System Print

Amp Impact

Amp Impact by Vera Solutions is one of two grants management systems reviewed in this guide natively built on the Salesforce platform. Originally developed to help grantmakers measure and evaluate the impact of their grants programs, the system has evolved into a highly-configurable, full-featured grants management solution. Most of the vendor’s clients are outside the U.S. and the system provides a number of features to help global grantmakers, including multi-currency and multi-language support. The strengths of the system lie in Salesforce’s advanced relationship management tools and the ability to define and evaluate impacts, outcomes, and objectives. The outcome measurement tool allows foundations and grantees to easily define logical frameworks and to report on these measures at a variety of levels. The vendor recently released a robust risk management module developed in collaboration with funders and the Open Road Alliance that allows grantmakers to link risks to indicators or objectives, add risk assessments, and submit these assessments for review. These risks roll up to a grant or can be viewed across a foundation’s portfolio of grants to get a full view of the level of risk a foundation faces with its grant programs. Pricing is set up in a tiered approach…


Grant, Contact & Organization Records: Amp Impact combines solid grant tracking functionality with the robust CRM tools of Salesforce. Grants can be tracked in a variety of ways and linked to related records. Organization and contact records are Salesforce CRM objects and allow foundations to track individual business units within a larger organization, associate multiple contacts with an organization, and communicate with contacts according to their relationships with the grant or organization. All system-generated interactions are recorded for each grant and Salesforce’s deep integration with Outlook allows users to work with contacts, tasks, and more without having to log into the system.

Administrators can specify the names of fields displayed in the administrative interface, define dropdown values for fields such as grant codes, and collect and organize a great deal of additional data using a variety of custom field types. This can include demographic and economic data about the organization and administrators can create sections within records to group and organize the custom fields. The system taxonomy is set up during implementation. In addition, the system also comes pre-loaded with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to assist with monitoring outcomes.

At this time, the system does not include an integration to check an organization’s status against a registry of 501(c)(3) nonprofits, but the vendor reports that it has previously developed a similar custom plugin. Amp Impact does include Salesforce multi-currency support and allows administrators to set up and update exchange rates within the system.

Grant Applications: Individuals and organizations can apply for grants online via the applicant/grantee portal, which uses Salesforce Communities. Foundations can configure the look and feel of the community easily by using the Community Builder or adding their own CSS. New applicants can create accounts; the administrator can configure the system to notify applicants if their email address already exists in the system or to allow duplicate records that can be reviewed and merged.

Users can create a variety of different types of online forms via the Amp Impact Submissions functionality, including online applications, but there are a limited variety of question types, and advanced functionality such as branching is not yet available. Grantmakers can opt to use a tool such as FormAssembly from the Salesforce AppExchange for more robust application customization and functionality. The vendor also reports that it is developing a plugin to take advantage of Salesforce’s native features to provide additional out-of-the-box application management functionality.

The system allows collaboration on applications both among employees at the same organization and with external partners. Applicants have the option to fill out their budgets online or download an Excel template, fill it out, and upload it so that it populates the budget fields in the system. Amp Impact also uses Salesforce's multilingual capabilities to provide applicants with the ability to select a language when logging into the portal, which changes the language that appears on system buttons, field labels, and pick-list values, but not the foundation-created content or data. The vendor reports that it is developing a feature for release in 2020 that will allow both clients and grantees to view and export data in up to four languages. Grant, Contact & Organization Records Overall Section Rating S Grant Tracking S Organization Records S Contact Records A Relationship Management A Record Updates S Field Customization S Custom Fields S Attachments A Categorization B Demographic Data Collection S Task Management A 501(c)(3) Status N/A Currency Handling A

Application Review: As with the applicant/grantee portal, reviewer portals also use Salesforce Communities. When an administrator assigns a reviewer to an application, the reviewer will receive an email notification to log into the portal. On login, reviewers can view grant summaries and their assigned applications, download and print applications, access organization information if it has been shared with them, and provide comments and ratings. Additional system permissions can be assigned to reviewers to extend what they can see and do. They are not able to see other reviewer scores without custom configuration. The system supports the creation of different information and scoring schemes for different programs and multiple workflows for grant review processes. Administrators can view and report on the numeric review scores and see the results plotted on a radar chart.

Communications: The system allows users to send emails to individuals and groups and to attach files to those emails. The emails can use templates already set up in the system or users can save new templates based on emails they create. These templates can include merge fields and attachments.

A third-party app, such as S-Docs, Conga Composer, or DocuSign Gen, needs to be used to create letters and documents in the system, but these apps allow users to create templates and include merge fields.

Payments & Budgeting: The Amp Impact Disbursement feature allows users to define payment schedules—either for all grants with the ability to adjust amounts and dates or on a grant-by-grant basis. Grantees can view the payment schedule for their awards online through the grantee portal and provide banking information to allow wire transfers. Payments can be made contingent on a grant requirement and users can see upcoming scheduled payments and whether grantees have met the requirements linked with that payment. Configuration is needed to automatically hold payments based on requirements. Payments can be exported to accounting or the vendor can integrate with an accounting system to allow two-way exchange of data. Payments can include notes. Users can generate a report of payments made and the amount scheduled to be paid out in a given year.

The system allows foundations to track budgets in hierarchically defined categories or program areas and by either the amount available, awarded, or paid in a particular year. The Disbursement features does not natively include the ability to split grants across more than one program for budgeting purposes, but the vendor reports that this can be done via the Salesforce interface by using the Amp Impact Allocations feature. Users can predict cash flow needs for a specified time period with scheduled payment data and the system allows users to generate reports showing current year payments to date plus projections for anticipated payments for one grantee, for a program area, and for all grantees.

Grant Requirements & Outcomes Evaluation: Amp Impact has advanced tools for tracking requirements and evaluating outcomes. Grantees can track grant requirements associated with their award via the grantee portal and receive notification of missing requirements. The Amp Impact Submissions feature allows administrators to create progress reports that grantees can fill out online and the data from those reports can be used to assess progress toward grantee outcome goals. The system also provides both funders and grantees the ability to create work plans to track activities and milestones that can be visualized in an interactive Gantt chart.

Users can add indicators to a grant, either chosen from a catalog of previously defined indicators or custom-created. Applicants can choose which of these indicators to use when defining their grant outcomes or required indicators can be added automatically to a grant based on its thematic areas. The data related to these indicators can connect to foundation objectives or outcomes through a framework. The system also allows for the reporting of indicators as disaggregated data and allows the administrator to define which disaggregation group(s) to use. Outcomes can be analyzed at the grant and program levels and also across a foundation’s entire portfolio. Dashboards display progress toward outcomes using a variety of charts and graphs.

System Querying & Reporting: The system allows users to search for grants and applications by a number of criteria and view reports based on the filtered set of grants. There is a universal search bar at the top of the screen that can retrieve results from all data fields in the system. The system includes nearly 20 pre-packaged reports and users can favorite reports, add them to a folder of preferred reports, and also can drill down for more information on reports. Users can create, download, and save ad hoc reports that can include nearly any field in the system and these ad hoc reports can include custom data columns, sorting, grouping, and charts and graphs. Reports can be set to run automatically and be sent to users via email on a regular basis. Report data can be displayed on dashboards across the system and users with the appropriate permissions can create their own personalized dashboards.

Security, Permissions, & Data Access: Administrators have granular control to grant, limit, or restrict user access to a wide variety of system functions. The system includes password complexity rules and logs users out after a specified time of inactivity. Administrators can enable two-factor authentication for access to the administrative side of the system, and the system can also integrate with Single Sign On. Salesforce also offers an authentication app for mobile devices to provide additional security. The system retains full audit info for two years. All data stored within the database can be extracted by a system administrator.

The vendor has experience integrating with a variety of platforms and tools and clients can extend system functionality either through the Salesforce AppExchange, configuring their own Lightning Apps, or by developing a custom integration using specialized software or an API.

User Experience: The interface for the system is polished looking and will feel familiar to Salesforce users. Buttons and links are easily distinguishable from text. It does require some comfort with Salesforce, and casual users may find it daunting to navigate at first, but expert users can quickly find what they need and set sections up fairly easily. While the system works with screen readers for the visually impaired, it has not yet undergone an accessibility assessment and some pages may not be optimized for screen readers. The system is designed responsively to display across a variety of devices and Salesforce provides a mobile app as well.

Support & Training: Amp Impact provides several levels of support: Lite, Standard, and Premier. Premier support covers configuration service, user and data monitoring support, “how to” coaching, analytics support, implementation training, new release configuration services, and more, while Lite Support includes bug fixes, access to user guides, and release updates. Amp Impact support is also supplemented by Salesforce support.

Formal training sessions and resources are provided to every client during implementation. Vera Solutions develops both written and video documentation and provides a combination of in-person and remote training to build system administration capacity, and to transfer knowledge and system ownership. At the start of each engagement, Vera works with the client to determine the appropriate training model (e.g., “Train-the-Trainer” workshops, direct end-user training) and plan.

Stability in the Market

Amp Impact has been in use since 2017. The vendor reports that the software package has 43 active clients, with nine of those being private or family foundation clients.

Customer Experience Survey
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