This year our organization took a step forward in its grantmaking practices by implementing the use of electronic grant agreements. I’d heard about electronic grant agreements at Grant Managers Network conferences and through discussions on GMN’s online community. Having successfully transitioned to online grantmaking in 2011 via Foundant Technologies, I felt confident in being able to implement this change and that our grant partners would embrace it.
It was determined that the grant agreement would reside within Foundant Grant Lifecycle Manager (GLM) and be a “follow-up” activity. The paper grant agreement was translated into an online form and approved by our legal counsel. We added fields for agreeing to terms and conditions of the grant, as well as signature and date fields. Instructions were included in the grant award letter adressing the change.
Overall, it has been a seamless transition. Grant partners are pleased with the decreased turnaround time for the grant agreements to be fully executed. Consequently, grant payments arrive much quicker. Grant staff is happy grant agreements are no longer lost or received incomplete.
There have been some lessons learned. Our grant agreement requires the signature of the grant partner’s executive director or CEO. Sometimes, this person does not have a user account in Foundant, which requires communication around account registration and navigation to the grant agreement. We are continuing to look for ways to better communicate instructions about completing the grant agreement.
I hope sharing our experience will encourage others to continue to embrace technology when it makes sense and keep moving forward with streamlining your grantmaking. For resources about streamlining grantmaking, check out Project Streamline.