Grant, Contact & Organization Records: Organizations and contacts are tracked separately from grants in foundationConnect. Because it is built natively in Salesforce, it does not require an integration for contact management and provides some powerful and flexible relationship tracking capabilities. Many of these actions can be completed directly from Outlook, Office 365, and Gmail accounts, without having to log into the system.
Grants can be tracked by program cycles, board meeting dates, and categories. Foundations can collect and organize a great deal of data within organization and contact records using a variety of custom field types. This can include demographic and economic data about the organization and administrators can create sections within an organization record to group and organize this data. The system includes an integration with Candid to provide 501(c)(3) status checks using the GuideStar database, provided the foundation has a Candid account, but at this time it does not provide the ability to import demographic data from the organization’s profile.
foundationConnect allows foundations to manage grants made in multiple currencies. Administrators are able to set and update exchange rates within the system.
Grant Applications: foundationConnect uses Salesforce Communities to enable grantee portals through which individuals and organizations can create accounts, apply for grants, manage profiles, track payments, submit progress reports and other required documentation, and track outcomes.
When creating a new organization account, an applicant can save time and effort by auto-populating organization information using either the nonprofit’s tax identification or legal name via an integration with GuideStar. An administrator can decide how the system will handle duplicate registrations—either the system will not allow the creation of a duplicate organization or it will create a duplicate and alert the administrator who can decide whether to merge the duplicate accounts.
The system does provide a level of multilingual support for grantee portal users—applicants choose a language when logging into the portal, which will change the language that appears on system buttons and section headers but not the foundation-created content.
The portal can be customized with a foundation’s logo and colors, but application fonts and font sizes cannot be changed. Applications can incorporate third-party tools within iframes on separate tabs, such as e-signature tools and surveys. There is no auto-save capability in an application—applicants need to click “save” to move on to the next screen. Budgets can be uploaded as attachments or a grantmaker can build a budget framework for applicants to complete, which can later be used by the grantee in reports. Applicants can also upload other attachments to their application. The system facilitates collaboration on applications by allowing the applicant to add team members both within and outside the organization to work on the application.
Application Review: Salesforce Communities also provides foundations with the ability to create a portal for external reviewers to access and review grant applications. Reviewers can log into the portal to see reviews assigned to them and deadlines for the reviews. The system can collect and store information about reviewer conflicts of interest, but at this time this information cannot be integrated into review workflow. Administrators can allow reviewers to see scores and comments from other reviewers by providing visibility to reports. Administrators can also add permissions to reviewer profiles to provide them greater access to the system.
The system automatically notifies reviewers when they are assigned an application and supports multiple review workflows. Administrators can view numeric scores and report them as summary statistics.
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. Users are not able to see email performance metrics, such as delivery, open, and clickthrough rates.
A third-party app, such as S-Docs or Conga Composer, 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: foundationConnect includes strong support for payment tracking. Users can bulk create a payment schedule for a grant and make necessary adjustments on individual schedules or can define a schedule on a grant-by-grant basis. Payments can be split across programs and can be made contingent on the completion of a requirement. Foundations can track quid pro quo and in-kind payments. Payments can be exported to accounting software or foundations can integrate with their AP software. If a foundation needs to create paper check requests, this requires a third-party document creation app, such as S-Docs or Conga Composer.
Applicants can see a list of their scheduled payments and the status of payments on the grantee portal. They can also update their banking information to provide account and routing data for wire transfers—the system encrypts account and routing numbers.
The fC Budgeting module allows foundations to track budgets in hierarchically defined categories or program areas, run budget allocation reports that look at commitments and payment across a range of dates, and access the data required for forecasting and to predict cash flow needs.
Grant Requirements & Outcomes Evaluation: Administrators have the ability to define a default set of grant requirements that can apply to all grant opportunities, to grant opportunities within a specific program, or to specific grant opportunities. The system allows users to track which requirements grantees have met and grantees can track grant requirement deadlines and submit progress reports through the grantee portal.
The system includes a separate Outcomes module that allows users to define different narrative or quantitative outcomes that grantees can select during the application process and report on outcomes across a portfolio. Users can create impact dashboards that show all outcomes across grants and programs.
System Querying & Reporting: The global search bar at the top of all screens returns results from across the system separated into record types. While it can search the titles of files uploaded to the system, it is not able to search the contents.
The system includes pre-packaged basic reports that users can run, modify, and save, as well as ad hoc reports that can include data from virtually any field in the system. Users can mark reports as favorites for easy access and can also create numerous data visualizations that can be placed on dashboards.
Security, Permissions, & Data Access: Administrators have granular control to grant, limit, or restrict user access—not only to a wide variety of system functions, but also on a field-by-field basis. 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 and a separate product will allow foundations to retain this information for 10 years.
System data is encrypted in transit; however, data at rest is not automatically encrypted. Foundations can encrypt specific fields that need increased security, such as bank account or routing numbers. Integration is available to provide a virus scan for file uploads, but this is not included in the core system subscription.
User Experience: The interface for the system is polished and neatly laid out. Most of the screens are similar to the core Salesforce user experience. There is a great deal of power and flexibility in the system for power users, but users who are not familiar with Salesforce or not as comfortable with technology may need training to develop a level of comfort with the system. The ability to build “flows,” or step-by-step screens that walk users through specific tasks or processes, can help with the comfort level of more casual users.
The system is designed responsively and Salesforce offers mobile and tablet apps. The administrative interface of foundationConnect is accessible to users with disabilities but the grantee and reviewer portals are not currently.
Support & Training: Salesforce implementation is provided through consulting partners who are also responsible for initial client training. The training costs vary per implementation partner. The vendor does not provide additional training. Salesforce provides a variety of technical support plans at different price points, but does not provide any technical support on the core system to grant applicants.
Stability in the Market
foundationConnect has been in use since 2009. The vendor reports that the software package has 155 active clients, with 78 of those being private or family foundation clients.
|Customer Experience Survey|
|Number of survey respondents who reported using the system: 25|
|Percent of survey respondents who would recommend the system: 88 percent|
|Training Score: n/a ( implementation and training is done by consulting partners; survey data collected in these categories cannot be aggregated.|
|Implementation Score: n/a ( implementation and training is done by consulting partners; survey data collected in these categories cannot be aggregated.|
|Support Score: 0.73|