The Best Foundant Alternative: Foundant vs. Submittable

Both Foundant and Submittable make grant and submission management software for nonprofits, grantmakers, scholarship providers, and relief aid organizations. 

Submittable is best known for its easy-to-learn features and quick-to-implement solutions that have supported over 145,000 programs and 11,000 clients. 

Foundant is a deeply customizable solution, but you often need to engage their customer service to make changes on your behalf. This deep customization comes at the expense of ease-of-use.

Methodology: This analysis was compiled from publicly-available information on Foundant’s website (accessed January 23, 2024), news publications, independent software review sites, and other resources, as well as Submittable sources, including customer testimonials and data from Submittable’s annual customer survey. 

Capabilities at a glance: Foundant vs Submittable

Grant application collection and review
Funds tracking
Funds distribution
Set program live in days on your own 
Comprehensive reporting 

4 reasons people choose Submittable over Foundant

Submittable and Foundant both share many of the same functionalities to enrich your grant management solutions, so here’s a brief deep dive comparing the two to save you some time. The main points we will touch on are:

  1. Submittable is quick to launch
  2. Submittable is built on Microsoft Azure
  3. Submittable prioritizes agility
  4. Submittable is innovating through full-suite funds tracking and distribution

1. Submittable is quick to launch

Submittable is an intuitive, yet powerful plug-and-play solution that allows administrators to build their programs on their own and launch quickly. In fact, 75% of Submittable customers launch their program in two weeks or less. 

A stylized screenshot of Submittable's form builder with an mouse arrow dragging an email field to a blank form.

Foundant is just as powerful in some areas, but not as quick to launch. It often takes months to get your program up and running and you have to lean on IT personnel or customer support for help along the way.

While Submittable is intuitive enough to be self-serve, our implementation services are on-hand to help you move even faster. 98% of Submittable clients that used it would recommend our implementation services to get up and running quickly.

Part of what makes quick implementation possible is Submittable’s two-way API, which smoothly integrates with your existing tech stack. Our drag-and-drop form builder also has a role to play. It makes it easy to build accessible applications that are simple for your applicants to fill out. 

“Implementing this product was simple. It makes it seamless to use on the administrative end, and rarely do applicants have questions when applying. Having all data and messaging in one place is especially important so that multiple admins can access this easily.”

– Maggie M. Non-Profit Organization Management. (Submittable Customer)

Foundant is known for being a deeply customizable grants management solution popular among foundations soliciting applications from other organizations. This comes with a trade-off, though, where deep customization without a simple UI can create bottlenecks and frustration. According to Foundant users, these bottlenecks become an issue when you want to dig into reports or open up your applications to individuals.  

“It’s starting to feel like you need to be a techy to use some features, especially reporting.”

Joan S., Operations Manager NPO

“Issue we run into is when we accept applications from organizations as well as individuals, because the system is really only designed for organizations to apply.”

Beth N, NPO Executive Manager 

These issues contribute significantly to Foundant’s time-to-launch. You need to think through all the details before you launch, otherwise you’ll create a program that’s difficult to report on, or a program that’s not user-friendly for applicants.

Both Submittable and Foundant offer customizable solutions to meet your grant management needs. With Submittable you’ll launch and already have applications before you have learned how to build your application in Foundant.

2. Submittable is built on Microsoft Azure

Organizations need to be confident that data is secure on their chosen platform. Submittable is built on Microsoft Azure and Foundant is built on Amazon Web Services, both leading cloud software providers in consumer and data privacy. 

Submittable, and more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Azure to provide best-in-class security and compliance certifications.

Foundant is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the leading cloud computing providers. AWS is a good product, but many companies, such as Walmart, are choosing to forgo it due to its ties to Amazon. They’re going so far as to require their tech providers to build services on Azure or other AWS rivals.

Because we’re building Submittable on Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud Defender service secures and protects your data privacy against emerging threats. This security combined with Microsoft’s lead in AI development and its ecosystem of business technology makes Azure a uniquely future-proof cloud computing provider.

Foundant’s use of AWS also features strong data security. But, again, the Amazon brand name can cause issues. AWS stores data on Amazon systems which can be an issue for companies like Target and Walmart as they remove themselves from the Amazon associated platform.

Submittable’s partnership with Microsoft allows us to work seamlessly with Microsoft products and give us an inside track on AI developments in a way tools built on AWS can’t match at the time of writing this piece.

3. Submittable prioritizes agility 

Submittable continues to innovate and act on our clients’ requests. You can see for yourself in our public roadmap and all throughout our website.

Foundant is also moving forward, but not in the same direction. Their clients indicate that their voices are not always heard and Foundant’s roadmap is not public.   

Submittable’s commitment to innovation allows you to run your social good program exactly as you intended with software that simply works as it should. We want to make it easier for foundations to do good through simplifying the processes that bog everyone down: assigning reviewers, creating forms, and getting approvals.

“Pretty much every Submittable feature is a lifesaver. The workflows, templates, ratings, comments, etc. It’s all very well thought out and makes collection and responding to submissions of any kind super easy. The ability to collect payment for contests or other submissions is also invaluable.”

– Marketing Director

Foundant offers a community forum named Compass that provides active customers with the opportunity to share their pain points and roadblocks with other active Foundant users. While it’s a great service, some foundant users note that customer feedback is often overlooked or disregarded. 

“The continuous improvement efforts can lead you to feel out of touch with functionality if you don’t have the time to attend very frequent webinars about the changes.”

Kristen, Grant Manager

We listen to the feedback of our customers because they are the ones doing the work. In fact, we meet with a select group of customers quarterly to get direct input. Their ideas on how to advance the platform to meet their needs not only advance their impact, but the impact of other programs we support. 

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 demo video.

4. Submittable’s automated full-suite funds tracking and distribution

Submittable offers full-service funds tracking and delivery tools. Program administrators can distribute payments directly to recipients with the click of a button all from within the platform. Along the way, you can report on your budgets, transactions, funds, and more.

Foundant also offers a tool that allows you to distribute or receive grant funding, however the process of accepting or distributing money is not automated like it is in Submittable. They focus on the funds accounting with automated balance sheets and tracking based on the inputs you add to the software instead.

Rather than writing checks and wrangling tedious paperwork, you have more time to focus on your important mission-driven work with Submittable.

 “Submittable is the only platform out there that can truly manage a grant from the beginning to the end without headaches and disorganization. We are so grateful for this program and it has saved us literally thousands of hours.”

Emily L. Vice President of Marketing & Promotions

If you need grant management software that allows you to track, manage, and disburse funds from one spot, Submittable is your best bet.

Learn more about Submittable

Want to learn more? Check out our other comparison articles or contact one of our product experts to see how Submittable can simplify and improve your application process. 

Molly Keller

Molly is a student at the University of Montana studying marketing and management information systems, and current marketing intern at Submittable. She is passionate about technology, the outdoors, and football.