Client Story


Rotary International

Multilingual access and seamless integrations for Rotary International.

At a glance

Rotary International built their custom system in-house in conjunction with an overhaul of their granting model. The idea was to build them in tandem so that the system would do exactly what they needed to manage their grant program. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to make system modifications and keep pace with process changes. Realizing they needed some assistance, they put out an RFP to search out a solution.

Some of the requirements that needed to be met included the ability to function in multiple languages and integrate with their other enterprise software. They chose SmartSimple for the limitless configurability and ability to meet every one of their requirements, while offering several other process improvements. And, with the assistance of SmartSimple partner, Re-Solved, they now have the fully integrated grants management solution that meets their broad and ever changing needs.

About Rotary International

Rotary International is a global community network of 1.2 million members — with nearly 320,000 in the US alone — working from more than 35,000 clubs around the world. Their goal is a planet where all people unite and take action to create lasting change. They currently administer 30,000 service projects, and their volunteers work in excess of 24 million hours per year.

Photo of a mother and child - Rotary International and SmartSimple
Photo of girl writing on wall - Rotary members believe in shared responsibilities

Rotary members believe in a shared responsibility to take action on the world’s most persistent issues, including:

  • Promoting peace
  • Fighting and preventing disease
  • Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Equal rights for mothers and their children
  • Education
  • Growing local economies

In 2017, more than 8,000 students became global citizens through the Rotary Youth Exchange, 400 million children were immunized against polio, and Rotarians built a 36,000-liter rainwater harvesting system to serve communities in Papua New Guinea. Overall, Rotary manages funds in 29 currencies to provide life-changing and sustainable grants, programs, and services.

Photo of women treating a baby - Rotary manages funds in 29 currencies
Photo of Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center, Rotary International

“Our relationship with SmartSimple is completely unique. We’re always pushing the envelope, seeing what else the platform can do.”

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

The evolution of an international grants management solution

“We figured we’d start working on a new system and pilot a new granting process at the same time,” says Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grants. “The problem was, the system we were trying to build couldn’t keep up with program changes we were making. We found we were modifying things constantly as the pilot progressed. It was like trying to build a plane while we were in flight.”

Photo of women in conversation  - Evolution of an international grants management solution
Photo of construction workers - it's difficult for the in-house team to keep pace with all the changes being requested

It became incredibly difficult for the in-house team to keep pace with all the changes being requested. “The whole reason for conducting the pilot was to figure out exactly what we needed in a new grants management system,” continues Brent. “That said, we knew there was no way we’d find anything that would work for us right out of the box. We required something configured to meet our specific needs.”

“We knew there was no way we’d find anything that would work for us right out of the box. We required something configured to meet our specific needs.”

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

Photo of a woman and infant at a market
Photo of 4 women - Quest for a configurable grants management solution

The quest for a configurable grants management solution

The team decided to put out an RFP and look for a grants management platform that could handle all the complexity Rotary needed to manage their vast array of international giving programs. “The biggest challenge we knew we’d likely face was finding something that could do all we needed, and accommodate the 8 languages we operate in,” adds Brent.

After reviewing a shortlist of potential software vendors, Rotary found the SmartSimple platform to be the most capable to handle their unique requirements.

Photo of a counsellor and child playing -  Rotary found the SmartSimple platform to be the most capable
Photo of volunteers planting - SmartSimple is a partner in implementation

Partners in implementation

Rotary also engaged one of SmartSimple’s trusted partners, Re-Solved. SmartSimple works with a number of partners that can be brought in for their expertise to assist or take on a full implementation for a new or existing client. Re-Solved offers the philanthropic and business sectors software solutions that give these organizations the power to achieve their goals.

Re-Solved played a significant role with Rotary and SmartSimple from the start, and they continue to assist them today with system enhancements. “Re-Solved has continually done a great job for us, jumping in to help us, figuring out what we need and coming up with unique solutions that only SmartSimple can provide,” says Brent.

Photo of a child drinking - Re-Solved assisted with system enhancements
Photo of gardeners

“The ability to translate our granting into different languages was a critical component that SmartSimple was able to offer. Not many other systems can accommodate this level of personalization.”

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

A platform solution like no other

“System configurability is high on our list of requirements,” says Stephen Montague, Business Analyst, IT, at Rotary. “The overall flexibility of the SmartSimple platform has provided the features and functionality we’ve needed to handle our specialized system requirements. The endless configurability means that we can manage complex business roles while being able to accommodate multiple exceptions. The overall adaptability of the platform has been incredibly important for us.”

Photo of paraplegic children - SmartSimple is a platform solution like no other
Photo of a boy woodworking - SmartSimple seamlessly integrates with accounting

“The ability to translate our granting into different languages was a critical component that SmartSimple was able to offer. Not many other systems can accommodate this level of personalization,” continues Stephen. “SmartSimple also gave us the ability to seamlessly integrate with our accounting, and content relationship management (CRM) software.”

Rotary recently made some changes that required assistance from SmartSimple’s development team. “The SmartSimple development team did a great job for us. They were highly responsive, adding this particular enhancement to a recent system upgrade.”

Photo of a young man painting a mural - The SmartSimple development team was highly responsive
Photo of a children going to school - Rotary's relationship with SmartSimple is unique

“Our relationship with SmartSimple is completely unique,” adds Brent. “We’re always pushing the envelope, seeing what else the platform can do. SmartSimple is always able to work through our requests and solve our problems. The system consistently meets our needs and adapts to any changes we want to make.”

“I certainly recommend SmartSimple to anyone looking for a truly adaptable solution,” concludes Stephen. “The SmartSimple team has consistently made dramatic improvements and additions to the platform over the years in terms of design and user interface. Their commitment to growth is exciting for us and our users, and we’re regularly seeing new ways to make our system an ever more valuable tool.”

Photo of people at an event - Rotary recommends SmartSimple
Photo of a group of youths

“SmartSimple is always able to work through our requests and solve our problems. The system consistently meets our needs and adapts to any changes we want to make.”

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

Related Client Stories

Ready to simplify the way you work?

Schedule a demo today to see how SmartSimple can be put to work at your organization.

Top