In 2019, Salesforce acquired foundationConnect as a managed-package solution for Grants Management. This solution included a portal for grantees and reviewers, budget configuration, and the standard Opportunity and Campaign objects alongside some custom fields. As of January 31, 2025, existing users will no longer be able to renew subscriptions to this product, and it will be fully deactivated in January 2026, requiring all users to migrate to a new solution.
Salesforce has given users plenty of time to plan their transition, so there is no need to rush to a decision. In fact, we at Grantbook would go so far as to say that this presents current foundationConnect users with two golden opportunities:
- The time to take stock of your current situation: what has changed since you first adopted foundationConnect? Has your team grown, have your needs evolved, have your processes changed in complexity?
- The time to envision your future as an organization: what do you want to achieve in the next 3-5 years? What new functionalities in a GMS could benefit your team? What pain points do you want to eliminate?
This article will focus on the first opportunity: how you can take stock and look at your people, process, tech and data needs. For more information on envisioning your future needs and exploring your next solution, check out our accompanying article on Salesforce's current GMS offerings.
Transition can be Tough
It’s not always a great state to find yourself in – particularly when it is not by choice. You may feel anxious as you think about the uncertainty you are facing, or overwhelmed by the amount of choices and information in front of you. So, let’s take a step back: instead of looking at the decisions ahead of you, look at what you are currently working with. Grounding yourself in your current state will help inform those upcoming decisions, so let’s make sure we’ve got the most accurate landscape we can get.
Take a look at your GMS: would you be satisfied with a couple of minor enhancements, or is a complete overhaul needed? Or are you somewhere in between, with perhaps a new feature you and your grantee partners could really benefit from? Any of these scenarios might be true, and you should ensure to be checking in with your grants management, finance, and leadership teams to get their insights.
This is a chance to take stock of your GMS functionality and capabilities. Consider whether you might be able to marry other internal processes and procedures within a new system. In what new ways is your organization working that your current system isn’t capturing (e.g. a new granting stream, or oral reporting)?
This is also the right time to confirm the capacity of your team members to take on new, or more complex, projects and tasks. What is the learning curve like for those onboarding to your organization? Are all roles within your organization clear, or are there blurred lines?
Check in with your grantee partners as well, if they have interacted with your system. A survey with open-ended questions or a focus group to gather qualitative insights will help you understand multiple perspectives, and keep a grantee-centric approach to your grants management. If your grantee partners don’t interact with your system, ask them what they might like to see if they had the option to log into a portal and submit applications online, and what information they would like to have available.
Let’s pause. These reviews might already seem daunting, and that’s where a strategic partner can be helpful. A good partner can help you manage change during this evaluation and transition period, bringing to the table a deep understanding of the GMS landscape and experience with process optimization.
The Cherry on Top
While you’re evaluating your people, process and tech needs, this can be a timely opportunity to turn your focus on the sector at large. What best practices could you benefit from related to:
- GMS and system selection processes
- Trust-based philanthropy
- Organizational structure
- Change management
- Learning and development
Change can be daunting; if you can reframe it as a time of opportunity, approaching it with a mindset of curiosity, empathy and daring, it can become a galvanizing moment for your entire organization, as well as your grantees and stakeholders.
Do you feel ready to start envisioning a more efficient, frictionless future? Check out our follow-up article later in September.