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THE GRANT MAKING BLOG

SmartyGrants for Workflow

By Kate Caldecott

SmartyGrants is designed to include all of the tools you need to manage the applications you receive in a grant round. However, the system also includes an array of tools that can be used to enhance workflow. While use of these tools is largely optional, they offer an excellent opportunity to optimize your workflow and take advantage of the built-in tracking that electronic systems offer.

 

SmartyGrants Workflow Features                

 

Stages and Tasks

SmartyGrants uses stages and tasks to organise workflow. You can create stages to correspond to each step in the lifecycle of a grant round (pre-screening, assessment, decision, acquittal, etc.). Each Stage has one or more Tasks that need to be completed before moving on to the next stage.

 

SmartyGrants distinguishes between tasks that need to be completed for each application (for example, conduct a pre-eligibility screening) and general tasks that need to be completed only once, regardless of the number of applications (for example, book a meeting room for the assessment meeting).

 

You can tick tasks off as they are completed and SmartyGrants includes some handy built in reports to let you easily see what tasks are outstanding. Although the use of Stages and Tasks is  optional, they are a powerful tool for managing your workflow and are essential if you are conducting your assessment process within SmartyGrants.

 

Source: SmartyGrants Help Documentation

Source: SmartyGrants Help Documentation

 

Calendar

The SmartyGrants calendar links to all of your rounds, stages, and tasks so you always know what’s coming up. It also includes a weekly tally of forms submitted by your applicants. You can choose which items appear in the calendar and can configure it to feed through (one-way feed) to iCal or Outlook.

File Notes

You can create File Notes attached to a contact. As such, SmartyGrants can serve as a correspondence log, tracking interactions and allowing multiple users to see what information has been shared.

 

Tags and Flags

Tags and flags help you make the most out of the Contact Directory. Once applied, you can use tags and/or flags to filter down to and report on a group of contacts.

Tags are labels that you create and apply to contacts. You can use them to call attention to something that needs to be done or categorise contacts by a certain attribute.

Flags are simple identifiers that come in two colours, red and yellow. You can assign any meaning to them that you want, such as flagging applicants who had breaches in past grants.

 

Source: SmartyGrants Help Documentation

Source: SmartyGrants Help Documentation

 

Mailouts and In-system Email

The mailout feature allows users to create a bulk-email to send out to applicants and contacts. You can use filters to isolate a selected group of recipients and can insert standard fields (drawn from the applicant that will receive the email) into the text of your email. You can even create and attach report templates (again, these will draw from the associated applicant). Doing this manually would require running, saving and attaching the reports to individual email messages. The time-savings offered by doing it within SmartyGrants is enormous.

 

Of course, you can also use SmartyGrants to send emails to individual contacts. In both cases, a copy of the email is stored in the system creating a secure and well-organised record of your correspondence with the applicant/grantee.

 

Advantages of Using SmartyGrants Workflow Features

 

While using the above-mentioned features is optional, there are some distinct advantages to using SmartyGrants to manage your workflow:

 

Easily found and retrieved information

 

Email is a blessing and a curse. It offers the clarity and permanence of written communication without the time lag of sending paper. The problem is the amount of email we receive. Most electronic inboxes hold a volume of mail that would constitute a fire hazard if it were a paper inbox. We try to manage. We “flag,” “pin,” and “mark as unread,” and still things get lost in the sea of messages.

 

File notes in SmartyGrants do not get lost. They are easily found attached to their associated contact. Messages sent via the system can be easily located and retrieved and are always organised around the application they’re associated with. Nothing gets buried.

 

Transparency

Information stored in SmartyGrants is available for anyone who needs it. You may have more than one Program Officer working with a particular grantee. Staff may turnover. Someone from Finance may need to verify that their contact information for a grantee matches yours. Having all the information and communications associated with an application stored in SmartyGrants makes it easy for whoever needs information to find it. It also means you can easily demonstrate compliance with policies or audit requirements.

 

Keeping Things Moving

 

Built-in reports allow you to know where you are at in a process and easily track pending tasks. Simply put, by using the tools that are already there, you can spend less time figuring out what needs to be done and have more time to actually do it.

 

If you would like to schedule a check-up to ensure you’re making the most out of your SmartyGrants subscription, please contact me at Kate@katecaldecott.com.au or 0447 227 598.

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