by Eric Jones, Director, Product Management

Philanthropy is a dynamic field where forward-thinking funders constantly evolve to more effectively support the work of their nonprofit partners. We’ve noticed a growing number moving faster to adopt new practices, streamline workflows, and greatly simplify their application and reporting processes for grantseekers. As the field evolves, so too must the technologies designed to support it. 

GivingData’s Payments and Approvals dashboards are a case in point. Both were initially designed to provide funders with real-time, aggregated grant and payment data in a user-friendly format. Our goal was to make it easy for grantmakers to get a high-level view of their grantmaking. 

But as the field evolved and grantmakers began to embrace more agile funding practices, we discovered that funders needed a more efficient way to strategically plan and budget for different scenarios. That was the impetus behind the design of our Scenario Planning tool, which was rolled out in 2016 to help funders eliminate “shadow spreadsheets” and run “what-if” planning scenarios directly within GivingData.

Personalize your dashboards

Early this year, we released a major upgrade to the Payments and Approvals dashboards and the Scenario Planning tool with the introduction of personalization. Now GivingData users can build customized payments and approvals dashboards based on their specific data needs and then conduct individualized scenario planning. 

 

New personalization feature makes it easy to create both private and customizable dashboards.

If you’re a foundation program officer, for example, you can now create a dashboard that only pulls in data related to your program area, or that shows grants assigned to you. With the integrated scenario planning tool, you can easily add new grant records based on those specific dashboard filters. By contrast, a grants manager can create dashboards that show all grants and payments across every stage of the grant lifecycle and get a comprehensive overview of the foundation’s entire portfolio. 

We’ve continued to make enhancements like these in response to valuable input from our users. Here are three that deserve special attention.  

Add custom fields to Scenario Planning

The first release of the Scenario Planning tool included a static set of fields to view and edit. Now you can build your own custom field set from a wide array of request-level fields, including custom fields and codes. With this added feature, you can further personalize your experience and edit more fields directly from within scenario planning.

A much broader range of additional fields can now be filtered and displayed in Scenario Planning.

Take Dashboard views to the next level

When creating a custom dashboard, you can now select a set of criteria by which to filter the data you want to display. The dashboard will show the data by any sub-codes of the selected code, or another code you choose. If the codes identified to display the data have sub-codes, you can click on the code to drill down to view the data by the codes below it. This is incredibly helpful for grantmakers that have multi-level program areas. 

 

View payment or grant amounts by Program Area and Payment/Grant Status.

 

Drill down feature displays to sub-program allocations in the same Dashboard.

Do more with the Budget Manager

With the release of version 5.0.1, you can add notes to specific budget line items and view them in either the Budget Manager or the Payments or Approvals dashboard. We have also added budget roll-up totals from sub-codes to ensure the different budgeting levels are accurate. 

Another powerful new feature is the ability to store both the approved budget amounts and any changes made to those budgets throughout the year. The changes are displayed both in percentages and in total dollar amounts. 

New budget features include Notes, Sub-code Budget Totals, and Tracking Budget Changes.

 

See these new dashboard features in action

For a deeper dive into these new features, check out our recent New Feature Review.