Why Submittable? Data from Our Customer Survey

Submittable surveyed nearly 750 of our customers to hear about their experience on our platform. Here is what we learned. 

At Submittable, our goal is to create a product that can accomplish complex things, without ever being complex itself. Checking in with our users to hear about their experiences is a crucial step in our product development process: it’s how we learn where we’ve succeeded, where we can improve, and where we should go next to solve more problems. 

We are so grateful to our customers, 750 of whom generously gave their feedback in our recent customer survey. Our product team is now at work to bring some of those great ideas to life.

We also heard a lot about what’s been working, which we want to celebrate—such as:

  • Almost ⅔ of customers say Submittable helped them reach their goals around DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)
  • 93% of customers say Submittable saves them time (an average of 12 hours per week!)

Read on for more highlights from Submittable‘s 2021 customer survey.  

Saving time

93% of customers say Submittable saves them time.

We were delighted to see that Submittable saves our customers time throughout the lifecycle of their process. On average:

  • Submittable saves administrative teams 12 hours per week
  • Submittable saves review teams 32 hours per week

Submittable revolutionized our submissions system . . . sav[ing] us a whole day’s work a week (8 hours a week), and uncountable headaches in communication . . . That’s value.

Administrator in higher education

It matters. Every hour in the day that you don’t spend fighting a spreadsheet, your inbox, or on repetitive administrative tasks, is time you can refocus toward your organization’s important mission.

Submittable makes assigning subs, making decisions, and staying organized very easy so we can focus on the heart of running [our organization] instead of being bogged down in mundane administrative stuff.

Editor in publishing industry

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

2/3 of customers say Submittable helps them reach DEI goals

When it comes to reaching DEI goals, we found that Submittable helps in three primary ways: 

Running a more inclusive application process

Many users employ strategies within the product to create an inclusive process, while others pointed out that running a call for applications on Submittable opens the door to a more diverse pool of applicants. 

We’ve been able to shift the ways we ask questions about demographics to be more comprehensive and more inclusive.

Assistant Program Manager at a foundation 

Running a more objective review process

One strategy users rely on to run a more objective review process is recruiting a more diverse review board, thanks to a remote process that isn’t limited by geography or hours of the day. 

People who worked outside “normal” 9-5 hours could participate and read [submissions]. No one had to travel.

Marcia Hurlow, Vice President at Whispering Prairie Press

Another customer favorite is the ability to hide personally-identifying applicant data to avoid bias in the review process.

The blind review process helped us to create a very diverse Annual Conference slate of presenters.

Administrator at an association 

Often, inclusive strategies on both the collection and review side of the platform work in tandem to produce better results. 

We receive submissions from all over the world, and the . . . reviewers choose to read these submissions without identifying information. The result is a diverse, dynamic array of [submissions].

Faculty Advisor in higher education

Creating opportunities specifically to meet DEI goals

Finally, we heard from many customers that leveraged the platform in order to create a new program or opportunity specifically to further their DEI goals. 

We created grants specifically related to DEI and used a Submittable form, and added DEI questions to our existing grant opportunities.

Janelle Mair, Vice President, Community Investment at Community Foundation for Muskegon County

In fact, as we recently shared in “2020: Our Year in Review,” customers created a total of 2,210 opportunities related to social justice, spanning from grants to creative calls, receiving a total of 204,960 submissions

*To learn more about how you can employ these same strategies on Submittable, be sure to check our bias and inclusivity resources, where you’ll find guides, articles, and webinars with step-by-step instructions.

Measuring results and impact 

86% of Submittable customers make achievements with Submittable's reporting tools

The actionable data customers collect and analyze with Submittable is the lifeblood of many programs. 

One major reason is that it allows customers to demonstrate impact to funders and other stakeholders, which makes it possible for programs to be sustained from year to year. 

We are able to . . . be responsive to our stakeholders through the reporting feature.

Business Advisor in higher education

Many organizations also leverage their data to find ways to continually improve upon their programs year over year—such as identifying under-represented applicants in demographic data, and finding new outreach strategies for the future. 

[The reporting] holds all parties accountable.

Certifying Official in higher education

Responding and adapting to COVID-19

Over half of Submittable customers say Submittable helped them respond or adapt to the pandemic

In an extraordinarily tough year, we at Submittable were inspired by the way so many of you used our platform to do incredible good—and honored to see that our software supported that work in the following ways:

Responding quickly to an emergency situation

Particularly for our grantmaking customers, responding to the pandemic meant being able to shift during an evolving situation fast. Providing desperately needed funding called upon grantmakers using Submittable to react with agility and responsiveness. 

[Submittable ] helped us remain flexible and nimble . . . which was crucial to meeting the needs of our community. Not sure how we could have turned on a dime without Submittable.

Kara Cody, Programs Director, Park City Education Foundation

Many organizations found themselves making grants for the first time in light of COVID-19. For these organizations, an easy yet robust process made a big difference.

This is the first time we have managed/administered a grantmaking program of such a large scale, with many different stakeholders and groups served. Submittable made it quick and easy to distribute funds to communities that were hardest hit by the pandemic.

Programs Manager at a cultural alliance

Shifting to running a fully remote program

Due to COVID-19, some organizations saw a need to shift certain in-person applications to fully remote processes.

Submittable allowed us to continue our program by having virtual auditions vs. in-person.

Administrator at a music organization

Other organizations used Submittable tools, such as the visual online Gallery feature, to get creative about hosting virtual events.

Submittable’s Gallery feature allowed us to present our competition online when it had previously been in person.

Coordinator in higher education

Facilitating collaboration and connection

Many organizations mentioned making even more use of Submittable’s in-app communication tools, such as messaging and notes, to collaborate with colleagues. 

Historically my co-founder and I met up three times a week and would pour through pitches and discuss them . . . syncing our schedules was difficult. The comment ability allowed us to leave lengthy thoughts and notes on every submission. It’s not the same thing as face to face but it was a great substitution.

Administrator in arts and entertainment industry

The pandemic left many of us stuck at home. Others found themselves in a new home, relocated permanently or temporarily, due to a variety of factors. For teams that ended up spreading out even further than before, Submittable helped.  

Our journal includes editors in multiple time-zones because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I myself have been working from Johannesburg, South Africa, with authors and colleagues mostly based in the United States. Submittable has helped us streamline what could have become an incredibly complicated workflow during this difficult time.

Administrator in publishing industry

Finally, Submittable provided a way for some customers to foster a sense of connection with their community, at a time when isolation and loneliness wreaked havoc on our collective well-being. 

We did a “My Home Library” essay/photo series for people sheltering in place . . . we wanted people to feel connected to the library while at home.

Administrator in arts and entertainment industry

Creating opportunities specific to COVID-19

As we shared here, our customers created 2,313 relief grants, distributing roughly $1.9 billion in much-needed funding. 

We were able to create an emergency relief fund for previous recipients of our grants and [Submittable] helped us quickly roll out the process.

Grants Program Manager at a foundation

We created a new grant program to assist organizations in need due to the pandemic. Submittable made the creation of the new program super easy!

Suzanne Germann, Grants & Easements Director, Landmarks Illinois  

Customers also saw an opportunity to use creativity as an outlet for fear and uncertainty, launching a total of 627 creative opportunities related to the pandemic and receiving 270,237 submissions.  

We could put out forms—for breaking poetry about COVID-19—in real time and reach writers who we hadn’t reached before.

Elle Aviv Newton, Editor-in-Chief, Poets Reading the News

The biggest benefits

95% of Submittable's customers have experienced great benefits

We are so thrilled to hear that for the vast majority of our customers, our platform is meeting (and usually exceeding) expectations. In fact, beyond the specific benefits listed above, we learned that 99% of customers are satisfied with their overall experience on Submittable.

We’re so glad that it’s been working. And as part of our commitment to our customers, we’re excited to keep iterating and inventing within the product, so that Submittable can become even more valuable. 

Partnering with you, Submittable can be a force for good. The easier it is to run programs, make smart decisions, and measure and improve on results, the greater your impact can be. We know that the majority of our clients are working to further social good through funding, recognition, and opportunities that reach millions of people around the world—making Submittable about much more than just software. 

Learn more about Submittable

If you’re just joining us, we’d love to learn more about your process and explore ways Submittable could help you save resources and increase your impact. Contact our team today. 

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.