Choosing a Grant Management System? We’ll be disappointed if you make the wrong choice and so might you be…

September 15, 2022

A simple philosophy that has been at the heart of Flexi-Grant® for many years is to “help people help people” and hopefully contribute to making the world a better place.  

We don’t apologise for being passionate about better grant making and a desire to work with organisations who share a similar ethos.  

But… we’re disappointed and have been for a while.  In spite of our efforts to promote better grant making and grant management best practice we are consistently seeing organisations taking ‘shortcuts’ in their system selection and procurement processes.  

We have always, and will always, respect our clients and prospective clients right to select whatever system they feel best meets their needs and supports their goals.  From time to time, we have even exited selections where we did not feel we were a good fit.  

So, why are we  particularly disappointed right now?   

Avoid poor Grant Management System selection processes

Well, increasingly we are seeing poorly structured or non-existent selection processes that don’t even consider what should be essential (basic?) criteria.  

Is it a reflection of purse strings being under pressure following Brexit and/or the Pandemic or the squeeze resulting from increased inflation and spiralling costs?  Maybe, but now more than ever organisations need to be disciplined in replacing and upgrading systems.  Effort in selection can reap rewards later.

Sour grapes? No, as a supplier we have always committed considerable effort to helping prospective clients make the right choice and even when we are not selected there is comfort in knowing the supplier has made every effort to ensure they have fully explored the options available to them.  

At least then we know they have made every effort to improve their grant giving and making the world a better place.

Yes, we’re always disappointed when we do not win an opportunity for which we are a good fit.  But, we  respect each organisation’s right to choose.  

So, what’s the  problem and what would we  like to see change?  Essentially, for us a lack of structure and discipline in systems selection translates to decreasing the likelihood of the selected system being a good long-term fit.  

If we are not going to put the right effort into picking something that should be at the heart of our business, then it is no better than a lucky dip.   

Be open to getting Grant Management System selection right

A well-structured selection and procurement process that takes into account essential criteria should be the foundation of any critical system selection.  

We would suggest in more than 50% of the opportunities in which we have recently engaged this is sadly lacking and when we express an interest in exploring what we would consider as important topics this can be met with a lack of interest and willingness to engage.  

At times it even feels we are seen as troublesome to be wanting to take the time to talk through and explore key requirements and topics.

We appreciate that smaller organisations might feel they do not have the capacity, and perhaps experience, to engage in a structured and protracted procurement exercise.  We would argue can you afford to get it wrong?  

Anyway, who says it needs to be protracted?  If this system is at the heart of your grant giving, do you not need to guarantee that it meets your requirements (assuming these are clearly defined!) and is built to last?  

If you are a large funder and you are not following a well-structured selection process in our  view, then there is no excuse – this is an opportunity wasted.

So, what can we do to help?  

Essential criteria for a Grant Management System (or any system)

Our goal is to “help people help people” and ensure that prospective clients have considered essential criteria as part of their system selection (and this also applies to far more than just grant making!).  

To illustrate, these criteria should include/consider, for example:

  • System security – is it regularly penetration tested?
  • Is the system’s technology stack future-proof? 
  • Is the supplier financially stable?
  • Is there evidence of high levels of customer support? 

Over the next few months, we will be releasing a series of guides and checklists to aid those looking for new systems better structure their procurement process and ensure all relevant selection criteria are properly considered and prioritised.  

Our guides and checklists will be offered free to any that are engaging in selecting a new system whether you invite us to participate or not.  

We are committed to making the world a better place and we want to see grants being made available and impacting where they will do the most good.  Whether you choose Flexi-Grant ® or not we want you to have made the right choice for your grant management system and know that the great work you do will be supported the way it needs to be.

Why not take the first step in choosing the right Grant Managment system and get in touch with the team at Flexigrant here

Keith Turkington
Grant Management Advocate 

About Flexi-Grant®

Flexi-Grant® is a leading cloud-based grant management platform designed for those funding life changing grants to both individuals and organisations. Its powerful features give grant givers the ability to build, score, review, report, and budget all in a secure and accessible platform.

Our team are a mix of grant managers, cybersecurity experts and hardcore engineers with a passion for sustainable software; get in touch now to find out more about Flexi-Grant’s truly cloud-based Grant Management platform.

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