data.
Progress reports for outcomes measurement can also be gathered online. Administrators should not need waste time hunting down this information from grantees. Providing an easy-to-use portal for grantees to submit required information streamlines the process for submission and subsequent analytics.