Grant, Contact & Organization Records: Applications and grants within each process are connected to organization and contact records, which all contain the organizations’ and individuals’ request histories. While a foundation can associate multiple contacts with an organization and even mark contacts as inactive but retain their data, the system does not provide the native ability to track departments within an organization and would require the use of a custom field to do so.
Users have the ability to add custom fields to organization and user records to track codes or other information, such as demographic data. These custom fields can be restricted to internal users only or be applicant-facing and can be used for reporting. Users can also upload documents to organization and contact records and preview their contents without leaving the system. Administrators can assign tasks to board members or reviewers in the system, or this can be done through workflows.
Foundant’s Candid integration provides all system users with access to GuideStar for Grant Applications and Charity Check. Users can auto-populate organizational data and nonprofit status from the GuideStar database, but at this time, the system does not pull in any of the database’s demographic information. (The vendor reports that adding demographic information is on the roadmap for 2020.)
Grant Applications: The system provides good support for online applications and applicants. Applications can be customized with logos and font colors and sizes, but they display as one long screen rather than being broken up into sections. Application fields auto save every 100 characters and when moving from question to question. The system facilitates collaboration by allowing the request owner to invite individuals within the same organization or outside it to have access to the application and determine their permissions (e.g. read-only, edit). By default, other contacts associated with the organization in the system have access to view an application, but they have to be invited by the request owner in order to be able to edit.
Applicants can auto-populate organization data in their applications via the GuideStar for Grant Applications integration. Foundations that subscribe to Foundant’s Advanced package also have the ability to allow applicants to easily copy answers from previous applications into new applications. Administrators can also manually enter grant applications submitted offline into the system.
Foundant supports Letters of Intent and applications within all packages, but only Advanced package users have the ability to create eligibility quizzes and include branching logic in applications. Eligibility quizzes can also branch to multiple applications.
The applicant portal does provide multiple language support via an integration with Google Translate. Administrators can also build forms in a variety of languages, including languages with non-English characters and non-Latin alphabets, but the buttons on the forms will still display in English.
Application Review: The system includes solid support for a variety of review structures and workflows, but does not offer a separate reviewer portal. Reviewers log in to the administrative interface for the system, and a pre-set role limits the elements that are visible to the reviewer. (Reviewers can be assigned additional system permissions, however, and that will increase the number of elements that show on the user’s dashboard at log in.)
Administrators can define a default format for grant application summaries, define different information or scoring schemes for different programs, and allow reviewers to see each other’s comments and scores. Dashboards include a roll up of review scores for an application and administrators can report scores as summary statistics.
The system supports multiple workflows for grants review processes. While administrators have the ability to configure workflows, the vendor reports that it works with clients during the sales process and implementation to identify processes that comprise a workflow, such as evaluation stages, reviewers, approvers, and more.
Communications: Users have the ability to create and send emails through the system to individuals and to groups and attach personalized files, and also to create email templates that use merge data from the system. The system also supports automated emails triggered by certain events. Sent emails are included on organization and contact records, and all emails can be viewed together in the "Email History” section of the system. Users can view bounce and open rate metrics for sent emails. Users can also create a wide variety of letters and documents that include merge data from the system. Letters can be printed individually or in batch and can be opened in Microsoft Word and personalized before being sent.
The system includes a “Trustee” or Board Member role out of the box, which allows foundations to use the system in a manner similar to a board portal. Document templates can be used to create grant summaries or board dockets and additional meeting documents (e.g. board agendas) can be uploaded to the system as well.
Payments & Budgeting: Foundant provides solid payment functionality and simple budget tracking. While there is no ability to define a default payment schedule that applies to all grants, administrators can define a payment schedule for each grant and also track non-monetary transactions, such as quid pro quo and in-kind payments. Grantees can view their payment schedules on the applicant portal. Payments can be made conditional on the completion of a requirement, but while the system will show the condition and whether or not it has been met, it does not automatically hold a payment to a grantee. Payment data can be exported to accounting software or an administrator can use document templates to create a check request. Adding payment info to a record can only be done manually, and there is no ability to update payment details and create payments in batch.
The budgeting module shows the amounts that are paid, committed, and available for all programs, as well as on a program-by-program basis. The system can also do basic forecasting via the payment tracking module by setting it to display future payments from payment schedules, and also through the reporting module.
Grant Requirements & Outcomes Evaluation: The system provides good support for assigning, collecting, and tracking grant requirements, such as progress reports, and solid support for evaluation efforts, provided the system is properly configured to collect and report the data. Administrators have the ability to define a default set of grant requirements by grant opportunity or program or for all grants and track which requirements grantees have met. Grantees can track deadlines and submit progress reports through the applicant portal and receive automated emails when items are close to being due and are past-due.
Follow-up documents, such as progress reports, can include fields pulled from the application in read-only format so that grantees and grant managers can view both the original stated outcomes and progress the grantee has made toward the goal. If the field with an outcome goal is set up in an application as a numerical field, an administrator can configure an ad hoc report that calculates progress toward program outcomes. Similarly, if an application is configured to collect demographic data, an administrator can use the reporting tool to use the data for evaluation purposes.
System Querying & Reporting: Foundant provides a solid reporting tool that provides flexibility for users seeking to use the data collected within the system. While there are some limitations to the search function—there is no universal search tool that returns results from all fields, only searches that are contextual to each area of the system, and the system does not index and search the contents of uploaded documents—users are still able to search for grants and applications by a number of criteria.
The system includes pre-packaged basic reports that users can modify and save, but there is no way to mark a report as a favorite or schedule a report to run automatically and be sent to individuals or groups. Ad hoc reports can include virtually any field in the system and can include charts and graphs, custom data columns, datasets, sorting, and grouping, but not logos and headers. In addition, ad hoc report data can be exported in Excel and .csv formats and Advanced package subscribers can save the data as a read-only API that can be used in business intelligence or data visualization tools, such as Google Data Studio.
Security, Permissions, & Data Access: With client data stored in multi-tenant databases, SOC 2 Type 1 compliant hosting, and end-to-end encryption of data both in transit and at rest, Foundant follows industry best practices for security. Administrators can enable two-factor authentication and specify password complexity requirements and users are automatically logged out from the system after a specified period of inactivity. At this time the system does not have the ability to integrate with Single Sign On, and the vendor reports that password complexity requirement functionality will soon be made available to clients. Documents that are uploaded to the system are stored in the Amazon Web Services cloud, but Foundant doesn’t provide any additional virus scan on upload. (The vendor reports that it is working on an additional virus scan solution to be implemented in 2020.)
The system comes with a set of default permissions separated into five roles. With the Standard and Advanced packages, administrators have access to a sixth “Grants Manager” role that, with the Advanced package, can be customized with a limited number of additional settings. Individuals in the system can be assigned multiple roles. Administrators have the ability to bulk-export all data points held in the system, with the exception of file uploads, which need to be downloaded individually.
User Experience: The system has a very clean design with clear labels and contrasting buttons and links. The font used on system screens is small. The system is responsively designed so it displays across a variety of devices. Users do not have the ability to customize their own dashboards, as dashboards and reports are the same for all users. The system has not been certified as Section 508-compliant, but the vendor reports that the software is developed according to industry best practices and there are no known conflicts with browsers that assist the visually impaired.
Support & Training: Administrator training for one individual is covered by a one-time implementation fee. Foundant provides an online learning community and also one-on-one coaching with the customer’s client success manager. Customers receive unlimited online, email, and phone support at no additional cost for the entire term of their contract.
Stability in the Market
Foundant has been in use since 2007. The vendor reports that the software package has more than 1,700 active clients, with 600 of those being private or family foundation clients.
|Customer Experience Survey|
|Number of survey respondents who reported using the system: 232|
|Percent of survey respondents who would recommend the system: 93.3 percent|
|Training Score: 0.96|
|Implementation Score: 0.95|
|Support Score: 0.94|