If your grantmaking lifecycle offers an online application, you already know how much easier and streamlined the experience can be for your applicants and your team. The grantseekers can access the form from anywhere; your team can evaluate each application with a good grants management software; and the entire lifecycle can be managed remotely.
However, an online application with a poor user experience can cause confusion and increase your reliance and hours spent on grantseeker support.
It’s important to keep grant support costs under control. Evaluators, grantseekers and other program stakeholders require support and guidance throughout the entire grant lifecycle and that’s no easy job.
So, how can you reduce operating costs for your grant program while improving the user experience? Keep reading to learn five actionable steps you can take to reduce support costs while delivering the best program experience.
Automate a qualifying round
“Can I apply for this funding opportunity?”
It’s likely a question your support team answers. A lot. Save time on the most common application (and pre-application) questions by creating a qualification round or eligibility quiz.
By creating a qualification process, you not only cut down on support requests about eligibility, but you also save time for your assessment team by reducing the number of applications that don’t meet basic requirements.
Establish clear and concise grant terms and conditions
When setting up your program’s terms and conditions, include everything your grantseekers need to know to apply. Make sure you cover:
- Timeline and deadlines
- Grant funds value (what’s in it for them)
- Application requirements
- Post-decision reporting requirements
- Your program goal and mission
Make it easy for your participants to find your terms and conditions and consider requiring them to read and agree to them before final submission.
Golden rule: Always put yourself in your applicants’ shoes.
Offer an easy and delightful user experience
Users expect better and better digital experiences. And you want to be able to offer it to them.
Improve your application experience by offering:
- Field validation with error messaging for phone numbers, email addresses make lives much easier for grantees and reduces the likelihood of having to reach out to them to correct typos.
- An option to save their application and come back to it. To improve your grantees’ experience, allow them to save and edit later their applications, view it any time they want, export it or even allow resubmissions for valuable applications.
- An easily digestible application. Make sure you also split your application form into multiple tabs or pages to help applicants follow the process easier.
Provide step-by-step guidance and support
Support applicants with help, tips and guidance at every stage of their submission to help them complete their applications with ease. This can be done in your grants system to save your human support team time! For example, in Good Grants, you can:
- Provide contextual information throughout the application form. Content blocks allow you the flexibility to provide instructions where you need it.
- Give help and hint test at the field or question-level to make sure each question is easily understood. You can also provide expectations or examples.
- Add videos and images to help your applicants through the process, easily available on content blocks across the platform for a richer experience.
Keep your grant program participants up to date
There’s no such thing as over-communicating with your grantseekers. Who doesn’t want to receive status updates about their application, especially when there’s such a high stake?
Make sure you notify your participants about what’s expected of them, what’s next and enable them to access their information easily.
Use email and text messages as often as possible and send them program updates so they won’t feel the need to reach out to you.
In conclusion, providing a great user experience for your grantseekers can cut down significantly on support and operational costs for your organisation. And using a grant management system such as Good Grants can help you achieve these results.