Top Takeaways from our 2023 Customer Survey 


Each year, we ask our customers for a few minutes of their time to ask them about their experience with Submittable. This feedback is crucial as our product development team evaluates and prioritizes the enhancements and new features that will provide the most value in the future. 

We just closed up this year’s survey, and we’re currently hard at work analyzing qualitative data, following up with respondents, and informing the product roadmap. We can’t wait to get to work on your top requests! 

A few trends also stood out right away. When it comes to our key promises to our customers—that Submittable will be easy to use, allow them to launch programs quickly, save them time, improve equity, and more—we are proud to see that we have delivered. Below are some top takeaways we wanted to share with the Submittable community. 

Progress toward DEI goals remains a top benefit

Close to three quarters of Submittable customers say the platform helps them meet their goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Of those who say it helps:

  • 64% say it helps them run a more inclusive and/or less burdensome application process
  • 60% say it helps them run a more objective review process
  • 24% say it helps them empower and build stronger relationships with their applicants
  • 19% say they created a new opportunity specifically to meet our goals

In their own words, customers called out some of the ways the platform helps: 

The more upfront and smoother the application process, the more equitable.

Programs Administrator at a nonprofit education organization 

It’s great that managers cannot see the confidential information, but HR can so we can advise on diversity of an interview pool without breaching the applicants’ confidentiality.

Human Resources Generalist at a nonprofit art organization

The review process makes it very easy to put aside bias. We are launching a form to gain more diversity in our PD offerings using submittable.

LEAD & Professional Development Coordinator at a Foundation

Saving time is a top priority 

It’s no big surprise that saving time stood out again this year. The top challenge identified by over half of customers before adopting Submittable was “wasting time on tedious administrative tasks or an inefficient/outdated process.” 

In fact, 95% of Submittable customers say the platform saves them time. And it’s throughout the whole program lifecycle. We found that among those who identified when Submittable saves them time: 

  • 40% save time managing applicant eligibility and program requirements
  • 60% save time administratively launching their program or project
  • 71% save time communicating or coordinating with applicants
  • 81% save time in the review and decision-making process
  • 36% save time measuring and reporting on results or impact

Now, let’s move on to how much time. 

On average, customers who said Submittable saved them time save: 

  • 3.4 hours per week per program administrator
  • 2.6 hours per week per reviewer

Customers are pretty enthusiastic about this benefit. Here are a few highlights:

The sheer amount of time that has been saved overall truly makes a difference.

Sol Inés Perez, Trainer, International Baccalaureate Organization

We save SO much time with Submittable! It has really streamlined workflows and is an exceptional experience for both applicants and reviewers. There’s nothing else quite like Submittable!

Associate Director at a higher education institution

[Submittable ] makes 500 applications feel like 50, if not 5 sometimes.

Frankie Dailey National, New Works Director, Alliance for Musical Theatre

Depending on the size of the team, these hours saved add up to crucial time that teams can then dedicate to mission-critical work. Like the University of Montana, which uses its time saved to focus on their DEI goals, as Finance Manager Neil Carson explains in his own words:  

Submittable decreases administrative overhead which allows us to concentrate on creating a department where DEI is at the core of what we do.

Neil Carson, Finance Manager, University of Montana

Reporting capabilities are a crucial advantage

Our customers are accountable to various stakeholders in their work. From Boards of Directors to community members to taxpayers, it’s important for them to be able to demonstrate fidelity to program goals and account for dollars spent. 

We were glad to see that once more, Submittable is helping our customers accomplish their reporting needs. Over four out of five customers who use Submittable’s reporting platform are able to achieve one or more of the following: 

  • Report on impact
  • Perform data analysis
  • Identify insights or trends
  • Make data-driven decisions
  • Apply learnings to future programs
  • Be accountable to stakeholders
  • Compliance and/or due diligence

Reporting on Submittable data serves all kinds of purposes—from understanding how to improve programs for the future, to demonstrating compliance with legislation. 

We’re gathering data on the organizations we’re working with/who we’re funding so we can figure out how to make the application/program more equitable.

Samantha Quinn, Program Manager, Pacific Ocean Energy Trust

I am [loving] the additional forms and utilizing to meet the reporting requirements of my funding opportunities. 

Grant Manager at a state government agency

Speed and agility are highly valued

The ability to respond quickly to evolving conditions has become more of an imperative across philanthropic sectors. 

Constituents and community members expect their funding partners to understand their lived experiences, and for those realities to be reflected in their programs—from offering emergency relief funds that provide immediate aid, to moving through decision-making and funding processes quickly enough to provide those vital investments when they are needed. 

We were pleased to learn that 42% of customers say that Submittable has improved their responsiveness and agility

[Submittable] is nimble which helps us respond to changes and make updates very quickly.

Chris Naranjo, Finance and Operations Manager, Hope Chicago

The first step in running a responsive program is being able to launch it fast. 

Call out:  The majority of Submittable customers launch a new project in two weeks or less. And over 4 out of five customers launch in less than one month.

It was the only platform we found that could implement in less than a month’s time.

Grants Manager at a nonprofit organization

We also found Submittable speeds things along post-launch:

  • 65% of customers experience improved administrative workflows
  • 63% of customers experience more efficient communication and collaboration with applicants and reviewers
  • 42% of customers have an easier time measuring and reporting on results

The reports are…extremely beneficial because it allows me to quickly pull the data that I need.

Program Associate at a foundation

Whether it’s automated review, funds distribution, or compliance reporting, each part of your program that can be a little faster helps our customers reach their social impact goals sooner.

Ease of use remains a key to success

The programs our customers run can only make a positive difference if our tools work for them, not against them. This is important not just administrators—but also applicants, reviewers, and other collaborators (references, finance teams, social workers, etc.) that participate in a program’s lifecycle.

So we were thrilled to learn that once more, Submittable’s ease of use got top marks.

Ease of use for applicants with varying levels of computer and internet access [makes Submittable valuable to my organization].

Garth Bunse, Program Officer, Low Income Investment Fund

We found: 

  • 70% of customers describe Submittable as “easy” or “very easy” to use
  • 25% of customers say Submittable is somewhat easy to use
  • Just 5% say Submittable is not easy to use 

Submittable is approximately 3000% easier to use than our previous tool. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and flexible.

Amy Marcus, Senior Accreditations Program Manager, HubSpot

Trust-based practices continue to take root

The trend toward embracing trust-based practices has continued among our grantmaking clients. Specifically, we found 65% identify trust-based practices (e.g., emphasis on relationship-building, power-sharing) as a top organizational priority. 

We further found that seven out of ten funders use Submittable to implement specific practices to strengthen grantor-grantee partnerships. Among them: 

  • 35% offer unrestricted grants
  • 45% offer multi-year grants
  • 67% have reduced application requirements
  • 58% have reduced reporting requirements
  • 30% invite grantees to participate in strategy development

Among customers offering unrestricted grants, we found a majority—over 60%—offering over half of their portfolio unrestricted.

As for multi-year grants, most customers are still dipping their toe, with over half of customers reporting that multi-year grants make up less than 25% of their portfolio, and only 15% saying they make up over 75%. 

Wherever our customers are on their trust-based philanthropy journey, we look forward to offering tools, education, and partnership to continue this good work.

High overall satisfaction persists 

While you can’t reduce the value of a partnership to a single question, if we could, it would be this one: How would you rate your overall experience with Submittable?

We were delighted to learn that, for the fourth year in a row, over 95% of customers report that they’re satisfied with their overall experience. And the vast majority—over two-thirds—say their experience has been Very Good or Excellent. 

We appreciated the elegance and thoughtfulness of [Submittable.] … You seem to have thought of everything. I LOVE your company and still owe you a personal letter of thanks.

Jane Sibbett, Chairperson, Storyteller Foundation

We saw similar positive trends among satisfaction with customer support as well as with accessibility and security standards:

  • 99% of customers are satisfied with Submittable’s security standards
  • 96% of customers are satisfied with Submittable’s accessibility standards
  • 95% of customers are satisfied with their overall experience with Submittable’s technical support resources/team

Our customers are diverse—but united in social impact

Submittable customers span industries, from the public sector to the nonprofit world to corporations to creative institutions. 

The work they do with the platform differs as well—from grants and relief funding, to creative opportunities, to awards and recognition, and beyond.

Whichever industry they come from, and whatever kind of program they run, our customers are united in their social impact work. Below is a high level view of the causes where our customers are busy with changemaking work. 

This pie chart shows the causes where Submittable customers do their important work.

Customers uncover more value through multiple and creative uses 

We always love delivering as much value as possible to our customers. And we love when our customers uncover new ways to use our products. 

As mentioned above, customers hire Submittable to perform a variety of jobs. And if Submittable can handle more than one job for you, you just compounded the value of the software. 

At first we just used [Submittable] for employee scholarship applications, over the years we have added our [employee] relief fund, and are getting ready to launch the volunteer application.

Jeffery Corbett, Senior Director of Volunteer Engagement & Foundation Programs, Stillwater Medical Foundation

If you’re one of the over 40% of customers who have found a new use for Submittable since purchasing, we tip our hats to you. And if you haven’t yet—we hope this inspires you to identify a way that you too can get even more bang for your buck. 

Thank you

To our customers, thank you. Thank you for taking our customer survey and sharing all of these insights. Thank you for your generosity in allowing us to quote you so we can let your own words tell the story. And most of all, thank you for trusting us as your partner in your social impact work. We are committed to innovating and improving—you’ll hear from us soon as we put your good ideas into action with new releases throughout 2023.

Learn more about Submittable

If you’re seeking a partner in your social impact work, you’ve come to the right place. Watch a demo to see how Submittable can help you launch, manage, and measure your unique program today. 

Methodology: Submittable’s 2023 customer survey was open from November 9, 2022-January 6, 2023. We received 455 completed surveys. Participants were entered into a drawing for one of three $100 Visa gift cards, awarded January 6. All quotes used here were received in the survey and are used with permission. 

Natalya Taylor

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.