At Our Community, we’ve been working with grantmakers and grantseekers since the 1990s, and just over a decade ago we started to detect a wave of “grants rage” surging across the nation. Grantmakers were growing increasingly frustrated by the poor IT systems they were using to manage their grants (or by the fact that they didn’t have any IT systems at all), and grantseekers were frustrated too.
Grantmakers started to shift online but their tech managers didn't know how to do grantmaking, and grantmakers didn’t know how to instruct and supervise an efficient IT build.
The result was a proliferation of multiple systems of varying quality mushrooming up across the nation, each one coming at an enormous financial cost and ripping out money that would otherwise have been available for social programs. System updates were difficult and expensive. Grantmakers were becoming less efficient, rather than more. We were shocked and appalled by the waste.
So we built SmartyGrants. And a decade on we're proud that more than 360 government, business and corporate organisations use it to distribute their grants funding.
We’re still building. As well as constantly releasing new functionality to ensure the system helps users achieve maximum efficiency, we’re now also focusing on how we can help grantmakers become more effective. This involves a focus on outcomes, classification, data science and the use of visual tools. We’re excited by what’s to come.
The most recent innovations would have seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie when we first conceived the SmartyGrants idea. They include dashboards and maps that bring grants data to life, integration with third-party tools such as Outlook and Xero, and – an initiative I’m especially proud of – access to CLASSIE, which enables users to gain amazing insights into the social sector and grantmaking nationally.
One of our favourite things is when we get to meet system users (grantmakers and grantseekers) face-to-face through our annual grantmaking conference, our networking musters and our training sessions. This is where the real funding stories are shared and lessons learnt.
We cherish the relationship we've built with funders and we pledge to keep nurturing it in the decades to come.