What is #FixTheForm?
#FixTheForm is a grassroots international movement to identify and fix the worst elements of funding application forms that waste time and money, and exacerbate inequities.
Millions of mission-related hours are lost every year to the time-consuming grant application process. Nonprofits consistently report that “technical time-wasters” in grant applications consume 20-30 percent of their time, according to over 2,500 anonymous reviews of grantmaking foundations on GrantAdvisor.org. Addressing such time-wasters is a key opportunity for funders seeking to improve accessibility and equitable access to funding.
To specifically identify the top changes needed, a survey was launched in November 2020. In less than four weeks it received 500 responses from grantseekers across nine countries, representing every shape, size, and activity area of the nonprofit sector. Read on for survey results and what we did to save nonprofits 1 million hours.
Top Result: Not being able to see the full grant application ahead of time
From the moment the first person responded to the survey to the 500th, there was clear consensus: this pain point is the top opportunity for the field. It received the most number of votes and the highest rating of pain.
Why Fixing the Form Matters
“for many organizations, especially ones that are Black- or Brown-led and far more likely to be chronically under-funded, these are particularly harmful [practices].”– #FixTheForm Survey Respondent
“I have literally lost hundreds of hours to troubleshooting and navigating poorly designed grant applications and portals.”
“Making the application process pain-free and user-friendly will lower the barriers for the organizations that need your support the most.”
“These changes will really help us be able to spend less time and money on form filling and more on the causes and people we support.”
What is Next
Who Is Leading #FixTheForm
100 Forms in 100 Days
A campaign aiming to save nonprofits a million hours through grant application process improvements has come true.
Leveraging the momentum in philanthropy to address inequity, GrantAdvisor.org partnered with the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) in summer 2021 to develop a unique campaign: “100 Forms in 100 Days.” Building upon key findings from thousands of GrantAdvisor reviews and 500 responses to #FixTheForm (a survey to identify specific opportunities for reducing application burdens for nonprofits), “100 Forms in 100 Days” rallied grantmakers to address the top pain point in the application process: The inability to see the full application when preparing a response.
The campaign’s goal was simple: Gather 100 example grant forms in 100 days. In doing so, GrantAdvisor and TAG aimed to build awareness of this pain point for nonprofits and inspire foundations to provide a downloadable version of the application on their websites. What happened was so much more.
- 130+ foundations made their grant applications public, including some of the largest, most influential foundations in global grantmaking including the Ford Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and European Climate Foundation.
- Five industry-leading grants management software providers, Blackbaud, Fluxx, Foundant, GivingData, and SmartSimple, made permanent enhancements to their platforms, enabling foundations to make their full grant form available ahead of time. (Full list of participating foundations and vendors: http://blog.grantadvisor.org/reformer-community/).
- 3,300 foundations can now enable grant form download in their grants management software, impacting one million nonprofits who apply for funding. If this change saves a nonprofit one hour, that’s one million hours saved!
100 Forms in 100 Days – In Partnership With:
Media & Impact
- “Foundations Moved to Fix Cumbersome Applications – but Grantees Say More Is Needed” article by Alex Daniels, Chronicle of Philanthropy
- “Fix the Form! A Campaign to Curb the Byzantine Process of Applying for a Grant” article on InsidePhilanthropy
- “Feel like grant applications are wasting your time? You’re right, according to a recent analysis” article on InsidePhilanthropy
- “#FixTheForm. You Don’t Need Permission to Be Revolutionary” article on PEAK Grantmaking.
- “Kari Aanestad: Equity, Honesty, and #FixTheForm” Impact Audio podcast by Submittable
- “How Improving Your Grant Application Experience Can Deepen Your Impact” article on PEAK Grantmaking
- “Fixing Top Grant Application Pain Points” article by For Purpose Law Group
- “What’s Next for #FixTheForm?” article by GivingData
- “Join the #FixTheForm Movement” article by Saltzberg Consulting
- “Best Questions to Ask for Measuring Impact” webinar by Submittable
- “Improve Equity with #FixTheForm” webinar hosted by Submittable
- “TAG Publishes List of Common Grant Fields from #FixTheForm Analysis” press release by the Technology Association of Grantmakers
- “Resilient Philanthropy: #FixTheForm and Application Streamline” by Foundant Technologies
- “FixTheForm!” blogpost by Walter & Elise Haas Fund