Customer Story: Maine Community Foundation
Improving the quality of life for all Maine people
Over 33 years, the Maine Community Foundation has given out over $330 million dollars in grants and scholarships, serving the people of Maine. But to continue growing their programs, the Foundation needed to make applications more accessible and straightforward.
The Maine Community Foundation was challenged with a slow, clunky and inflexible application and review process for their grants and scholarships. They needed to make the process more accessible, straightforward and efficient.
SurveyMonkey Apply enabled the Foundation to move their manual, paper-based processes to a centralized, online solution that seamlessly fit the way they work while supporting all of their grants and scholarships.
The application experience was streamlined, programs were made more accessible, review processes were simplified, and administrators saved hours of time.
Our process before Apply was so difficult that we lost applicants along the way. Now, the feedback speaks for itself. The online application is so much easier, and applicants love it. The process is clear and straightforward, it’s made a big difference.”
The Maine Community Foundation is committed to working with donors and partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. The mission? To help ensure more welcoming communities with healthier, better educated and happier people, a more productive workforce, and a more vibrant and inclusive economy.
To support the mission, the Foundation manages giving and investment programs focused on five strategic goals: early childhood education, access to education for all Mainers, racial equity, improving the quality of life for elders, and entrepreneurial innovation.
“In 33 years, the Maine Community Foundation has given out over $330 million dollars in grants and scholarships. In 2016, we gave out $34 million,” says Amy Pollien, a Grants Manager at the Foundation. “We’re looking to increase that number in 2017 and beyond.”
Managing such a large volume of grants and scholarships isn’t easy, especially from an administrative point of view. In the past, the Foundation relied on manual, paper-based processes.
“When I came on board, we were still managing everything with paper. I remember one year we received over 900 scholarship applications, and it was just me doing all the processing work,” says Liz Fickett, a Scholarship Funds Manager.
“From April to June, all I did was open up mail, pick out the staples, hunt down missing pieces, and assemble, photocopy and bind everything. Then I mailed application packets to individual committee members. It took hours and hours. It’s amazing that I was able to get any work done other than just my mail.”
This process was clearly problematic, and the need to move to a streamlined, online solution for application intake, management and review was prioritized.
“The need to go online came from a couple things. We knew that the candidates for our grants and scholarships didn’t want to have to sit down, fill out, and mail paper applications. We were always being asked, ‘Don’t you have this online?’ says Liz. “And obviously, it was the time we were spending to manage our current process. Time that could be better spent doing other things.”
“Our goal was to implement one centralized, online solution to manage all of our grant and scholarship programs,” adds Amy. “We wanted a system that would help our staff work more efficiently, that was accessible and straightforward for applicants and reviewers, and that was dependable and well-supported.”
The Maine Community Foundation embarked on a search for a new solution, and quickly decided on SurveyMonkey Apply.
“SurveyMonkey Apply stood out because it was extremely configurable. We wanted something that fit the unique needs of our staff, applicants, and reviewers, and Apply allowed us to accommodate everything. We could easily customize workflows, forms, and support the varying requirements of all of our programs. It was wonderful,” says Amy.
Since going live with the new system, the feedback from grant and scholarship applicants has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Our process before Apply was so difficult that we lost applicants along the way. With Apply in place, the feedback speaks for itself. The online application is so much easier, and applicants love it. The process is clear and straightforward, and we now even give applicants the ability to save their work in progress. That’s made a big difference,” says Liz.
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