Customer Stories > Asfari Foundation

Streamlining their Grant Management Solution

Moving their grant application process and management process online has improved their efficiency and administration to support their team and grantees.

The Context

The Asfari Foundation is a British grant-making charity set up by Ayman and Sawsan Asfari in 2006. The Foundation focuses its efforts in the Levant and UK.

Asfari wanted a complete Grant Management System and Partner Community to improve the efficiency of our grant giving, reporting/data analysis, and communication/ relationship building with our partners.

The Challenge

The organisation had a number of structural obstacles that Economic Change helped identify and address including;

  • The Asfari Foundation received hundreds of applications for funding each year from a diverse range of charities and civil society organisations
  • Each application needs to be assessed in detail to enable the Foundation to work with a small, key number of partners to advance its mission. The foundation also needs to monitor and learn from its funded activity to help drive the wider development of civil society
  • Before the project, applications were submitted as word or excel documents. The assessment process was time-consuming and it was difficult to obtain summary information on the type and location of funding requests.
  • Monitoring and reporting activity was done manually and multiple systems were needed to track an organization’s progress

The Solution

Economic Change implemented a number of Salesforce to address these challenges: 

  • Economic Change implemented its ‘Grant Exchange’ solution and used Form Assembly to build a suite of online forms linked directly to a core grantmaking custom architecture.
  • Automated assessment processes move each funding application through a clear process of due diligence, scoring and feedback to the organisations
  • A branded Customer Community for existing partners allows them to manage their grant, see payment schedules, milestones and submit progress reports on their activity to date
  • The community also allows collaboration between funded partners to discuss and contribute to learning across different programmes and countries
  • Integration with Docusign and Quickbooks allows the simplified automated management of grant agreements and payments

The thing I found unique about the partner was their personal touch and sensitivity to the specific needs of the project – working with them, both in-person and by video-call/phone (once COVID-19 had struck), was a pleasure. I was really impressed by their patience and willingness to go above and beyond to find solutions to our (often complex!) requests. They had a very good understanding of the needs and challenges facing an organisation of our size due to their own experience in the sector and having worked on similar projects previously.

Overall I must say I am very happy and impressed with how the project has turned out and would have no hesitation recommending this partner for similar projects in future. Thank you!

The Results

  • Applicants now have access to an online tool.  They can save and return to draft applications.  Once submitted they are automatically pulled through into Salesforce.

    Applicants mentioned that they found the new online application process  well structured, informative, and generally easy to use.

  • Asfari’s programmes team, senior staff and Trustees have live information on where their funding is most sought and for what. 

  • The visual overview of an applicants characteristics has already proved very useful.

  • Everything can be done on online forms and has saved a great deal of back and forth on email.

  • Collating information is much more straightforward and finding specific pieces of information such as historical grants is much more accessible.The grant cycle is much more consistent and fair with the online processes.

  • Enables a much more nuanced discussion about impact.

Overall it has generally saved time as all the information is located in one place and there is no need to go looking for it. Further time savers include:

  • Application data collected and stored in one place (organisation details, concept note, proposal, budget etc).
  • Ability to review application and score them based on rubrics with ease. In addition to having it stored on the system.
  • Ease of accessing information for team members to do their part in the vetting (i.e. screening).
  • Vetting organisations and recording the vetting meetings on the system as well.
  • Saving the environment with printing less paper!

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