As the social sector continues to move toward greater evidence and transparency, grantmakers are increasingly placing impact measurement and collaboration at the center of their digital strategies. A strong grant management system (GMS) can no longer focus only on supporting the grant application, review, and disbursement processes, but must also provide a central source of strategic and operational intelligence. This intelligence is imperative to ensure that grant-based instruments are adequately contextualized and adaptable as programs evolve.
Learn how leading grantmakers, like the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment, are aligning impact measurement with their GMS to streamline grantmaking processes, drive data-informed decisions, and amplify their impact.
The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment: Integrating impact measurement and grant management with Salesforce and Amp Impact
Vera Solutions and g-company co-hosted a webinar in June this year, in which The Palladium Group, who manages the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE), shared its innovative approach and success factors in procuring, building, launching, and expanding an integrated grant management and impact measurement system. Drawing on their adoption of Vera Solutions’ Salesforce-based portfolio management and impact measurement solution, Amp Impact, the CFYE shared how their system has generated cross-functional collaboration to deliver more effective programs.
Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, steered by the Department of Sustainability and Economic Development, and managed by The Palladium Group, the CFYE aims to create a prosperous future for 200,000 young people (including at least 100,000 young women) in the Middle East and Africa, by supporting youth employment initiatives in these regions. The CFYE overcame the complex task of building a system that accommodated various global operating parameters with the goal of disbursing €150 million of grants across 23 countries.
Palladium Consulting implemented a Salesforce-based GMS, built on Amp Impact, to address the CFYE’s growing grant management and impact measurement needs. Some of their key guiding principles in selecting an impact measurement platform included the flexibility to operate in complex environments, cross-functional data access for various internal and external stakeholders, scalability, integration capabilities, and customizability.
The solution has already provided tremendous benefits to the CFYE. Below are five benefits the CFYE have experienced in aligning grant management with impact measurement on Salesforce.
1. Increased Transparency for More Effective Decision Making
Grantmakers make countless operational and tactical decisions on a daily basis. It is therefore crucial to have a GMS that provides transparency across all levels of the organization — this hinges on collecting the right data across the full grant lifecycle.
The CFYE sought a system to manage hundreds of external grantees, or implementing partners (IPs). Amp Impact, extended with FormTitan, allowed the CFYE to streamline the grant lifecycle and further provide trend analytics via Salesforce Reports to share with the team and partners.
Additionally, the CFYE required role-dependent access to the data (principle of least privilege) to ensure that levels of data access were consistent with employees’ roles.
By building a centralized system that promotes organizational transparency, the CFYE is able to holistically interact with its data, thus making more effective decisions to enhance their program efforts. The system also mitigates the risk of data silos keeping crucial information from reaching the correct individuals. Through one central system with various access levels, the CFYE, its grantees, and other external stakeholders can input data and review reports and dashboards to make further informed grant delivery decisions.
2. Improved Performance Management
Grantmakers need solid understanding of grantee performance, not only to provide feedback to external stakeholders but to ensure that the program goals are achieved. The complexities were challenging for the CFYE with over 100 implementing partners across 23 countries — grantees stem from various sectors, each with their own strengths and delivery needs. The CFYE relies heavily on grantee-reported information to determine delivery performance, and the GMS provides an automated and customized process for the CFYE and its partners to meet reporting requirements.
As CFYE IPs report into the GMS, data can be analyzed by partner and country as needed, with tailored and dynamic reports. The GMS accessibility has transcended geographical barriers, and the CFYE’s relationship managers and Netherlands-based senior management were able to easily digest information via Reports.
3. Centralized and Configurable Delivery Processes
Grantmakers often seek a GMS that can accommodate various, tailored delivery processes. System mapping is a crucial component of designing and building a new system. Amp Impact, leveraging the configurability of the Salesforce platform, provides grantmakers the opportunity to scale and adapt the GMS to meet evolving needs.
A configurable GMS allows grantmakers to tailor the system to meet their business processes — whether catering for additional grantees, reporting on additional metrics, simplifying the grant application process, or providing efficiencies for grantees and grantmakers. Ultimately, this facilitates shifting time spent from administrative tasks to grant program delivery.
4. One Organizational Central Source of Truth
A GMS should be aligned to an organization’s existing IT ecosystem. One of the CFYE’s priorities was to integrate Amp Impact within the existing Palladium enterprise architecture, in order to serve as a single source of truth.
Fortunately, with the robust APIs of the Salesforce platform, the CFYE successfully integrated Amp Impact within their existing architecture. In addition, Microsoft Outlook and Sharepoint are integrated with Salesforce to ensure that data and communication are connected and stored securely, logging Outlook emails to Salesforce and viewing Sharepoint-housed files in Salesforce.
Additionally, grant and impact data is pushed to Microsoft Power BI, which enables Palladium to deliver right-time business intelligence to its users. Dynamic data analysis and visualization are achieved by pushing Salesforce-housed data to Power BI, displaying dashboards to internal and external stakeholders through the CFYE Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sites. Unifying existing systems provides a holistic and integrated data management and analysis experience.
An integrated GMS allows grantmakers the opportunity to extend analytics beyond the Salesforce platform and into robust BI tools, which is proving to be quite powerful.
5. Increased Collaboration
Data accessibility can influence key decision making. The CFYE built a GMS that not only provides team members data access, but also encourages the use of data for new program delivery ideas and experimentation.
The Salesforce-based GMS allows the CFYE to collaborate in real-time within the system. Additionally, direct communication with grantees often leads to new and innovative ways in which grantees can both more effectively engage with the system, as well as deliver their programs.
An agile system that adapts to changing project needs
Ultimately, Arqam Lodhi reflected on the main Amp Impact differentiating factor – agility.
The CFYE will continue to roll out its GMS to 23 countries over the next two years, weaving in-country program effectiveness into deployment decisions. The CFYE has paved the way in its approach to create meaningful youth engagement (see “How to Create Meaningful Youth Engagement”), and we are honored to continue to support their goal of helping create a prosperous future for 200,000 young men and women.