System Print

WebGrants

WebGrants, created by Dulles Technology Partners, is a cloud-based grants management system that has been in use for nearly two decades with the majority of its client base in the government sector. The vendor’s work for government clients has led it to develop advanced workflow support, a strong security framework, and very granular access control. The system provides good support for foundations seeking to strengthen their ability to capture and report on grant activities and outcomes. The configuration of different types of records in the system allows grantmakers to easily find related records and view all interactions with an organization or contact. While the system does not offer separate portals for applicants or reviewers, role-based permissions allow administrators to define what these types of users see and the actions they can take when they log in. The software does not have any pre-built connections to or integrations with services that allow grantmakers to view or update organizations’ 501(c)(3) status, although the vendor notes that a client can request an integration (for an additional fee). The vendor has developed pre-built integrations with several types of accounting software and also provides access to an API to allow clients to extend system functionality…

Review

Grant, Contact & Organization Records: WebGrants provides solid support for tracking grants, organizations, and contacts. All three types of records are tracked separately and are connected so that it is easy to access related records and data across records. Users can track individual departments or business units within an organization and multiple contacts can be associated with an organization.

Grant records retain all system-generated letters and emails, but there is no ability to capture emails sent from external email software other than by manually entering it in a communications log. Users can also log other activities, such as phone calls and site visits, on grant records. Tasks can be assigned to users in the system either manually or via workflows and appear on a user’s dashboard.

Administrators can specify the names of fields displayed in the interface, define dropdown values for fields such as program or grant codes, and define custom categorization codes for tracking and reporting. The system supports the creation of a virtually unlimited number of custom fields to collect a wide range of data for grants, organizations, and contacts, including demographic data. As part of implementation, the WebGrants system is connected to the client’s cloud document storage system in order to store files attached to grant or organization records.

Grant Applications: The system provides numerous options that allow users to create applications and that facilitate the application process. Applicants log in to the administrative interface for the system and a pre-set role limits the elements that are visible to the applicant and defines the actions that are available to the applicant. The login page can be customized with the client’s logo and includes additional customized elements, such as announcements, videos, and links.

A first-time applicant can create an account in the system. If a person creates an account using an email address that is already in the system, WebGrants will allow the creation of the duplicate account but will notify an administrator of the potential duplicate. The system can auto-populate organization data in an application for applicants already in the system and applicants can copy answers from previous applications into new opportunities. While the system does not auto-save data entered into an application, applicants will receive a popup notification if they try to navigate away from a screen without saving or if the session timeout is approaching. The system facilitates collaboration on applications within an organization, and if two different organizations want to collaborate on a partnership application, a contact from one organization can be associated with the other organization to provide access to the application.

Applications can include a wide variety of question types, including dropdown menus, checkboxes, and text fields, and text can be customized with colors and fonts. Forms can have multiple sections and can include mathematical calculations that subtotal or total values entered into fields.

Application Review: The system includes solid support for a variety of review structures and workflows but does not offer a separate reviewer portal. Applications are assigned to either individual reviewers or to pre-set panels and reviewers receive an automatic notification that they have applications ready for review. Reviewers log in to the administrative interface for the system and a pre-set role limits the elements that are visible to the reviewer and the actions a reviewer can take. (Reviewers can be assigned additional system permissions, however, and that will increase the number of elements that show on the user’s dashboard at login.)

The system supports different information and scoring schemes for different programs and the ability to define multiple workflows for grant review processes. Reviewers have the ability to provide comments and ratings for each application and an administrator can allow reviewers to see other reviewers’ comments and scores. The numeric review scores can be aggregated and reported as summary statistics.

Communications: WebGrants supports both email and letter communications, with the ability to create letter and electronic templates that include both standard text and merge data, as well as attachments. A user can email either individuals or groups. Email is delivered through the WebGrants system and the vendor reports it can integrate with Exchange if requested.

The ad hoc reporting tool in the system can be used to create board dockets and the system’s role-based permission supports the creation of limited, read-only access that allows board members to access certain information, such as uploaded documents (which can be used to share meeting agendas and other materials), reports, and grant statuses.

Payments & Budgeting: Users can define either a default payment schedule that is applied to all grants with the dates and amounts adjusted manually or create payment schedules on a grant-by-grant basis. Grants can be made contingent on a specified grant requirement and payment approval is held until the requirement is completed. Users can also void payments and place payments on hold. The system supports an automated payment approval process with configurable workflow steps. Users can see upcoming scheduled payments and whether the grantee has met the requirements linked with that payment and grantees can view the payment schedule for their awards online. Payment data can be exported to accounting software and the vendor reports that it has experience integrating WebGrants with numerous financial systems. The system can also facilitate the creation of paper check requests for an individual grant or batch of grants. Payment records can include user notes and details such as the date paid and check number. Users can generate a report of payments made and scheduled to be paid out in a given year and pull reports on payments that carry coding attributes of associated requests, organizations, and contacts.

The system supports the ability to track program budgets within hierarchical categories and by the amount available, awarded, or paid in a particular year. Grants can be split across more than one program for budgeting purposes. Program budgets can also be mapped to their entries in the finance system to ensure changes are reflected in both systems. Budget and payment data can be included in ad hoc reports that a user can download to Excel for forecasting purposes.

Grant Requirements & Outcomes Evaluation: WebGrants provides advanced support for collecting and evaluating outcomes data. Administrators can define a set of grant requirements that apply to all grant opportunities or can define requirements by program or grant opportunity. Grantees can track grant requirements and submit progress reports online, with the system automatically calculating progress toward identified goals. Users can see both the original outcome goals and grantee responses from progress reports on the same screen. The system can aggregate outcome data, including demographic and economic data, for reporting across program and across all grantees.

System Querying & Reporting: Users can access a universal search that retrieves results from all data fields in the system but the search does not index the content of files uploaded to the system. The system includes a variety of standard reports that users can filter, sort, subtotal, and hide columns, as well as a robust ad hoc reporting tool that can draw data from fields throughout the system. Users cannot display report data as graphs or charts, but report data can be exported to Excel or data visualization tools for more advanced manipulation. Reports cannot be scheduled to run automatically and sent to individuals or groups.

Security, Permissions, & Data Access: Administrators have a granular control in granting, limiting, and restricting user access to areas of the system, with more than 100 system privileges available. A variety of login security measures are available, from password complexity rules to two-factor authentication. Single Sign On integration is also available.

The system is cloud-based, with each client instance housed on a virtual private server rather than a shared server, and with end-to-end encryption of data. All file uploads are scanned for viruses and malicious code and data is backed up nightly, with disaster recovery services available. Administrators can extract all data stored within the system and can define who has the ability to extract information from the system.

The vendor has experience developing integrations with third-party tools and also provides clients with access to an API that allows them to extend system functionality with additional integrations.

User Experience: The layout and design of the software should feel familiar to individuals who have experience working in databases, but more casual users might find the screens dense and the font small. Role-based access to the system allows administrators to set up simplified versions of the interface for different types of users to mitigate this concern. Primary navigation is separated into modules and clearly labeled, with secondary navigation nested beneath. Contextual navigation appears in a tab-like format in some modules of the system, but some of these labels are truncated and it’s not immediately clear what they represent.

Action buttons are clearly labeled and appear in several different colors but they are the same colors and shapes as status or taxonomic labels.

The current system is not optimized to appear across a variety of devices, but the vendor reports that the design of the of the new system will be fully responsive. The vendor reports that the software is Section 508 compliant and fully accessible to users with disabilities.

Support & Training: All staff members at a client organization are eligible for initial training as part of the implementation agreement. Additional training is available for a fee. Clients are able to access support for any reason under the vendor’s maintenance and support plan. Applicants and grantees who are having trouble with the system are able to call with support issues if the client is unable to resolve the problem.

Stability in the Market

WebGrants has been in use since 2001. The vendor reports that the software package has more than 50 active clients, with fewer than 10 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: 70 percent
Training Score: 0.87
Implementation Score: 0.83
Support Score: 0.59