The Robins Foundation is a Richmond, VA-based family foundation focused on elevating lower-income families and the communities they live in through educational advancement opportunities and resources. For the past 60 years of visionary philanthropy, they’ve supported and developed strong and strategic partnerships with organizations and projects that provide educational opportunities and resources for children 0-18. Their mission is to lead transformational change in the greater Richmond community by listening, learning and engaging through innovative philanthropy that inspires solutions to society’s greatest challenges.
The most prominent reason the Robins Foundation needed to digitize their process was time. The number of hours spent on hand processing grant applications and tracking their data left the team with little time to do much else. By not having a centralized database, multiple contributors working on multiple versions of a file made it difficult to organize, and to have up to date and trackable data to work with. Application proposals were submitted as emails, faxes, and sometimes even hand-delivered without RFIs. “There was no eligibility quiz at the time, so we were receiving about 150 applications per cycle at two cycles a year — that’s a lot for two people to manage.”
Working with SmartSimple, the Robins Foundation’s entire grants process was digitized and transitioned online. The move was immediately met with open arms. “After the first application went through, we looked for feedback, and everything was very positive,” says Mooneyham. The platform made it easy for the staff and applicants to navigate the new online system. Now, every user knew where to click, save, and type.
And since Robins Foundation had the platform to standardize how they received their applications, the entire grant application process became much more automated greatly reducing the need for manual intervention. “There was less of a workload on an already capacity-strapped program team, and we wanted to make the application process easy on both sides [grants managers and grantees], so everybody wins.”
“The biggest thing that resonated with me was that you don’t have to have a tech background or be completely confident in your computer skills to use the system, so long as you have curiosity,” says Mooneyham. She added, “The technology enables you to make the changes you want to see.”
Coming from the opposite spectrum with no philanthropy background while taking on a technical role on the staff, Mooneyham was surprised how comfortable she became with the flexibility of the platform. “I had the ability and spark of knowing I can run a multi-user platform with different roles and access permissions.” By using SmartSimple’s intuitive platform, you don’t have to be a tech person to adapt to the system and thrive with its powerful benefits for your foundation.
Building strong, lasting relationships are a cornerstone of SmartSimple’s philosophy. It drives the company’s desire to provide real solutions and tools foundations need to continue the good and authentic work they do in the world. Mooneyham loved the one-on-one conversations with our technical support team and added that “SmartSimple spoke with me in a comfortable, relational way to make my transfer into this technical role smooth.