Review: Input That Matters

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Review: Input That Matters

Part 4 of a 6 part blog series on effective philanthropy program management
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 6:45pm

Over the past few weeks we have been discussing the building blocks of a successful philanthropy management program. We’ve learned how to streamline all the requests you receive, and route them to the right person. The next step is to start reviewing all of those requests! In a perfect world, the review process would involve one person, and very few steps. That one person would receive, review and make a decision on requests, without needing anyone else. But that’s not a likely reality. In the real world, processes typically involve multiple people, reviewers and decision makers, committees and board of directors. Without a way to track all the steps and people involved, things can get messy.

Here’s a nightmare that you may be familiar with: You work at a large telecommunications company. You receive TONS of requests, and handling them is only about 20% of your job. Once the time comes for these requests to be reviewed, you have no effective way of tracking who has reviewed the proposals, let alone monitoring anyone’s feedback. Most likely you are printing off copies of the proposals (not environmentally friendly!) and shuffling them off to those who are part of the review process. Any feedback you get comes in all different shapes and forms - phone calls, in-person conversations, emails, or written feedback. That’s a huge headache to manage and also incredibly time consuming. You have no idea what comes next- if you have gotten all the feedback that you need, or what part of the review process you are in. What if someone takes an action (approving, declining) on a request when they aren’t supposed to? How do you make sure this process doesn’t take weeks or months, so that your constituents aren’t left hanging?

Now, let’s turn that nightmare into a dream.  Implementing an online request management system removes the potential pitfalls of a review process, creating an easy way to manage input and decisions.

  • Track each and every action within the system Since a request may have multiple touch points, keeping track of every action taken is essential. Whether that’s who viewed it or when it was received, a system that records every step keeps everyone on the same page.
  • Share notes and input with others With an online system, notes can be added to each request for any viewers to share and see feedback. This feedback is stored in one specific place and can be a great way to communicate decisions and thoughts on a request. Whether the review process is simple or complex, tracking a few questions can be incredibly helpful when it comes time to make a decision.
  • Know when the requests roll in Unique notifications can be set up to alert those responsible for handling requests a request has been submitted. Reviewers can take appropriate action in a timely manner without worrying a request has fallen through the cracks.
  • Pulling together the right information for Committee Review Sometimes the review process involves a committee of people. An online system allows you to export the data to a spreadsheet or set up unique online review dashboards for each member, making it easy for the committee to work together to make a decision.
  • Controlling access Some reviewers will need to make the big decisions, and some will only need to give their input. Having different levels of access helps make this manageable and avoid any unfortunate mistakes.

Overall, the review process can seem like a total nightmare. However, with an online system you can ensure each step runs smoothly and the right decision is made. Next week we talk about what happens now that you’ve made a decision on a request, how do you respond? Or if you want to skip ahead, download Versaic’s eBook- The Five R’s of Great Philanthropy Management

Keywords: Technology | Education | Versaic | Volunteerism & Community Engagement