The Best Alternative to Blackbaud Grantmaking

If you’re looking for an alternative to Blackbaud Grantmaking, or are a current customer exploring other options, here are the top reasons to consider Submittable. 

Submittable and Blackbaud Grantmaking are both popular platforms relied upon by grantmakers of all sizes to manage their grantmaking process from start to finish: from collecting applications, through collaborative review, to reporting on impact. 

However, there are clear distinctions between the products that those seeking an alternative to Blackbaud Grantmaking should take into careful consideration. If you’re comparing Submittable to Blackbaud Grantmaking, here’s everything you need to know.

Get everything you’re looking for

While both products offer some of the same core functionality, there are some key benefits that distinguish Submittable: from achieving everything in one platform, to the flexibility to use your preferred browser, to facilitating faster launches. 

SubmittableBlackbaud Grantmaking
Single product, out-of-the-box solutionX
Ease of use more highly ratedX
Faster time to launchX
Self-serve customization of response templates and forms (no IT or support needed)X
Data hosted by Amazon Web Services secure environmentX
Available on any browserX
Ability to duplicate formsX
Ability to take bulk actionsX
Real time collaboration for applicantsX
Gallery display and voting toolsX
Customer support more highly rated and available to applicantsX
Eligibility quizzes
Online application forms with many question types
Pull data directly from Candid (formerly Guidestar)
Branded portals
Accept file attachments
Customized review processes
Search and filter tools
In-app communication
Automated reminders and notifications
Reports and dashboards
In-application funds distributionXX

Top reasons to choose Submittable over Blackbaud Grantmaking

These top differentiators may help you determine whether Submittable is the best solution for your organization.

1. Submittable is a single, out-of-the-box solution

Submittable has been around for over a decade. Over that time, we’ve added an arsenal of new features to the solution, from advanced reporting, to in-app communication, to real time collaboration for applicants. All of these abilities are available to Submittable users within the single, comprehensive, easy-to-use Submittable platform.

By contrast, the Blackbaud solution has evolved over the years to encompass a suite of 34 separate and distinct products, of which Blackbaud Grantmaking is one. 

For organizations deeply integrated with the Blackbaud suite of products—and with the budget to add another of their products to their entourage of business applications—Blackbaud Grantmaking may be the right choice. 

As one reviewer put it on the software review site G2: 

“I would recommend the software, but only if your organization already uses Blackbaud products.”  

Certain key functions, like reporting and gathering follow up data from applicants, happens outside of Blackbaud Grantmaking—in a product called Blackbaud Outcomes. Direct payment of funds, similarly, is not possible within Blackbaud Grantmaking without an integration with yet another product, Blackbaud Financial Edge. 

Indeed, even for those organizations which have purchased a number of Blackbaud solutions, the clunky integration between their own products has been a point of frustration. 

As one reviewer put it on the software review site Capterra: 

“I’m still frustrated at the lack of integration between Blackbaud’s suite of products.”

Submittable offers integrations with major CRMs such as Salesforce, as well as integrations with accounting software, fundraising software, and hundreds of other major business applications. 

So you have the flexibility to work with the solutions your organization already uses, and you’re not locked-in to Blackbaud’s ecosystem of products, which don’t always have a seamless relationship.

An out-of-the-box solution like Submittable has benefits for your bottom line, too. Submittable is rated more highly for Value for Money on the software review site Capterra (4.7, vs. 3 for Blackbaud Grantmaking).

Value for Money rating comparing Submittable with Blackbaud Grantmaking on Capterra

2. Submittable is easier to use

We often hear from customers that choose Submittable over Blackbaud Grantmaking that the intuitiveness of the platform was a key piece of the decision-making process. 

As a reviewer on the software site TrustRadius put it: 

“Because [Blackbaud] is so complex it is not very intuitive to learn at the beginning—trying to align our workflow with the modules was challenging.”

Contrast that with Submittable: Remaining accessible to the less-than-tech-savvy among us is a central focus of our design and product teams. As the product has evolved, our north star has always been to make a product that can do complex things without ever being complex itself. 

“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

This difference in ease of use between the platforms may be partly attributable to Blackbaud Grantmaking’s complicated automated workflows. Some customers may not mind investing extra time, energy, and resources into learning and implementing such a platform. For those customers, Blackbaud Grantmaking may be a better fit. 

Submittable is far more highly rated for Ease of Use on software review sites G2 (9.2 for Submittable to 6.5 for Blackbaud Grantmaking) and Capterra (4.7 for Submittable to 3.5 for Blackbaud Grantmaking).

Ease of Use rating comparing Submittable with Blackbaud Grantmaking on G2
Ease of Use rating comparing Submittable with Blackbaud Grantmaking on Capterra

3. Submittable can launch a new program more quickly

Thanks to having an all-in-one, easy-to-use solution, Submittable also boasts a faster time-to-launch than Blackbaud Grantmaking, even for organizations launching new, robust granting programs. 

With just a single software purchase, Submittable has you ready to go, from collection and communicating to funds tracking and reporting on impact.

Since it’s so easy to use, customers can create forms and workflows and launch new applications quickly. In fact:

Submittable’s average customer time-to-launch is only six days after signing up. 

Want to see for yourself?

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

Even large organizations, with complex needs and anticipating thousands of applications, can benefit from the fastest available time to launch on a grant management solution. 

As a case in point, in light of COVID-19, hundreds of grantmakers flocked to Submittable to launch brand new emergency grants quickly. The State of Montana, for example, was looking for a way to distribute 1.25 billion in CARES act dollars as quickly as possible to help businesses that were hurting. With careful organization, Submittable had them up and running smoothly in a matter of weeks. 

As Senior Budget Analyst Angie Nelson at the State of Montana put it: 

“I’ve worked with different application softwares over the years for both grant management and for other purposes in the office. Submittable provides quick turnaround when you can edit your own forms—and it doesn’t require a lot of training to learn how to do that.” 

Angie Nelson, Senior Budget Analyst, State of Montana

Submittable was awarded Fastest Implementation for Grant Management Software, Spring 2020, by G2

In some instances, the ability to launch a new program swiftly is unnecessary. Some organizations have plenty of time for extensive planning, and aren’t concerned with the ability to get a new program out the door quickly or to meet an emergency need. However, the flexibility to be able to respond to an evolving situation with agility and speed has been a key differentiator to many Submittable customers. 

In Spring 2020, Submittable was awarded the Fastest Implementation award for grant management software by G2.

4. Submittable offers self-service customization

Editing forms and personalizing response templates for sending messages in Submittable are straightforward processes that users can undertake at any point in their process on their own. 

By contrast, with Blackbaud Grantmaking, these customizations must be performed by Blackbaud’s customer service team. 

As one reviewer put it on the software review site G2:

“It was very frustrating that if we wanted anything customized, we couldn’t do that ourselves.” 

The agility of the Submittable platform to allow for changes once a program is underway is something that many grantmakers prize highly. 

“For this, we just really knew that we needed to be able to be flexible, both concerning the backend and then also with how we’re running the process. We wanted to build it with the ability to be iterative as we went along.”

Brian McGuigan, Program Director of Artist Trust 

If you’d like to learn as you go and make easy changes as needed, the ability to do so on your own, in the moment, without relying on a customer service team, could be a key consideration. 

5. Submittable has best-in-class security

Submittable data is hosted exclusively with Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

All Submittable data is encrypted at rest as well as in transit between our VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) and our end users. 

Submittable is also GDPR, HIPAA and FERPA compliant, as well as SOC 2 Type 2 certified.

Blackbaud is a self-hosted cloud solutions vendor. In February 2020, their self-hosted environment was attacked by cyber criminals. Blackbaud’s Form 8-K filing with the SEC revealed that: 

“…for some of the notified customers, the cybercriminal may have accessed some unencrypted fields intended for bank account information, social security numbers, usernames and/or passwords.”

6. Submittable offers browser flexibility

Submittable is compatible with all major browsers across all major devices. 

For years, Blackbaud Grantmaking has only been compatible with Internet Explorer 11. While their product team has pledged that the new SKY view of Blackbaud Grantmaking will be available for many functions across all browsers and devices in November 2020, they have also clarified that administrative functionalities will continue to be restricted to Internet Explorer 11 well into 2021.

7. Submittable allows for form duplication and bulk actions

Submittable offers customers the ability to take bulk actions and duplicate forms: major time-saving tools that Submittable customers love and rely on. 

“Building applications is so much easier now. Before, we were building everything from scratch, but now we have forms we can duplicate and revise as we see fit or as we need to.”

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

Blackbaud Grantmaking does not support these time-saving actions. 

8. Submittable offers real-time applicant collaboration

Submittable also offers the ability for applicants to collaborate in real time on a form with each other. They can simply invite collaborators to join the application, and see real-time field presence, just like Google documents. This is a valuable tool for when grantees must manage an application among a remote team. 

Blackbaud Grantmaking does not offer a similar real-time applicant collaboration tool. 

“The collaborative tools in Submittable are invaluable.”

Kate McNair, Teen Services Coordinating Librarian, Elementia 

9. Submittable can display submissions in a visual online gallery

With Gallery, photos or videos from submissions automatically populate a visually engaging online gallery. Visitors to the gallery can browse among submissions to learn more, and optionally vote on entries. The Gallery feature is a great way to evaluate applications visually or to share testimonials of grantees with funders after the grant cycle has completed.

Blackbaud Grantmaking does not have a comparable Gallery feature. 

10. Submittable provides fantastic customer service

At Submittable, we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service, from sales to implementation to customer support. 

We receive lots of positive feedback, like this:  

“The team behind Submittable has made working with them an absolute pleasure and has helped us to put our focus on addressing community needs versus trying to figure out complicated software! It’s been great.”

Steve Pratt, CEO United Way Chatham-Kent

Steve Pratt, CEO United Way Chatham-Kent

Unlike Blackbaud Grantmaking, Submittable provides customer support not only to our customers creating grant opportunities, but also to their applicants alike. 

“[With Submittable] we spend significantly less time assisting applicants and users with technical questions/issues.”

Laura Cales, Program Coordinator, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation

Submittable also has a robust, easily searchable self-service Help Center, with over a dozen video tutorials. One reviewer of Blackbaud Grantmaking on G2 stated, 

“Accessing [Blackbaud Grantmaking] training or how-to videos can be difficult.”

Submittable has earned considerably higher customer support scores on both Capterra (4.9, vs. 4.0 for Blackbaud Grantmaking) and G2 (9.3, vs. 6.5 for Blackbaud Grantmaking).

Customer Support rating comparing Submittable with Blackbaud Grantmaking on Capterra
Quality of Support rating comparing Blackbaud Grantmaking with Submittable on G2

Learn more about Submittable

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

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—learn about her practice here: