Creating a best practice online grant application makes all the difference to the quality of applications received. Improving the applicant experience and application quality has a major impact on submission rates and the ability to effectively conduct assessments.
Addressing data quality, applicant engagement, communications and support during the whole process are key to successful round.
Each of these factors has an impact on the applicant and grant program administration team, providing both benefits that improve the overall engagement and result.
Here are 4 key steps to improve your grant application process as you prepare for your next round.
1 Enhance grant application quality
Configure the application form to improve quality of data entered. Form configuration can be improved by:
- validation against mandatory fields and messaging for invalid data
- use standardised templates for data such as budgets and KPIs
- auto suggest options/places and pre-defined options in drop down menus
Integrating with automated look-up services to verify entered data such as addresses can also reduce time and effort spent on supporting applicants through the application process.
2. Empower applicants to take ownership
Give grant applicants control on their application preparation and submission process to improve the grant applicant experience and submission rates. Utilise options to:
- simplify the process by splitting the form into stages or steps
- allow applicants the option to save, edit and return to online applications
- provide options to invite team members to collaborate on the same application
- Engage applicants directly online to respond to a rework/clarification request on any aspect of the application
Adding steps makes it easier to understand application process.
Applicants rarely complete an online application in one session. The best quality submissions are generated over a period of time often with multiple contributors providing input. Enquire’s client portal provides applicants with the flexibility to take ownership, save, rework and complete their grant applications as a team.
Rework allows program administrators to request more information or clarification to improve submission quality.
3. Help and support for applicants
Grant applicants need clear program, application and context appropriate help and support. Provide the right help at the right time across your support channels and resources with:
- clear program guidelines and introductory information
- pre-application eligibility checks to reduce ineligible or incomplete grant applications
- easy to locate and readily available online and offline information about support channels
- clear instructional and help text that is contextual specific to the question or requirement
Grant applicants are unlikely to read through long documents and terms and conditions. Simplify the language and processes to cater for a diverse range of backgrounds. Placing “quick links” or redirecting applicants to the relevant website pages makes information easy to access.
4. Communication is key
Throughout the grant application process it’s critical to help guide and inform applicants by providing the following:
- notifications for important dates like round openings, deadline reminders, closures and milestone dates
- ability to engage with applicants to request clarifications if more details are required
- updates on program status, including delays to reduces applicant enquiries
- announcements on process changes and what is expected next
- Updates to inform grant applicants if they are not successful with their application and feedback (if offering)
Clear guidance and good communication for applicants will help your grant program reduce time and effort demanded of support staff. It will also improve applicant satisfaction.
Communication, interaction with applicants and application feedback for unsuccessful applicants can also result in a higher quality of applications in the following round.
Using Enquire, our clients can take advantage of “no code” configurations to easily create and publish online grant applications. Enquire provides a branded client portal so grant programs teams can engage, inform and support communications with applicants to improve the grant application process and overall experience.
If you have any questions on how you can improve your grant program application process get in touch with Tactiv Client Services today!