On October 4th I was lucky enough to attend the Foundant User Group meeting hosted in Seattle by Gloria Mayne and the Seattle International Foundation. The week before the meeting I considered canceling….I am sure you know the story – grant paperwork needs to be finalized and checks are waiting to be mailed out, there are too many meetings on the calendar and the four hour meeting with peers seems like too much of a luxury and should be put off until the calendar clears up! After coming clean that my calendar will never clear up, I jotted down a few questions that had come up for me during the last year of using Foundant and caught the ferry to Seattle.
Once I arrived I was thrilled to see that Betty Bloomer is more than just a voice on the phone or a name at the bottom of an e-mail! After the excitement of meeting Megan, Shelby and Betty died down it hit me that there were ten other ‘real people’ at the table, people who use Foundant and have experience and tips to share. Message boards, webinars, and tutorials are great, but meeting and hearing from peers with varying levels of experience share solutions and how they use the system can take things to a higher level. There was Joan Alway from the Icicle Fund who has been using Foundant for four years, Rachel Clements who only recently started her job at College Spark, along with the fellows from Pride Foundation (Jeff, Anthony and Craig) who are in the middle of their first cycle. Throughout the presentation of information from Foundant, we all were sharing tips with each other and asking questions of the presenters and the rest of the group.
The advice I will be putting into practice soon is to have a Foundant Tip Sheet on the website as an individual page rather than keep it embedded in the process. Speaking of tips, what do you provide (if anything) to grant-seekers to help them navigate your application process?
While I enjoyed hearing about the new Reports Beta and am looking forward to trying it out, the real benefit I got out of this meeting was the connection. Real people that I can connect with about the work I do and how to do it better. Thanks to the Foundant team, Seattle International Foundation, and all the attendees for a great meeting! Don’t be surprised if you get a call from me in the near future.