Along with having a clear mission and efficient processes, effective budgeting is critically important to any grantmaking organization's success. Leanly staffed grantmakers of all sizes can often grapple with maintaining and improving their philanthropic budgeting operations, especially when using systems that are rigid and do not easily adapt to today's rapidly changing world and economic uncertainty.
An article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review published in 2009 – a time also marked by economic volatility stemming from the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 – addresses some of the similar struggles philanthropic organizations experienced in a time of economic change.
"Money is a constant topic of conversation among [philanthropic] leaders: How much do we need? Where can we find it? Why isn't there more of it? In tough economic times, these types of questions become more frequent and pressing." Authors Foster, Kim, and Christensen go on to note, "philanthropists often struggle to understand the impact (and limitations) of their donations" and that often "the result is that promising programs are cut, curtailed, or never launched."
Fast forward nearly a decade later to the enormous impact of COVID-19, Bruce McDonald, president of Imagine Canada, shared his comments in a CBC article: "It's pretty dramatic. Most charities in [Canada] are being profoundly affected by a need to change and adapt their services. Most charities don't have reserves, or if they do, they're very small." Such rapidly evolving and unprecedented times require the support of equally unprecedented levels of nimbleness, flexibility, and adaptability that align with your unique programmatic goals and mission.
No matter how complex your processes are, grantmakers still require personalized tools to uniquely address their priorities and ensure their programs’ impact is maximized and sustainable amidst widespread uncertainty. Enter SmartSimple Amplify, our comprehensive and highly-rated grants management solution for more efficiently managing and measuring the impact of your entire grantmaking lifecycle.
Equipped with a scalable suite of highly configurable modules, including Budget Manager, you can track every dollar you've allocated and awarded while bringing more clarity to your grantmaking finances. Plus, since Amplify is powered by SmartSimple’s cloud-based automation and collaboration platform called Platform3, you’ll have secure access to the vital information you need from wherever you and your team are working from.
Assess your budgets in real-time
With Amplify's Budget Manager, you can set up and manage grantmaking budgets and finances, no matter how complex. Visualizing the flow of all your budgets from one or multiple funding streams in one place will ensure better accuracy, clarity, and auditability.
Over the long-term, this data can be used to design better insight-based budgets that integrate your programs and giving goals more clearly. There's no better time than today's economic uncertainty to visualize and forecast budget outcomes based on your most current data. With each new reporting cycle, you can compare your actual performance against your goals, which can assist in building more impactful budgeting strategies.
Track and schedule your grant payments with automation
Using Amplify's Budget Manager module, you will have the capacity to move funds around, like setting your grantees up on automated payment schedules. Take, for example, Feeding America, the United States’ largest domestic hunger-relief organization, strategizes their funding through re-granting.
By utilizing SmartSimple's highly flexible Platform3, Feeding America allocates and re-grants to their network of 200 food banks across the country to ensure their funding goes to the right places and meets their goals of feeding at least 40 million people at risk of hunger, including 12 million children, and 7 million seniors.
Transparent practices to build trust from all stakeholders
With the flexible, powerful tracking tools and reporting capabilities of Amplify's Budget Manager, SmartSimple’s comprehensive technology can be configured to accommodate any level of auditing requirements. From simple requirements with smaller foundations to the more complex needs of government agencies (see: SmartSimple Unite, our government grants administration solution) – you can track funding from source to destination with detailed and highly configurable financial reports. These reports can include compelling visuals such as allocation diagrams to visualize the flow of all your funds.
With Amplify’s suite of modules and reporting tools, you can create more thorough budget reports with configurable levels of transparency to your external stakeholders while giving your reviewers access to individualized user portals with real-time financial data to audit.