2022: Our Year in Review

It’s that time again.

This 2022 wrap-up post marks the fourth that I’ve written as a product marketer at Submittable—which means the first was in 2019. What an innocent time!

The world has changed. You know that more than anyone—because you are doing the hard work to change it for the better. At Submittable, we never cease to be inspired by the vital work our customers do using our platform. 

To zoom in on a few of many, many life-changing initiatives, our customers have: 

    • Provided grants across the United States that offered a lifeline for small businesses providing early childhood care and education.
    • Given back to healthcare and food service workers who have given so much throughout the pandemic.
    • Invested in innovative solutions to help create a world where every child has the chance to play and learn. 
    • Supported low-income high school graduates with a path to a debt-free college education.

I could go on. Speaking for my whole team, it is such an honor to be a small part of your good work. So without further ado, I invite you to take a moment to celebrate what you achieved collectively in 2022. We’ll let you know what we’ve been up to at Submittable, too.

Innovating for the future

Our technology is part of what makes this all possible. Here’s how it’s evolved in the last year. 

The strongest fraud prevention tools in grants management 

With governments and other funders making historic investments as people and the economy recover from the worst of COVID-19, we’ve unfortunately learned that many programs have fallen subject to bad actors. To make sure your funds are going to those in need, Submittable’s Fraud Prevention feature confirms applicant identities while introducing virtually zero friction into the process, for you or your applicants. 

A unified, actionable data ecosystem

We launched Submittable Data Sharing with Snowflake, giving Submittable customers the ability to access their Submittable data in their Snowflake data warehouse. There, they can enrich it with data from their full suite of business applications for holistic analysis.

More efficient and more collaborative reporting 

We made three major improvements to your full program life cycle with updates to progress reports. Scheduling, deadlines, and applicant collaboration on Additional Forms were all released in 2022. 

The little things that make all the difference

Sometimes, it’s not a major new feature that you need, but just a little tweak that will fix a snag in your workflow. There were a lot of subtle updates last year—a few to call out include taking a bulk action on all submissions that meet your filters at once (even millions) and applicant collaboration on forms that are open to editing.

Expansion of our product suite

2022 marked the first time ever that Submittable introduced a second product to our suite. And we did it twice. In fact, we were thrilled to be honored with the Jellyfish Software Engineering Innovation Award which recognized this year of transformative growth for our product development organization.

Increase engagement in employee volunteering 

Submittable’s corporate volunteering platform makes volunteering together easier and more fun. Empower ERG leaders or others to provide volunteer experiences your employees will care about, and see engagement grow with single-click sign up and automated communications. Finally, report on your collective impact. 

Make it easier for employees to give

Similarly, our new corporate giving platform increases participation in employee donations. Create campaigns that raise money for specific nonprofits, and give employees the ability to choose to give to their favorite charities (or, discover a new one that serves causes they care about). It all helps your company and your employees live out your values and do more good. 

In 2022, we launched our corporate giving platform which simplifies and drives engagement in campaigns and donations.

Walking the walk

At Submittable, we see ourselves as social impact partners for our customers. Which means we need to do more than serve their technical needs, we need to be changemakers. 

As changemakers, we consider it our responsibility to take a holistic approach to being a force for good. We believe that entails living out our values in ways that make a difference for all our stakeholders. That includes, of course, you, our customers, as well as our employees and the people in the communities where we live and work. All of these people care about doing business with, working for, or being neighbors with organizations that are values-aligned. And that means not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. 

So with that, here’s how Submittable made good on our corporate values in 2022.

Evolving the conversation 

One way we live our values is by using our voice as a brand to help influence the philanthropic sector for the better. 

Impact Audio

In 2022, we released season two of Impact Audio, our podcast where we elevate experts and practitioners in the world of social impact. To call out just a few highlights, we spoke to: 

     

        • Amy Sample Ward and Afua Bruce, authors of The Tech That Comes Next, about how funders can center community in their tech strategy

        • Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder of RespectAbility, about how philanthropy can step up for the disability community 

        • Our customers Grace Moss, Sophia Zeinu, and Yvette Urbina about insights gleaned from their experiences leading DEI programs at WarnerMedia

    Impact Studio

    We also did something big. We hosted Impact Studio, a first of its kind audio conference which featured five industry leaders and our own VP of Social Impact, Sam Caplan. We held five recorded and one live session all about how to build your CSR program (and career) around a clear purpose: 

        • Constructing a purpose-built career with Angela Parker, CEO and co-founder of Realized Worth
        • What is the ‘S’ in ESG, and how do you measure it? with Carmen Perez, founder and partner at Better Next
        • What the data says about the future of social impact, with Kari Niedfeldt-Thomas, managing director of corporate insights & engagement for CECP
        • A blueprint for high-engagement CSR programs, with Patricia Toothman, social impact manager at Splunk
        • Lessons from the future of CSR and corporate volunteering, with Jen Carter, global head of technology & volunteering at Google.org

    Moving the ball forward

    Through our other channels: webinars, blogs, guides, and more, we also shared tips and best practices about how funders can speed up their grantmaking with technology, how to choose a grant management software to support trust-based philanthropy, and how to measure the impact of corporate volunteering. An important part of our intention in researching, writing, and amplifying this content is to do our part to move the ball forward for a better tomorrow. 

    Renewing our commitment to be part of the solution

    Community grants

    We launched a new community grant to invest a total of $20,000 for local nonprofits in Missoula, MT and Seattle, WA . 

    Since we believe in democratizing corporate purpose initiatives, our giving was entirely employee-driven (and we shared what we learned through this experience, too). 

    We were thrilled in the end to support these four amazing organizations: 

       

          • Be:Seattle: building power and leadership of renters and people experiencing homelessness.

          • EmpowerMT: developing youth and adult leaders who work to end mistreatment, correct systemic inequalities, and strengthen communities.

      Since we pledged to donate $2 for every Impact Studio conference registration would go to our grant partners, we even got to top off our initial donations with an extra $3,200 for these organizations. 

      Corporate volunteering

      We continued our partnerships with local food banks in both Missoula and Bellevue, participating in volunteering throughout the year. We were so proud to extend the human power of these vital organizations in our communities.

      Becoming a public benefit corporation

      We also made it official: we are now officially registered with the IRS as a public benefit corporation. What does that mean? In short, we’ll keep doing what we’ve always done. But now, our commitment to making a positive impact across all our stakeholders—customers, employees, investors, our community, and society as a whole—is recognized in our legally defined business goals.

      Ramping up for 2023 and beyond

      While it was a big year of evolution for us as a company, we’re not slowing down. Rather, we’ve been simultaneously laying the groundwork to do more, and do it better in the coming years. 

      As we announced in June, we raised a $47 million Series C round of funding. Led by Accel-KKR and with support from our previous investors, this funding was a strong endorsement of our technology, our people, and our vision. It also indicates the palpable momentum behind social impact in this moment, as across sectors, foundations, nonprofits, governments, and corporations are seeking the tools that will empower them to carry out their missions more efficiently, effectively, and equitably. 

      That investment, in part, fueled the growth of our team. Submittable was named a Deloitte 2022 Technology Fast 500 winner, recognizing our growth and innovation. We are now 215 people strong—that’s 65% growth in staff compared to this time last year. And once more, we were proud to invest in our employees’ professional growth, with internal promotions or moves constituting 30% of our new hires in 2022.

      As many of us have been getting back into the office, we were also thrilled to open a new headquarters (across the street from our old one) in downtown Missoula, Montana. With 360-degree views of the river and the mountains, we’re excited for all of the innovation and collaboration to come here. Let us know if you’re ever in town. 

      Thank you

      There’s so much still to do. 

      And life just keeps moving. But to paraphrase Ferris Bueller, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. 

      So thank you for looking around with me, and for taking this moment to appreciate this community and all we accomplished together this year. It matters, and it makes a huge difference. 

      Lastly, thank you for trusting Submittable, and for being our partner. Let’s raise a glass to 2023, and to tackling all the work that’s left to do, together.

      Natalya DeRobertis-Theye

      Natalya is the director of product marketing at Submittable and is 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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