Speed for Need: How the Right Technology Partner Facilitates Urgency in Giving

As demands for tangible progress on urgent issues, such as social justice, the environment, and emergency relief, have amplified, grantmakers must evolve.

It’s no longer acceptable for clunky processes and burdensome protocols to cause delays in funding when community needs are so urgent. Your grantees can’t wait.

This urgency is felt across industries, from governments to foundations to corporations. And it spans crucial investments, from relief funding to community grants to climate or medical research. 

In short, funders need to be faster. And they need to pick up the pace across their grantmaking cycle, from program launch, through the review process, up to getting money into the hands of awardees. 

A faster process helps funders meet other goals as well—such as improving equity, reducing burden on applicants, maximizing operational efficiency, and getting a bigger return on investment.  

How can you, as a funder, meet this moment? It’s an enormous shift to make alone. But by choosing the right technology partner, you can unleash the true power of your organization. And keep up with the need. 

Here’s how partnering with Submittable can empower you to bring unprecedented speed to your grantmaking organization. 

Launch fast

Urgency in giving begins with launching a new program quickly. When a new crisis is unfolding, you need to be able to respond.

So much of this comes down to ease of use of your application platform—you don’t have time to waste fighting confusing software. 

Submittable doesn’t require any technical expertise. You’ll never be slowed down by your own IT department, or stuck in a queue waiting for another vendor’s custom implementation team’s schedule to accommodate you. 

Once I know what my questions are, I can design and launch an application within a day. Other platforms make me wait days, weeks, sometimes months just to get a first draft of the application.

Fernando Rojas, Program Manager, Japan ICU Foundation

Your Submittable program begins in an easy-to-use drag-and-drop form builder. 

Submittable’s drag and drop form builder is easy to use, even for the less-than-tech savvy among us. 

You don’t have to take our word for it, or even that one video’s. Submittable has an entire library of video tutorials available on our website where you can see for yourself. 

And we have a 4.7 out of 5 ease of use rating on the software review site Capterra.

With 100 reviews in total and counting, Submittable is rated a 4.7 out of 5 for ease of use on software review site Capterra.

Submittable is rated a 4.7 out of 5 for ease of use on Capterra.

You can also use all of Submittable’s capabilities without needing to know how to code. 

Two-thirds of Submittable customers describe it as “easy” or “very easy” to use (with only 4% saying it’s “not easy” to use, the rest choosing “somewhat easy”).

Finally, in 2021, 75% of Submittable customers launched their program in two weeks or less. 

We’re pretty confident that our competitors can’t say any of that. 

When you can easily create and launch a new program on your own, you’ll be poised to respond quickly to whatever circumstances demand—be that a climate emergency, an employee assistance program, or a new anti-racism effort. 

Be responsive

Traditionally, moving fast has not been a priority across philanthropy. But it is now—and while it’s an improvement in many ways, it also poses some new challenges.

It can mean skipping some steps—such as, for example, getting approval from several internal parties before going live—in favor of opening the opportunity sooner. You might not have had time to think of every little detail. Maybe you forgot to include an important eligibility screening question. Or made a mistake in your form logic. 

The good news is, with Submittable, these are easily solvable problems! It’s an agile, no-code software that you can edit yourself at any time—freeing you to move quickly, without the stress that one little mistake will doom your program. 

Submittable allows you to edit your form and guidelines yourself, with no need to wait for a response to a support ticket. And your edits go into effect immediately.

Submittable also lets your applicants edit their applications post-submission, at your discretion. This ensures you can gather any additional information you may have originally omitted. It also liberates your applicants to also move quickly in submitting their proposals.

When you do something of this volume and this speed, the ability to be flexible, to see how it rolls and to be able to respond, is essential.

Elisa Morimoto, Director of Operations at Music Forward

The ability to adapt also ensures you’ll run a stronger program and provide a better applicant experience. For instance, if you learn that applicants are confused by a certain question, you can reword it, or provide better instructions. You might also analyze your applicant pool to determine if you’re meeting your goals, such as around demographic diversity, and pivot as necessary.

Many of Submittable’s competitors lack this agility. 

Automate review

Smart technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have revolutionized review processes for programs receiving large volumes of applications.

Submittable’s Automated Review can: 

  • Extract and verify data: Automatically scan documents such as tax forms or identification. 
  • Correlate data: Validate data based on third-party databases such as online reviews or social media profiles.
  • Analyze media: Extract and validate information from images or video. 
  • Apply automated scoring: Perform calculations and apply scores based on custom-defined rubric criteria.

Without these automations, review can be slow and tedious work. Take, for example, a real Submittable customer example of a rental assistance program. 

The application collected social security cards to prove applicant identity, as well as two pay stubs to establish income, which determined eligibility. Reviewing and calculating all of this data manually would have taken hours for a single application. With Automated Review, the human toll is drastically reduced. 

When it comes to scoring narrative questions, Submittable’s Accelerated Review can help. Accelerated Review creates a model trained by your own review team to evaluate written response questions. It’s human-informed and human-supervised by you and your team, and is therefore not subject to the infamous biases of an unsupervised model. 

Accelerated Review does more than save you mountains of time. It also opens the door to including important qualitative questions which you otherwise might have been too time-crunched to include. Without this content, the richness of your applications could be reduced. 

These automation tools are customized for your needs. For instance, many customers prefer to use the tools to identify their top priority applications out of a larger pool—then, their team makes the final decisions. 

Regardless of your process, if you’re anticipating thousands of applications, consider how many hours could be saved by automating your review. 

Learn more about the emerging role of data science in philanthropy

Check out our on-demand webinar in partnership with the Technology Association of Grantmakers, Wellcome Trust, and Mission Measurement.

Outsource administration

Sometimes, what’s slowing you down isn’t program funding or the will to make a difference, fast—it’s staff. 

Governments are often constrained by limited staff resources. Corporations without a dedicated CSR team face the same challenge. Other organizations may simply find their employees stretched too thin to handle a new initiative—even if it’s really important.

In these instances, Submittable offers Project Management services. We can administer your program for you, according to your vision, while you retain decision-making power and full transparency and ownership.

Our team is both expert and experienced, so you can trust that your program will be launched not only fast, but well. We’ll work with you to ensure we’ll meet your goals, and we share your commitment to success. 

It’s been such a critical relationship from the beginning with Submittable.

Nurit Smith, Executive Director of Music Forward

When it comes to supporting your applicants, Submittable’s technical support is always available to answer your applicants’ technical questions. With Dedicated Campaign Support, however, we can also anticipate and answer any applicant or awardee questions about your program, as well as build you dedicated FAQ pages. We can even provide support in Spanish, as well as translation services to other languages. 

Disburse funds

It’s all well and good to launch your program quickly and make decisions fast. But what is your time to fund

If your goal is doing the most good as quickly as possible, then you need to be laser-focused on getting the money into the hands of your awardees as efficiently and reliably as possible.

Here, Submittable offers Funds Distribution. We partner with domestic and global financial institutions to disburse funding to your awardees on your behalf. It’s literally a click of a button for you—or, leave it to our project management team. 

Then, all your awardees need to do is provide their banking details securely to receive an electronic transfer in their preferred currency in as little as 48 hours.  

Our team swiftly disbursed over $300 million to 78,000 recipients in the first year of this product launch alone, and it’s been growing in reach ever since. 

Plus, not  dealing with banking details, red tape, and returned checks means your team will have much more time to focus on the mission at hand. 

Learn more about Submittable

This article is only a glimpse of Submittable’s full capabilities. Talk to an expert on our team about your program. We’d love to learn how Submittable can help it thrive. 

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.