How to Improve Digital Maturity – Strategies for Grantmakers

July 23, 2022

by Eve Heidemann

We recently surveyed nonprofits and social good organisations from across Australia and New Zealand to get a snapshot of the level of digital innovation and maturity in our sector. The resulting Status of Digital Maturity in ANZ: Benchmark Report discovered some interesting insights into digital transformation.

The level of digital maturity within foundations and other grantmaking organisations is highly varied, but proves to be a good indicator of how successful they are in adapting, growing, and innovating in this ever-changing world.

So how can you improve your organisation’s digital maturity?

1. Understand where you are at

First you’ll need to get a good understanding of your organisation’s digital maturity level. Without understanding your current state, you risk making high-cost, low-value decisions or investing in initiatives that your existing technology can’t support. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • What does your current tech stack look like, and does your staff have the skills to use the technologies to their full potential?
  • Are your current grant application and management processes mainly paper based, rely heavily on Microsoft Word and Excel, or are you using a mix of manual and automated methods to manage your grant programs?
  • How do you store your data?
  • What does reporting currently look like?
  • How do you manage risk?
  • Can you access the necessary systems and data remotely?

2. Talk to your stakeholders

Throughout your journey towards improving digital maturity, make sure to involve stakeholders from across the organisation. What needs do they have? What challenges do they face? How do these challenges impact others? What are the goals of the different stakeholders, and how do they line up with the overall business goals? Including your stakeholders early on creates strategic alignment, which will increase your chances of success.

Also, don’t forget to think about external stakeholders. What is the grantee experience like for example? Is it easy for donors to donate money to your organisation?

3. Develop your Vision

Now that you’ve established the digital benchmark of your organisation, and have a good understanding of the challenges and goals of the different stakeholders, it’s time to identify the business outcomes you want to achieve by growing your digital maturity, and how you’re planning to get there.

Do you want to save staff time with automated processes such as the ability to auto validate grant application data, and automated duplicate checks? Or are you looking to simplify the grant review process? Improve data accuracy and have a ‘ single source of truth’? Perhaps you want to streamline your grant program reporting? Are you looking for an end-to-end grants management system?

From working with your applicants and reviewing proposals to making awards, tracking progress, and more, make a list of processes and workflows that you can automate, streamline and make more efficient. What solutions will be able to make these improvements and work with your existing tech stack? How does the proposed solution meet the needs of your stakeholders?

Do your research, set clear, definable goals, and find a solution that meets your desired business outcomes. With the input of all relevant stakeholders, create a high-level scope document to get everyone on the same page, and establish a realistic timeline and budget.

Having a plan that strategically encourages automation and promotes collaboration among staff and stakeholders can be the catalyst you need to increase digital maturity at your grantmaking organisation. So you can be prepared for whatever lies ahead – from pandemic-related issues, to economic downturns to staff shortages or changing operating models.

Get practical insights and advice to expand your organisation’s digital skills. Watch this free webinar recording with grantmaking expert Justin Finighan from Finrea.

Watch the webinar

Instantly increase your digital maturity with a Grants Management System:

  • Streamline the many tasks performed daily by staff
  • Help get grants to recipients faster and with less effort
  • Position your organisation for future success.

We’ve put together a handy guide to help guide you in selecting the right Grants Management System.

Download the Guide