You Shall (Not) Pass: Introducing Eligibility Screening


Submittable has introduced new tools which allow organizations to screen for an applicant’s eligibility based on their organization’s nonprofit status.

By inserting a screening stage ahead of an application form, the eligibility step diverts ineligible applicants while allowing eligible applicants to move forward immediately. This new feature gives grantmakers and others confidence that only eligible applicants will continue on to submit applications, and saves time for everyone.

eligibility form

How does the eligibility step work?

Eligibility screening harnesses the power of two new Submittable tools: Eligibility Forms, which utilize the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop Submittable form builder, and Charity Check, a new form field option that looks up an organization’s EIN number in real time in order to verify their eligibility based on their IRS subsection.

Organizations can:

  • Create an Eligibility Form. Design a form which applicants must fill out before continuing to your main application form, and add it to your Project.
  • Include guidelines. Let applicants know your eligibility criteria with a text only field.
  • Determine which IRS subsections are eligible. Use the Charity Check form field option to set the eligible IRS subsections which corresponds with your organization’s eligibility criteria.
  • Customize the ineligible message. We’ll provide a default message, but you can alter the text that ineligible applicants will see to reflect your preferred tone and content.

How will the eligibility step help me and my team?

Whether you are a foundation offering grants or a business with a corporate social responsibility program, eligibility screening will be helpful not only for your organization, but also for your applicants—whether or not they are determined eligible.

  • Get a more efficient process. By eliminating applications from ineligible organizations, you just saved your team the effort of reviewing those applications, determining that they are ineligible, and responding to applicants to let them know.
  • Focus on your mission. The time saved by avoiding ineligible applications can be repurposed on finding the right applicants and nurturing your relationship with them.
  • Be respectful of applicants’ time. Spending the time to fill out an application only to be told you’re ineligible can be frustrating. Show your community you value their time by saving them the effort of applying for an opportunity that they aren’t the right fit for.
  • Promote transparency. You can include guidelines or instructions, and customize the message that ineligible applicants will see, so that everyone understands the type of applicants you are looking for.
  • Rely on trusted data. We’ve partnered with Candid (formerly Guidestar) to provide IRS data based on an organization’s EIN number in real time, so you can be confident in your screening.

How can I add the eligibility step to my account?

These new tools are premium features that can be added to your account by contacting your account manager at

Also new from Submittable

We had quite a Q1! If you missed it, catch up on the host of new features released last quarter by watching our on-demand Product Roundup Webinar. Our chief product designer joins our product marketing team in conversation to discuss:

Watch the webinar, or contact your account manager to learn more about adding these features to your account.

Learn more about Submittable

New? Welcome! The eligibility step discussed in this article is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can achieve with Submittable. If you’re interesting in seeing more, why not watch a demo or get connected with an expert on our team? Thanks for visiting us.

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: