The Best Alternative to SurveyMonkey Apply

If you’ve looked into purchasing SurveyMonkey Apply or you’re a current customer, here are the top reasons why you should consider Submittable.

Foundations, universities, and businesses of all sizes have discovered that application management software can save enormous amounts of time and hassle. 

Submittable and SurveyMonkey Apply are both robust platforms that offer an easy-to-use online application process, collaboration tools for your review team, streamlined workflows, and fund management features. They make accepting, reviewing, and awarding grants, scholarships, fellowships, and other opportunities more cost-effective and efficient. 

But there are clear distinctions between the products. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re comparing SurveyMonkey Apply to Submittable. 

Features at a Glance

 SubmittableSurveyMonkey Apply
Collecting applications
Rich text formatting for applicantsX
Charity validation for all customersX
Branded portals
Form builder with many question types
In-form data validation
Real-time applicant collaboration
File uploads
Eligibility screening
Review and workflow
Comprehensive tools for anonymous reviewX
In-app messagingX
Automated reviewer assignments
Side-by-side reviews
Basic and advanced reviews
Multiple stages of review
Reminders and notifications
Reporting and funding
Funds distributionX
Funds tracking
API access
Accessibility and security
Attained a VPAT
VPAT conformance100% Supports or Partially SupportsUnknown
FERPA compliant
PCI compliant
SOC2 Type 2 compliant
Capterra Ease of use rating4.74.3
Capterra Customer support rating4.94.7
Capterra Overall rating4.84.6
Capterra Likelihood to recommend94.3%85.2%
Unlimited programs with subscriptionX

Top reasons to choose Submittable over SurveyMonkey Apply

While Submittable and SurveyMonkey Apply share many key features in common, there are a few key differentiators that can help you make your decision. 

1. Submittable is more intuitive 

One of the most frequent pieces of feedback we hear from customers who choose Submittable over SurveyMonkey Apply is that Submittable’s software is significantly easier to use. 

As a reviewer of SurveyMonkey Apply put it on the G2 software review site:

“The learning curve for SurveyMonkey Apply is steep to say the least.”

Review on software review site G2

Another SurveyMonkey Apply user wrote on software review site Capterra: 

Without someone on the foundation payroll who has a high degree of technology knowledge, [SurveyMonkey Apply] would be a very tough go for small foundations with few to no staff.

Reviewer on software review site Capterra

Contrast that with Submittable: our average customer time-to-launch is only 14 days after signing up, which speaks to how simple it is to get things up and running. 

Customers—even the self-identified, less-than-tech-savvy among them—rave about how easy the platform is to use:

“[Submittable] is one of the only computerized experiences where I know how it works, don’t have to call my kids for help, etc.”

Barrett Warner, Editor and Publisher, Free State Review / Galileo Press

Form creation was easy to figure out. I was a little filled with dread the first time, but as soon as I started working in the form builder, it was just really intuitive. Same with the response templates—it’s simple to find everything I need. As only a semi-technical person, that’s empowering.

Mariah McPherson, Executive Director, New Belgium Family Foundation

It’s so user friendly. I struggled with a lot of other form builders before finding this and I’m so impressed.

Fellowship Director in the Entertainment Industry

This difference in ease of use between the platforms may be partly due to SurveyMonkey Apply’s complicated automated workflows. Some customers need highly-automated, complex workflows. They don’t mind investing extra time, energy, and resources into learning and implementing a new platform. For those customers, SurveyMonkey Apply might be the better option.

But many Submittable customers find the comparative simplicity of Submittable, including the ease of use of the Advanced Reporting and analytic tools, more appealing. 

In fact, as Shana Melnysyn, the Research Grants Manager at University of California Humanities Research Institute, put it: 

“That’s why I chose Submittable in the first place,” since she could tell Submittable would be “easier to work” than SurveyMonkey Apply.

Submittable’s ease of use is rated more highly on both Capterra (4.7 to 4.3) and G2 (9.2 to 8.7).

Ease of Use rating comparing Submittable to SurveyMonkey Apply on Capterra
Ease of Use rating comparing Submittable to SurveyMonkey Apply on Capterra

G2 offers additional Ease of Setup and Ease of Admin ratings, where Submittable wins again, 6.2 to 6.1 and 6.5 to 6.3, respectively.

2. Submittable gives you more bang for your buck

Nearly 50% of grantmakers using Submittable have found a completely new use for the platform since purchase.

Because Submittable’s pricing is based on the number of users, there’s no limitation to how you can use the platform. From awards and contests to internal processes, every time you use your software for an additional program, your dollars stretch further. 

At Submittable, it’s all included.

On the other hand, SurveyMonkey Apply charges customers per program. That means you pay extra every time you want to use Apply in a new way.  

On Capterra, customers rate Submittable‘s “Value for Money” more highly than SurveyMonkey Apply (4.6 to 4.4).

Value for Money rating comparing Submittable to SurveyMonkey Apply on Capterra

3. Submittable offers in-app communication

Let’s say you receive a promising application, but realize that a key piece of data is missing, or that you’d like the applicant to clarify something. 

On SurveyMonkey Apply, you’d have to leave the platform and go to your email provider—where it’s easy to lose track of information in long threads and where that communication is only visible to people on that email chain.

With Submittable, you can simply use in-app messaging to ask a question, right within the platform, alongside the submission. That way everyone has the same information, and is on the same page. 

“The ability to communicate with applicants through Submittable has been a game changer.”

Dylan Pickus, Manager of Artistic Programs, SPACE on Ryder Farm

Plus, you can take advantage of email templates and bulk messaging for frequent types of communication, such as scheduling a site visit or for collecting quarterly reports. 

4. Submittable provides fantastic service across the board

Since the beginning, Submittable has made it a priority to hire professional, thoughtful, and attentive people. Our customers enjoy a helpful and responsive experience throughout sales conversations, implementation services, ongoing account management, and customer support—where we resolve 75% of customer questions in the very first response. 

That’s why Submittable has earned high customer support scores on Capterra (4.9, vs. 4.7 for SurveyMonkey Apply).

Customer Support rating comparing Submittable to SurveyMonkey Apply on Capterra
Customer Support rating comparing Submittable to SurveyMonkey Apply on Capterra
Appealie Award Winner 2020 badge

Submittable was also one of ten Appealie Customer Success Award winners in 2020 (SurveyMonkey Apply was not).

At Submittable, every single employee, regardless of role, strives to be exactly how customer Jim Masker, Program Manager-High School Entrepreneurship at ONE MONTANA, described us:

“The staff were wonderfully supportive and always available.” 

Jim Masker, Program Manager-High School Entrepreneurship at ONE MONTANA

Unlike SurveyMonkey Apply, which only offers support over email and phone, Submittable offers support over email, phone, and chat, which means Submittable users who run into questions can get help without having to leave the platform.

“I really appreciate the responsiveness and agility of the Submittable team, and by extension, the platform itself. Everyone is quick and helpful and I feel like the company really listens and responds to the needs of its customers.”

Shana Melnysyn, Research Grants Manager, University of California Humanities Institute

In a recent survey of nearly 750 Submittable customers, 97% reported a positive overall experience with Submittable’s technical support. 

5. All Submittable customers can integrate with Candid (formerly Guidestar)

Submittable’s custom-integration with Candid (formerly Guidestar) consists of a Charity Check form field that requests an organization’s EIN number. With just that one question, grantmakers can:

  • Screen organizations for eligibility based on their IRS tax-exempt status
  • Automatically pull organization data, including name, address, deductibility status, and much more
  • Create a great applicant experience by saving applicants time
charity check
In Submittable, you can screen applicants for eligibility based on their organization’s IRS status.

While SurveyMonkey Apply has a “Guidestar Integration”, since June of 2020, it is no longer available to new customers.

6. Submittable can distribute funds to awardees

SurveyMonkey Apply and Submittable both provide dashboards and tracking tools for organizations to stay on budget and on top of their capacity to give.

But only Submittable can also handle payment disbursement. Through Submittable’s Funds Distribution capabilities and partnerships with local and domestic financial partners, grantmakers can get funding to awardees as quickly as within 48 hours, all with the click of a button. 

In Submittable, you can trigger payments to awardees with the click of a button.

7. Submittable has better tools to prevent bias in the review process

Submittable offers more precise tools within the platform to help prevent reviewer bias. 

In SurveyMonkey Apply, individual form field responses can’t be concealed from reviewers. This means, for example, if you’d like to capture demographic information in your application form, you won’t be able to hide that demographic information from your review team without concealing the entire form. 

Submittable, by contrast, offers you the flexibility to choose which individual questions within a form to conceal from reviewers with differing permission levels.

8. Submittable allows for rich text formatting within application forms

When you’re providing an opportunity, you want to give your applicants the chance to shine. 

Submittable provides applicants the ability to use rich text formatting, such as bold, italic, underline, bulleted and numbered lists, as well as quote blocks and hyperlinks, within the application form. 

These tools can make a big difference in an applicant’s ability to tell their story with urgency and clarity—without any extra work. And nicely-formatted applications make the review process easier for your team.

Learn more about Submittable

Ready to begin a conversation? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our team today.

Want to see for yourself?

See Submittable’s proven process in action, including application collection, collaboration with your team, review and decision-making, and reporting on results, in our five-minute demo video. 

Methodology: This analysis was compiled from publicly-available information on SurveyMonkey Apply’s website, Help Center, and other resources, as well as independent software review sites and customer testimonials.

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.