Whether you manage grants, scholarships, internships, fellowships or other programs, using an online solution to manage application intake and review saves time and effort. That’s a given!
But how can you make sure you’re setting up an efficient process from day one?
Sometimes the best insight comes from those that have been there before. Organizations who have successfully moved to an online solution, streamlined their programs, and grown their reach. From our customers to you, here are three tips to consider when setting up your application online.
1. Move your workflow out of the email inbox
When you manage the application and review process using multiple tools, things get confusing. Bouncing between systems and keeping everything organized becomes challenging, putting application filing and tracking at risk. The last thing you want is lost or misplaced data.
Before the University of Michigan Medical School moved their application online, a quick review of their manual process revealed that using email to collect application materials was causing confusion.
“When you have a multi-tiered process that has things coming in, coming out; going backwards and forwards; things being attached and removed, operating in your email is very inefficient and it creates a lot of problems,” says JD Jordan, Systems Integration Analyst.
Instead of using a handful of tools to manage the process, and email to collect attachments and manage communication, bring everything together in one location so nothing gets lost. Having one system that communicates with users that you can also use to collect, review and manage applications will save you not only time, but a few headaches too!
2. Communicate with your applicants to keep things moving and save time
An application process can be stressful and exciting at the same time! Applicants are submitting their information, eagerly awaiting a reply back or looking for further instruction to improve their application. But when applicants don’t move forward in the process or are kept in the dark, morale can drop and you may see an increase in support requests you receive.
Keeping open communication with your applicants helps move your process along more quickly, and having applications move through your process automatically can remove bottlenecks.
To improve communication and flow in their internship application process, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium uses automations to send emails and push applications forward when steps are completed successfully. At each stage of the application process, the applicant receives a confirmation email with instructions, and the application itself gets forwarded to the next person who needs to review.
“The students appreciate it because they receive instant follow up from the system when they submit their application, and our reviewers really appreciate the change because they no longer have to wait for me to send them their applications. They receive applications instantly are are able to review them on their own schedules and time,” says Gina Santoianni, Student Engagement Coordinator at More Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
See how Apply helps Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium collect applications for internships that provide a unique opportunity for students to discover a world of underwater potential.
3. Keep your current applications organized, and archive old applications
To make sure you can find what you’re looking for, and easily take in the most recent and relevant data, leverage automation to archive applications that have passed your deadline.
The Giving Kitchen offers a great example – “Fortunately with the SurveyMonkey Apply system, we have our workflow set up to automatically archive any applications that are 30 days old, or that have already been accepted. This way the system is always pushing the applicable grant requests forward while it’s archiving the rest, all in a very organized way. We can still search for any information in the archived applications. This brings a lot of clarity, to simplify what we’re doing,” says Leah Melnick, Programs Director.
See why the Giving Kitchen chose SurveyMonkey Apply to collect and review applications for grants that support restaurant workers faced with crisis.
Archiving applications gives you the unique advantage of having old data lying just below the surface. The applications and their data are still there for you to access and report on whenever you need, but what you’re seeing on the day-to-day is a fresh view of applications that are new and relevant to your program. This puts clutter out of sight and out of mind, focusing your efforts where they matter most.
Archive applications based on your unique program and cycle, so that each time you log into your online solution you’re seeing the applications that are most important.
If you think it’s time to streamline your application or you’re interested in more ways to modernize your application and review process, leave us your information below and we’d be happy to answer any questions that come to mind!