Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Convenient Truth: 6 Reasons Why Your Grant Applications Need to Go Paperless

Running any organization or business seems to become a burden under the weight of paper. However, more and more organizations are embracing cloud computing as the future - especially in regards to their grant application processes.

Should your grant applications go paperless? We've compiled 6 reasons why you should start embracing the cloud:

1. Real-time access to information
There are numerous advantages to storing applications and applicant information with a cloud solution. Managing grant applications in an online environment allows your organization to have quicker and easier access should any requests for information arise.

Availability is not limited to one's office computer, as cloud storage offers access from your tablet, home computer, or smartphone (given the right permissions).

2. Ease of Storage
There's nothing convenient or time-efficient about thousands of applications spread across several different filing cabinets in different rooms.

Online application management requires no more space than a single desktop computer or server. Since SmartSimple has backup servers in place, you eliminate costs associated with lost or destroyed physical documents.

3. A Greener Planet
Conservation and protection of the environment is what began the paperless movement. Small actions made by organizations all over the world can make a huge difference in conserving our forests. If your organization wants to start making an impact - however small - moving away from paper is a truly effective place to start.

4. More Time, More Money
These might be the most obvious and immediate reasons to go paperless. Utilizing cloud storage effectively nulls the costs of paper, printer equipment and maintenance, ink cartridges, and toner.

With online application registration, your processes for application, review and approval can be completed as quickly as you wish. There’s no mail delivery system to act as a time-hogging middle man.

5. Security
A locked filing cabinet isn’t necessarily the most effective way to ensure your documents are secure. SmartSimple’s role-based GMS360° platform allows you to define levels of access for your grants system’s users. Additionally, data stored on our encrypted servers are securely housed in a SSAE 16 (SAS 70) data center.

6. It’s Easier – for Everyone Involved
Several organizational processes related to applications are made simpler and more efficient in a paperless environment. Reviewers and stakeholders can now be folded into the decision process much more organically, since all parties have same-time access to an application via the cloud.

Additionally, data entry and metrics based around applicants and their applications are easily available to your organization - cutting down on extraneous research and data input.


For more information about SmartSimple, our environmental policy, and our grants management system, GMS360°, visit our main website or contact us at info@smartsimple.com.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SmartSimple's June 2013 Upgrade

Ready for a host of new features and improvements in your SmartSimple system? Our June 2013 system upgrade is live, and we'll be walking you through this month's exciting new enhancements. 




The following Global System Upgrades have been made immediately available to SmartSimple users:
  • Session Timeout Alert automatically logs out any user when their session remains inactive for the defined number of minutes.
  • Data Exchange now includes an exchange history for tracking activities. 

These On-Demand System Upgrades must first be enabled by a System Administrator:
  • User/Contact Security Audits track changes in user roles, user access levels, user types and password reserts.
  • Mexican States are now available as a dropdown list from the State/Province standard field when "Mexico" is selected as the country on a company profile.
  • Upgrades to XML Data Field include the ability to enable tabbed sections, and Track Change options.
Check out the Upgrades article on our Wiki for even more information. 

Have any questions about the June upgrade and how it can benefit your system? Don't hesitate to contact us at support@smartsimple.com or 1-866-239-0991.

SmartSimple for Scholarship Management

Across all markets, our clients know that their SmartSimple system can be configured to manage a diverse array of business processes. Take grants management, for instance. Great organizations and people alike use the SmartSimple platform to allocate resources to all sorts of causes and initiatives, from social to environmental.

Scholarship management has long been a crucial organizational pillar for many of our clients in grant giving space. We have learned several valuable lessons in creating the SmartSimple Scholarship Management System in order to address the unique and specific needs of our clients.

Here’s how the Scholarship Management System works:

Online Registration
  • Students register and maintain their own profile.
  • Confirm eligibility via high school lookup (or enter a new high school profile).
  • Applicant and relevant high school staff enjoy online access from any browser. 
Online Application
  • Students upload and input information and submit their application.
  • Teachers and other high school staff can then add recommendations and supplementary information to a student’s application (e.g. Class rank, SAT scores).
Review Process
  • High school nomination committee nominates applications from their high school to the foundation for consideration. (A per high school per year application quota decided by the foundation can be enforced to limit the number of applications from each high school.)
  • External reviewers can be assigned to applications and an additional Lead Reviewer can be assigned who would have the ability to nominate an application to the foundation.
Post-Award
  • Once approved, an applicant logs in, selects the university they would be attending, and electronically signs the scholarship agreement.
  • After the agreement is submitted, the applicant becomes a scholar. Annual support worksheets are created with deadlines and reminder emails (as per the business requirements) which the scholar needs to submit for each university year.
Want to learn more about our new Scholarship Management System? View our demo video below, email us at sales@smartsimple.com or visit our main website for more information.