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Reduce manual grants work for better nonprofit relationships

April 11, 2024
A group of three women and one man are sitting in folding chairs arranged in a circle. One of the women is speaking using hand gestures and has a binder in her lap.

Building sustainable, lasting partnerships is critical for corporations and nonprofit organizations alike. Nonprofits increasingly rely on corporate funding with individual giving declining each year. Beyond just grant dollars, 95% of nonprofits that receive long-term, strategic support — like capacity building — say they increased their outcomes. Similarly, when corporations have strong nonprofit partnerships, they’re able to better understand the needs of their communities and can build tailored programs. Ultimately, this results in more strategic funding, better program outcomes, and maximum impact.  

Unfortunately, the grants lifecycle — from application submission to fund disbursement — typically involves manual work for both grantmakers and grantseekers. This can result in frustrated grantees, overworked staff, and lost opportunities, straining these critical relationships. In this blog, we’ll explore how to reduce manual grants work for more strategic funding and maximum social impact with Bonterra’s Grants Management solution.  

Looking for even more ways that Bonterra can help you power corporate philanthropy to its full potential through strategic partnerships? Download our guide, “The social impact transformation: CSR and strategic philanthropy.”  

Make it easier for nonprofits to find and apply for the right opportunities

For nonprofits, searching for grant opportunities and submitting applications can be a lengthy, complex, and manual process. Here are their four biggest challenges:  

  1. Inaccessible grant applications: Grant announcements typically require having prior inclusion, whether through existing grantmaking circles or email lists, ultimately excluding groups without prior access. This is especially challenging for small nonprofits or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color)-led organizations that don’t have connections due to historical exclusion. 
  2. Limited resources: Most grant applications require extensive background information, and many nonprofits don’t have the staff support or technical infrastructure to complete these applications quickly and effectively.  
  3. Redundant applications: Nonprofits typically apply for multiple grants that ask for the same information. Requiring organizations to submit a new application for each grant request creates an undue burden, especially for those already operating with limited resources.   
  4. Unclear eligibility criteria: Without clear eligibility criteria, a nonprofit might apply for a grant, only to discover post-submission that they don't meet the funder's requirements. This not only wastes the nonprofit's scarce time and resources but also risks damaging potential relationships down the line. 

At Bonterra, we know creating an efficient, streamlined grant application process is critical for building the best charitable partnerships. We’ve developed our FrontDoor Marketplace to make it easier than ever for nonprofits to find and apply for the right opportunities and build lasting relationships with corporate funders. Here’s how:  

Reduce administrative burden: Create a single nonprofit profile with information including 501(c)(3) status, causes supported, leadership demographics, organization size, impact score, and more. This reduces the administrative burden associated with applying for grants by eliminating the need to submit multiple applications with the same information.   

Build corporate partnerships: The single nonprofit profile makes it easy for organizations to find grant opportunities they qualify for and establish lasting partnerships with corporate funders who use Bonterra to manage their grantmaking. 

Manage relationships: Access a centrally managed organization record, native payments, and single sign-on (SSO) access to company portals to more easily scale corporate partnerships. Without this solution, nonprofits would need to manage each relationship individually, creating exponential administrative costs.

Minimize manual work and administrative overhead for grantmakers

Like nonprofit applicants, grants administrators tasked with managing approvals, disbursements, and reporting also face inefficiencies and manual work, limiting their ability to focus on strategy and impact. Here are their four biggest challenges:  

  1. Complex workflows: Review and approval processes that are managed manually in spreadsheets and emails are error-prone and can create additional administrative work for your teams, wasting valuable time, energy, and resources. Manual processes are also at higher risk for errors, bottlenecks, non-compliance, and delayed disbursements. 
  2. Rigid software: Grants management solutions that are too rigid prevent grantmakers from creating experiences that meet their unique needs. Because of this rigidity, grant workflows can become excessive or insufficient based on the program’s level of complexity. For example, the requirements for a U.S-based community reinvestment program are much simpler than those of an international medical grant program, and the same workflows couldn’t be applied across both programs. 
  3. Secure disbursements: Handling your disbursements internally can be expensive, risky, and unpredictable. From watchlist scans and nonprofit vetting to complex tax receipt procedures and secure money transfers, the disbursements process can create unnecessary administrative work for your teams who are already spread thin.  
  4. Impact reporting: Without a purpose-built tool for measuring impact, grants administrators are limited to reporting on outputs like dollars donated or hours volunteered. While this information is important, today’s leading corporations and foundations want to go beyond this data to measure true outcomes from their programs.  

When you partner with Bonterra for grants management, your teams gain access to flexible workflows and built-in reporting, allowing them to spend less time managing processes and more time developing strategic partnerships, building meaningful programs, and maximizing impact.  

Purpose-built workflows 

With the ability to build tailored, automated workflows that meet your business’ unique requirements, you’ll reduce administrative overhead and accelerate funding for meaningful causes. Here’s how:  

  • Build workflows that meet your company’s unique needs and can scale with you as your programs evolve. 
  • Accelerate review and approval steps with automated nudges and end-to-end visibility at each stage of the application process.  
  • Deliver funds quickly and offload the administrative burden of managing payments with Bonterra’s Disbursements Service.  
  • Manage risk with customized user permissions, air-tight organization vetting, and audit trails. 
  • Grow and sustain nonprofit partnerships with native communication, impact reporting, and payment tools.   

Native insights analytics 

Bonterra’s Insights solution empowers grants administrators to measure true program outcomes, not just outputs. With access to turn-key dashboards, automated reports, and support from Bonterra’s team of industry experts, reporting impact will be easier than ever. Here’s how Insights makes impact data accessible and actionable for grantmaking teams:  

  • Start reporting impact immediately with more than 15 out-of-the-box dashboards designed to measure outcomes and easily meet common regulatory requirements like the Community Reinvestment Act. 
  • Integrate Insights directly into workflows to drive real-time automation, decision making, and consistency across your entire process.  
  • Measure impact based on your specific needs through drill down and self-service dashboard builder capabilities. 

With the right grants management software, you can reduce manual work and increase efficiency for your team and your nonprofit partners, strengthening these critical partnerships.  As your partner in grantmaking, Bonterra will work alongside you to build a platform that is tailored to your business needs today but can scale with you as you grow. Together, we’ll help you transform corporate giving into true strategic philanthropy.  

For even more ways that Bonterra can help power your funding to its full potential through strategic partnerships, download our guide, “The social impact transformation: CSR and strategic philanthropy.” And if you’re ready to see Bonterra Grants Management in action, schedule a demo with one of our experts.  

    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporations
  • Foundations & grantmakers
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Grant management & grant making