Highlights from Submittable’s 2022 Customer Survey

Once a year, we survey our customers to answer some key questions that help drive our work. Is our product solving the problems our customers purchased it to solve? Are they satisfied with accessibility? Security? Ease of use? And what could be better? 

This data is crucial. Our commitment to innovation means that as the social impact sector changes for the better, our software will be poised to empower our customers to adapt along with it. Understanding our customers’ experiences is a key way that we evolve the platform to better meet their needs, now and in the future. 

The annual survey is also an opportunity for us to learn what is working well. This year we found: 

  • 79% say Submittable helps them meet DEI goals
  • Nearly 2/3 report an improved applicant experience
  • The average team saves 20 hours per week

Read on for more highlights from this year’s survey results. 

Less Mess

Our customers have consistently called out this key benefit over the years: Submittable streamlines processes, saving you from dealing with tedious administrative work. No more email, spreadsheets, toggling through tabs, or even—gasp—stacks of mail and paper to go through. 

Our survey found that two-thirds of customers report improved administrative workflows

Rather than getting lost in the weeds, Submittable customers feel in control of their programs. 

I compare having Submittable to being the conductor of an orchestra; I can see all of the moving parts!

Vanessa Banks, Borough Arts Coordinator, NYC Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects

The Need for Speed

In recent years, the global pandemic, economic crises, climate disasters and demands for social justice have necessitated unprecedented urgency in the social impact space.

Unlike many of our competitors, Submittable customers are able to launch new programs quickly. This facilitates experimentation, agility, and creativity. 

It is flexible and customizable, which allows us to implement creative ideas. 

Peter Park, Director of Professional Activities, The College of Music Society

Over half of Submittable customers report that it’s now easier and faster for them to launch online forms.

Once I know what my questions are, I can design and launch an application within a day. Other platforms make me wait days, weeks, sometimes months just to get a first draft of the application.

Fernando Rojas, Program Manager, Japan ICU Foundation

Building Relationships

Good relationships are rooted in communication and trust. Many of our customers say they build that trust through seeking and acting on feedback.

The ease of use in creating and editing applications make[s] it so we can be responsive to our applicants and grantees as we receive feedback. Sometimes it is as simple as “Oh, that help text could be rephrased to be more helpful” and we change the application mid-stream, but it also gives us more flexibility in making changes based on feedback and surveys as we run a new round of a given program.

Andrea Brown, Grants and Program Administrator, Jerome Foundation

Submittable’s role here is twofold: 

First, the platform facilitates easier communication. Our survey found that 62% of customers reported more efficient communication and collaboration with applicants and reviewers.

Next, as an easy-to-use platform, we empower customers to be agile and responsive. So even as they are able to adapt to emerging situations and launch new programs quickly, they don’t end up with their hands tied. 

96% of customers find the platform at least somewhat easy to use, while the lion’s share (66%) describe Submittable as either easy or very easy to use

The forms are easy to set up and the interface is clean and intuitive for our grant applicants.

Daniel Sellers, Executive Director, Ciresi Walburn Foundation

Centering the Applicant Experience

Building trust begins with the application process. Reducing the burden upon applicants is a sign of respect for their work. 

It’s also a key way to run a more inclusive process, by reducing barriers—such as technological expertise or time constraints—to applicants who have been historically marginalized, or have otherwise been at a disadvantage, yet who are likely just as deserving. 

Having a platform that makes it easier/less burdensome for applicants to seek funds has been great. It’s also streamlined our review process, which means our reviewers (who are mostly BIPOC folks) have a better and more efficient experience. 

Violeta Rubiani, Director of Programs, Seeding Justice

63% of Submittable customers reported an improved applicant experience after adopting Submittable. 

Meeting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals

An improved applicant experience is just the first step for Submittable customers focused on centering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their programs. 

Almost 4/5 of Submittable customers said the platform helped them meet their DEI goals, including specifically by:

  • Helping them run a more inclusive application process (53%)
  • Helping  them run a more objective review process (39%) 
  • Creating a new opportunity specifically to meet their goals (20%)

Submittable provides tools that support organizations’ DEI goals in myriad ways. 

One essential, but often overlooked piece for many organizations is mobile-friendliness for applicants and removing language barriers. 

It was really great for our pilot which was our first open application (we historically have been invitation only). We are excited about how easy it is for people to access on mobile phones and the possibility of sharing our materials in different languages.

Jamie Schmill, Vice President of Programs, Foundation for Louisiana

Another key is the easy-to-use form builder, which empowers customers to collect information from applicants in virtually any file format. This opens the door to many forms of storytelling.

We’re embarking on allowing video submissions OR written submissions to increase access.

Samantha Kimpel, Program Officer, Creative Sonoma

Many customers use Submittable forms and reporting options to collect demographic data. Demographic data, collected intentionally, gives you an opportunity to invite applicants to express their identities in their own terms. 

We are able to easily have custom demographic fields that allow for applicants to express themselves and provide demographic information in more ways.

Andrea Brown, Grants and Program Administrator, Jerome Foundation

We’ve adopted the demographic data collection best practices shared by Submittable.

Violeta Rubiani, Director of Programs, Seeding Justice

This data can be used to measure progress against goals. For instance, Submittable organizations may use demographic data to discover if they are receiving applications from, or proportionately awarding funds to, their intended communities. 

We have added [elective] DEI questions that now shed light on who our applicants are.

Tracey Y. Kikut, Program Director, Ucross Foundation

Often, organizations choose to conceal this data from their review teams in an effort to reduce bias.

The ability to conduct blind review of proposals is key to ensuring fairness to all. 

Peter Park, Director of Professional Activities, The College of Music Society

In other instances, demographic data can be a tool in antiracism efforts, by integrating with scoring rubrics to proactively support traditionally excluded applicants and communities.

We developed a judging rubric that awards points for various diversity factors, giving a higher overall score to projects led by diverse applicants, diverse teams, or serving diverse communities.

Head of operations at a grantmaking foundation

Measuring Impact

Impact measurement is an essential component of any social impact program. Submittable’s reporting features empower customers with tools to assess their progress and make decisions. 

The reporting feature has made our decision making process so much easier. Just the time it takes to calculate everything has been decreased so much so we’re not spending as much time preparing for our reporting meetings.

Samantha Quinn, Program Specialist, Pacific Ocean Energy Trust

91% of Submittable customers have achieved positive results with Submittable reports, including: 

  • Performing data analysis
  • Identifying insights or trends
  • Answering stakeholder questions
  • Making data-driven decisions 
  • Impact reporting

Establishing results also helps build sustainability for your program. When it comes to showing funders what you’ve been able to achieve, impact data instills confidence. 

[Submittable a]llows us to collect and organize demographic data so we can share with funders and raise more money for grant programs.

Amy Shea, Senior Program Officer, Low Income Investment Fund

All Together Now

We continue to find (to our delight!) that our customers discover value beyond their initial reason to buy. 

In fact, over one-third of Submittable customers have found a new use for the platform since purchase. 

Instead of using a grant platform, event registration platform, and survey tool, Submittable is so nimble we can do it all on a single platform.

Tricia Sanborn, Senior Program Manager, Arts Council of Anne Arundel County

Saving Time

At its essence, Submittable is designed to save you time. In fact, many of the benefits described above stem from this original value proposition—what would you do with the time you could save with Submittable? 

Efficiency and productiv[ity are] exponentially better because of the Submittable format.

Felicia Bing, Administrator of Programs, Episcopal Community Services (ECS)

This year’s survey found:

  • Submittable administrators save an average of 7 hours per week
  • Submittable review teams save an average of 13 hours per week

Time is everything, with Submittable we spend less time to organize our applications and reporting. 

Rasool Mohibzada, Coordinator, British Council

All told, organizations save an average of 20 hours per week with Submittable.  

Mission-Aligned

So, why does it all matter? 

At Submittable, we are in the business of accelerating mission-driven work. And when we build better tools to empower organizations—tools to launch, manage, and measure their social impact programs—we do more good, together.

We used Submittable to help amalgamate our systems, This in turn, allowed for more personal experience for the applicant. It allowed for a more nuanced process learning what each organization deeply stood for and how this funding opportunity would create change for our community. It lined up directly with our mission.

Scott Roose, Chatham Kent Nonprofit Centre Coordinator, United Way Chatham-Kent 

Customers said Submittable helps them become more mission-aligned—whether through creating deeper relationships with grantees, or building stronger programs that reach more people. 

[Submittable h]as enabled us to grow our regranting program and get much needed support out to our community.

Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director, New York City Arts in Education Roundtable

Thank You

To each of our customers who took the time to fill out our survey this year, thank you. So much. We were thrilled to see how much is working well—and are so proud to be a small part of the big difference that you are making in the world. 

We heard your critiques, requests, and visions for tomorrow, as well. And we’re working on building the platform that will prepare you and your programs to thrive in the future. 

If you’re not yet part of the Submittable family, we’d love to talk to you more about what we’re all about. You can contact us for a customized demo anytime. 

Methodology: Submittable’s 2022 customer survey was open from January 4—January 26, 2022. We received 637 completed surveys. Participants were entered into a drawing for one of three $100 Visa gift cards, awarded January 26. All quotes used here were received in the survey and are used with permission. 

Natalya DeRobertis-Theye

Natalya is a product marketer at Submittable focused on helping organizations get a ton of value out of the platform. She is a bookworm, adventure enthusiast and card-carrying cat lady as well as a writer and yogi.

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