Salesforce has been making somewhat rapid changes to their Grants Management offerings. While it is exciting to see them continually innovating in this space, it can also be a bit disorienting when making decisions about a new implementation! We hope to provide some clarity here on what the past, present, and future options are for your Salesforce GMS. Please note that at the time of writing this guide, Salesforce has only released a limited amount of information for their new products, and only tentative information about retirement plans for old products.
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. To read more about what this transition period means for your organization, please refer to our recent article on the platform’s sunsetting.
Outbound Funds/Grants Management Modules
These solutions were rolled out in 2020 and both utilize the same Outbound Funds data model.
Outbound Funds is a free and open source solution, lightweight with plenty of room to customize. With a helpful framework that includes objects such as Funding Requests and Disbursements, it serves as a great starting point for grants management professionals who are solely responsible for their funding and administration needs or small teams managing multiple grants and programs. We’re experienced with utilizing native Salesforce functionality to add custom objects, fields, automation, and portals to this framework so that it can support all of your unique requirements.
The Grants Management module is $2100 USD per user, per year, including 100 Customer Community Plus logins per month for external portal users. Its main feature is a pre-configured grantee portal, along with a few other pre-set automated aspects. This package could potentially save you some implementation time, if the configuration already suits your needs.
Outbound Funds and Grants Management Modules are predicted to eventually be retired, but this will be several years in the future. Upon retirement, the objects and data should still be accessible; you won’t benefit from any new features or be able to implement new installations, but the basic aspects and configuration will remain available to you. We predict that our clients using Outbound Funds would notice no change in functionality after the eventual retirement. No migration should be needed, unless you desire an upgrade.
In Spring of 2023, Salesforce announced that they would be releasing a new Grants Management solution, called Grantmaking, in July of 2023. While all previous solutions have been managed packages that sit “on top of” Salesforce, Grantmaking will be part of core Salesforce (a solution “built in” Salesforce), paired with the new Non-Profit Cloud industry solution.
Why being “part of core” matters
- The objects included will be standard objects, not custom ones.
- The releases for this product will be a part of the general Salesforce releases, rather than being separate. Salesforce has stated that this will allow for faster innovation/development.
- You would pay for licenses for this product, which would enable you to “turn it on” in your Non-Profit Cloud instance, rather than installing a package.
- As an industry solution, this product would provide access to Omnistudio, which offers powerful form building, native document generation, Flex Cards (displaying contextual information at-a-glance), and more.
Grantmaking's key features
- Grantmaking uses a new data model, which separates out Applications and Funding Awards into two separate objects, along with several other deviations from the Outbound Funds data model. It still supports reviews/approvals, post-award management, etc.
- A very basic portal template for grantees. Note: In a future release, Salesforce hopes to include a template for external reviewers.
- Budget-related objects and a budget setup component, allowing you to set the budget categories and budget periods for a particular funding opportunity. Grantees can be prompted to fill in the dollar amounts during their application process. Note: In a future release, Salesforce may allow grantees to enter “actuals” during reporting periods. Currently, grantees use the budget categories set by the foundation for each specific funding opportunity and cannot add their own. In the future, Salesforce will consider adding this functionality.
- Just like the Grants Management Module, in the future, Salesforce plans to add in some pre-built forms and workflows.
Making Your Choice
As you think about your options, here are a few considerations to discuss with your team.
- Is your organization comfortable working with a system that's in active development? Grantmaking will continue to be developed over the next 18-24 months. Or do you prefer something more stable? Outbound Funds is well-established as a framework.
- What is your budget for licensing fees, and is there room for additional licenses down the road? At the time of writing this article, Grantmaking pricing is the same as Grants Management ($2,100 USD per user, per year; includes 100 Customer Community Plus licenses for external portal users).
- Do you need to make connections between the money coming in and the funds going out? Grantmaking is currently best suited to private family foundations or government funders, while Outbound Funds is more adapted to organizations, such as community foundations, who need to track the flow of funds in both directions.
- Are your processes and workflows fairly standard, or are there unique elements that you will need to build into your system? Grantmaking will soon include templates and processes that may require workarounds and customizations if your team's ways of working don't fit into what Salesforce has designed.
With any of the Salesforce solutions on the market, a degree of customization is likely to be required to sufficiently support your organization's unique processes, workflows and needs. Choosing the right base to workfrom—whether it’s OutboundFunds, Grants Management, or Grantmaking—will lay the foundation for you to create a more tailored solution. Working with an experienced Salesforce partner who understands both the technical elements of the platform as well as the requirements and needs of grantmaking organizations can ensure that your system evolves with you as you continue to support your grantees, stakeholders, and community.