5 Considerations for a foundationConnect Transition
Salesforce plans to sunset its foundationConnect platform by January 2026, leaving many grantmakers to search for a new grants management system.
To its credit, Salesforce gave customers ample time to prepare. But that doesn’t mean anxiety isn’t running high. Anyone who’s been down this road knows that it takes time to find, vet, and migrate to a new GMS. Which is why some funders have already started the process.
If you are among them, take heart. A transition to a new GMS does not have to be daunting. On the plus side, it’s a great opportunity to take a step back, evaluate your grantmaking processes, and discover new tools and solutions that can address unmet needs.
With that in mind, here are five factors to consider as your search gets underway.
Find a system purpose-built for foundations like yours
Grants management systems that try to do many things for many types of grantmakers rarely excel at delivering what matters most to your organization. If you’re a private or independent foundation, look for a grants management system that specializes in working with those types of funders. There’s a good chance you will benefit not just from their software, but from the community of clients they work with.
Given the likelihood of moving to a system that you will use for many years to come, consider the features you may need down the road. If you choose a solution that’s purpose-built for organizations like yours, there’s a higher likelihood it will be able to meet those needs in the future.
Ensure a seamless transition to your new system
The solution you choose should have a streamlined and proven process to move you from foundationConnect to your new platform. Ask about the implementation process early on and confirm that the provider has a track record of helping foundations like yours make a smooth transition.
Some solutions are more complex than others and may require a third-party implementation consultant. While there are benefits to having an outside consultant, you’ll want to verify that the company you choose has its own implementation team to support you every step along the way. That expertise will also serve you well as changes need to be made post-implementation.
It’s also useful to ask newer clients about their implementation to learn from their experience. We’ve compiled a list of best practices for implementation that may be a good starting point for your research.
Choose a system that’s designed for ‘non-techies’
Complexity is not a grantmaker’s friend. Find a system that is simple to use, configure, and modify with no coding experience required. Beyond having a robust implementation process and team to guide you through the onboarding process, make sure everyone on your staff can use and modify the system regardless of their technical knowledge.
When systems require a third-party consultant for implementation, it could be a red flag. It may be a clue that the software requires more technical expertise than most foundations have on staff. Stick with a system that eliminates the need for technical know-how and allows you to concentrate on your grantmaking.
Focus on the grantee experience
A transition to a new system is not just a transition for your team. It’s also a major shift for your nonprofit partners. Find a solution that streamlines your work while also providing a positive experience to your grantees.
Today’s best-in-class grants management solutions place a premium on relationship management. They provide tools to capture and track interactions over the course of the grant lifecycle. They make it easy to engage with grantees in ways that foster trust and responsiveness. And they offer an easy-to-use grantee portal with robust tools for collaboration and communication.
Keep all your data in one system
Find a solution that allows your team to collaborate in one place. A GMS worth its sale should eliminate your reliance on spreadsheets for data and reports. It should have the tools you want not just for your grants manager, but your program officers, operations staff, executives, and board members.
If you find a solution not built to meet the needs of your program officers, for example, then you run the risk of a lot of their work and reporting taking place outside of a centralized system. This makes it likely that many reports, grantee interactions, and processes will exist on platforms or spreadsheets that only they have access to.
Yes, the official sunset date for foundationConnect is a ways off, but there’s no time like the present to start thinking about your transition plans. With these considerations in mind and ample time to prepare, you can set your foundation up for a seamless transition to a new solution – one that doesn’t just maintain your processes but strengthens them.
For more information about how GivingData can ease your transition away from foundationConnect, schedule a call with our team.
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