System Print

Submittable

Submittable is an affordable, user-friendly tool that allows foundations to create online applications and forms, track submissions, facilitate reviews, and create reports. Since our 2016 report, the platform has added basic payment and budget tracking functionality along with enhancements to review functionality, messaging, and reporting, and the vendor reports additional enhancements being developed for release in 2020. Applications and other forms are easy to create, format, and assign to reviewers. The administrative interface for the system is simple and easy to learn, but the ability to customize this interface is limited. The level of system access for users is governed by five preset roles. Organizations only need one account in the system to apply for grants from any grantmaker using Submittable. The system only tracks grants and does not provide separate organization or contact records. Reviews can go through multiple workflow stages and can use a variety of scoring schemes. Users can record payments for grants that can be exported for use by finance departments and these payments roll up to high-level budgets entered into the system. Workarounds are required to schedule payments as installments, or make them contingent on completion of requirements. The system includes a variety of standard…

Review

Grant, Contact & Organization Records: Submittable provides solid grant-tracking abilities, but the lack of separate organization records means that a user would need to search and filter to find previous submissions or run a report to see an organization’s history with the foundation. Grant records include all system-generated emails and activity and provides a notes section to log communications such as phone calls or meetings with the applicant. Content in the record is collected via the online application and therefore can include a virtually unlimited number of custom fields that can be used for ad hoc reporting. Grant applications can include applicant-uploaded attachments that are stored in Submittable’s Amazon Web Services cloud and can be downloaded or previewed within the system. Grants may be filtered by program, by category, and by date submitted.

Administrators can assign tasks to users in the system manually or via workflow. User dashboards display specific submission data and are not customizable. At this time, Submittable does not have the ability to check an organization’s 501(c)(3) status, but the vendor reports that a GuideStar integration is in development and slated for release in 2020.

Grant Applications: Grant applicants can sign into the system to view and submit applications online using either their Google credentials or by creating a username and password. Once a user creates an account it will work for any organization using Submittable.

Administrators create application forms through a simple drag-and-drop interface. These forms can include a wide variety of field types, and can be customized with logos, colors, fonts, and navigation. Administrators can also create custom CSS to further control application display. Data entered into application forms is auto-saved every few seconds.

The system supports multiple application stages and forms can support eligibility questions that branch to different content on the application. The vendor reports that it is building more robust quiz functionality. At this time, in order for applicants to carry data from previous forms into a new one, the new form needs to be created as a secondary form to the previous one, which attaches the new form to the original application. Administrators do not have the ability to enter submissions received offline, but the vendor reports that it can offer a custom solution to import offline submissions for an additional fee.

Currently, the system does not allow multiple grantees within an organization to work on a single application unless they share a login, and does not support partnership applications where two or more organizations collaborate on a single grant. The vendor recently released a new feature called “collaborative drafts” to allow the primary applicant to invite other individuals to work on an application. Submittable does have multilingual support in a variety of languages for system buttons.

Application Review: Reviewers access the system via the administrative interface rather than through a reviewer portal, with their assigned roles governing what they can see in the system. Reviewers can read or print grant information and submit comments and scores online. Reviewers with the lowest permission level cannot see scores from other reviewers, but those with higher permission levels can. Notes and messages on grant applications can be shared with all reviewers. Reviewers are notified when an application is assigned to them, but the administrator does not receive notification when reviews are completed.

The system supports different scoring schemes for different programs and administrators can view the numeric scores and report on them as summary statistics. In addition, administrators can define multiple workflows for grant review processes.

Communications: Submittable allows email to be sent through the system to applicants or to the reviewers assigned to the application and also the sender to attach files to email. Administrators can also set up automated emails that are sent based on certain events. The system provides the ability to set up email templates that include standard text and mail merge data but does not support the creation of letters or other documents.

Payments & Budgeting: Since the publication of our 2016 report, Submittable has added in a “Funds” feature that enables an administrator to indicate awarded and paid amounts on submissions but does not trigger payments to be made. These payment amounts can be exported to a finance team, but payment details cannot be imported into the system. The system supports simple budgeting, with administrators setting up funds and payments rolling up to those funds. Payments can be split across funds but paying grants in installments requires a system workaround.

Grant Requirements & Outcomes Evaluation: Grantee progress reporting in the system is set up on a project level using the "additional forms" functionality. This provides online forms that allow grantees to submit required reports. Administrators can track which grantees have submitted required reports by running a report in the system. At this time there is no ability to aggregate and report on outcomes at a program level in the system.

System Querying & Reporting: The system provides a universal search to retrieve results from all data fields in the system but it is not able to search the contents of uploaded attachments. The system includes a set of standard reports as well as ad hoc reporting capability that can include nearly every field displayed to users. Ad hoc reports can include charts, graphs, and tables. Dashboard views are set by the system to display specific submission data and are not customizable.

Security, Permissions, & Data Access: System access is governed by five preset levels of permission. Increased login security is enabled with Single Sign On integration, which also provides administrators with the ability to enable two-factor authentication. Users are automatically logged out of the system after a specified time period of inactivity. System data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. The system uses standard Amazon Web Services protocols to protect against malicious code and does not provide additional virus scans for uploaded files. Submittable offers some pre-built integrations to extend system functionality and also has a public REST API for clients to build custom integrations.

User Experience: The user interface for Submittable is very clean and uncluttered. Text is readable and it is clear which elements are action buttons. The system is user-friendly and easy to learn, with drag-and-drop form and report creation. Key navigation elements run across the top of the screen while contextual navigation and related links are in a column on the left side. The system is responsively designed and does not have a mobile app. Submittable has a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and is designed to follow industry standards for accessibility.

Support & Training: Technical support is available via email, phone, and chat to all administrators on accounts and applicants also have access to support via email and chat. Submittable has an online Help Library for users and clients are invited to monthly training webinars, recordings of which are hosted on the Submittable website. User training can be provided through individual onboarding packages that are available for purchase and the vendor also offers additional supportive service packages for purchase.

Stability in the Market

Submittable has been in use since 2010. The vendor reports that the software package has more than 10,000 active clients, with more than 550 of those being private or family foundation clients.

Customer Experience Survey
Number of survey respondents who reported using the system: 5
Percent of survey respondents who would recommend the system: 90 percent
Training Score: 0.96
Implementation Score: 1.0
Support Score: 0.91