6 Easy Ways to Automate Your Grants Review Process

12/13/2018

No matter the nature of your funding opportunity, the review process can quickly become complicated and time consuming. When your organization is short on staff, time, or both, automation can help you streamline the review timeline. Here are six easy ways to automate your grants review process without compromising the results.

Filter Applications

Reviewing every single application at once can quickly become overwhelming, especially if your grant received a large number of submissions. With a digital grant management system, you can automatically group submissions together based on applicants’ answers. Filter out incomplete applications that aren’t yet ready for review, identify certain types of submissions with the same label, or group together applications from certain geographic regions.

With a digital grant system, the automatic filtering options are essentially endless. That means you can give your team the power to focus on what’s most important at the moment.

Assign Submissions

Assigning applications to reviewers manually can take significant time that you could devote to more skilled aspects of grant management instead. Rather than tackling assignments on a case-by-case basis, program your grant software to handle the process automatically.

Submittable lets you automatically assign incoming applications for a form to specific team members.

Total Scores

In many cases, reviewers will provide nuanced scores and commentary for each application. However, that doesn’t mean your team needs to evaluate every reviewer response manually.

In some cases, you can automate application review and scoring, generating scores based on reviewer responses. Save your team time by automating this step of the review process. Instead of tallying reviewer notes, you can see the automated totals and jump right to the best applicants, spending your time going deeper into those.

Protect Information

Many grant applications require candidates to provide sensitive information and other data that you may not want to distribute to your entire review team. Whether you’re concerned about managing sensitive data responsibly or you want to ensure that certain pieces of information don’t sway reviewers, you can protect certain parts of your grant applications automatically.

Need to confirm that your teams are conducting blind reviews? Software can automatically remove identifying information, such as candidate names and contact details, before distributing submissions to certain reviewers or teams.

Provide Reminders

Whether your grant application team is solely dedicated to reviewing submissions or your team members tackle a variety of tasks throughout the organization, everyone needs prompts to ensure that they don’t miss a key item on their to-do list.

With a digital grant management system, you don’t have to depend on the grant administrator to send out notifications. Instead, the system can automatically notify reviewers when new submissions are ready for consideration. You can easily customize this feature to increase the chances of team members completing reviews on time, too.

Generate Reports

Even when the review process ends and the recipients receive their funds, the grant management process is far from over. As organizations that regularly offer funding opportunities quickly learn, accurate reporting improves every stage of the grant life cycle, from pre-award to post-award.

With a digital grant management system, you can create reports automatically, tracking everything from single submissions and incomplete applications to batches of submissions and groups of low and high-quality candidates. When you automate the reporting process, you can quickly notice patterns among applicants and identify common themes. With this information in hand, you can share key insights with stakeholders, provide your public relations team with fascinating data, and even improve the grant review process in subsequent years.

Whether your organization is offering a one-time or a recurring funding opportunity, automation can accelerate the review process substantially. Implement these tips to streamline your organization’s grant review process while still achieving high-quality results.

Keriann Strickland

Keriann Strickland manages content and branding for Submittable's marketing team. She's a recovering journalist, mountain lover, and gifted spiller (and speller).