Skip to Content

How To Pick the Best Grantmaking Solution for Your Nonprofit

An illustration showing people sitting on filing cabinets while looking at their computer and a businesswoman holding a magnifying glass; grantmaking solutions
After 15 years, foundationConnect is going away, but your organization has options to consider for replacing it with another grantmaking solution. [Studio Science]

After 15 years, foundationConnect is going away. Here are three top nonprofit grantmaking solutions for your organization to consider — and how to choose the right one.

The Salesforce nonprofit grantmaking solution, foundationConnect, was created over 15 years ago on the belief that we could support better collaboration among stakeholders in the grants management process. foundationConnect enabled us to work better together — from funders and applicants to program staff and grantees, stronger connections were built within our organization.

As technology improved, foundationConnect’s functionality became outdated compared to the options available now. With the trust of a secure and scalable system being most important, we made the difficult decision to sunset foundationConnect on a high note. Parting with anything that has served us well is always difficult. 

The good news is your organization has options to consider for replacing foundationConnect with another grantmaking solution. Here are the top three grantmaking tools to use in place of foundationConnect:

Track, manage, and deliver funding programs — all in one place

Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking is designed to maximize your impact. See if your organization qualifies for free or lower-cost options.

1.  Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking

Built on the Salesforce #1 AI CRM platform, Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking is suitable for organizations that want  an out-of-the-box full nonprofit grantmaking cycle solution. This solution includes a template, which will save organizations time and effort when setting up online portals. 

This option also includes powerful components for configuring your organization’s unique business processes that are only available with Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking. Organizations can also take advantage of the three annual iterations of Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking, which is purposely built to meet your evolving needs. As your Salesforce administrator becomes more familiar with Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking, their need to lean on IT for support will diminish, making it a win-win situation for all teams.  

2. Custom build on Salesforce

This option is suitable for organizations that want to have full control over the build of their grants management system (GMS), including the ability to have full responsibility for the maintenance of your GMS. 

The ongoing success of this option relies heavily on Salesforce expertise to maintain your system — either internally or with the help of outsourced IT professionals. Without capable resources, this could be a high-maintenance project, and a costly long-term option. 

3. Point solution vendor

Selecting a vendor focused solely on grants management systems is a one-dimensional option that might be the right fit for certain organizations with specific needs. However, let’s be realistic: We all want grantmaking initiatives that are dynamic and provide high impact. 

Year-over-year strategic planning includes changes in operations, processes, initiatives, measurement of impact and outcomes, and the need to find new ways to connect with stakeholders. A point solution doesn’t have the built-in capability to reach these goals. 

A point solution makes data collection from multiple sources difficult and often requires integration with third-party applications. And even then, there’s no guarantee that third-party solutions would be fully compatible with your point solution, resulting in paying for and maintaining multiple solutions.

When considering which nonprofit grantmaking solution to choose, here’s what you should focus on:

Less emphasis on task tracking and more insights into social impact

For grantmakers, data collection is paramount. However, aggregating data to show the honest and unbiased interpretation of your work can be challenging. Salesforce understands the elements of your funding practices that are important to you: improved outcomes, advancing equality, and furthering your organization’s impact. 

Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking includes an out-of-the-box integration with the impact measurement tool, Outcomes Management, which is a convenient solution used to gain insights into your work. Define, measure, and evaluate your organization’s outcome strategies all in one place.

Security, privacy, and best practice standards for nonprofit grantmaking

Since the beginning, trust has been one of Salesforce’s core values. Similarly, we know one of the core values of grantmakers is to be responsible stewards of grantee and applicants’ data and materials. Salesforce incorporates many state-of-the-art security practices to keep your information safe and secure.

Additionally, you can add extra layers of security to your work. Depending on your operations and organizational policies, there might be data only certain staff should have access to view or edit. Permission Set, which enables organizations to tailor access to information, is just one Salesforce tool that foundationConnect users are accustomed to.

A faster, better user experience

Salesforce allows you to create sophisticated automated flows, which minimizes the number of clicks, time, and room for errors to complete tasks. The result is more time for collaboration and less time spent entering data.

Increased return on investments 

Organizations commonly make the mistake of selecting a technology solution based on its short-term value. A low-cost solution might be appealing in the beginning phases of a GMS selection or implementation review, but it’s important to think long term. Doing so will ensure you don’t box your organization into a solution where the return on investment (ROI) is stagnant or, in a worst case scenario, declines year-over-year. 

With Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking, Salesforce offers resources for success that support the ongoing education of your technology investment. These resources include things like the Salesforce self-learning tool, Trailhead, virtual and in-person user groups, access to the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, and specialized webinars. 

There are many ways Salesforce can help an organization level up and remain flexible for your organization’s growing needs. 

Seamless integration across platforms

Not every solution has the best of everything. The Salesforce AppExchange takes the headache out of integration, with over 3,000 applications aligned and integrated with the Salesforce platform. Whatever your organization’s needs beyond Salesforce solutions, there’s a seamless app for that. Additionally, many Salesforce AppExchange vendors provide their apps to qualified nonprofits at a free or significantly reduced cost.

foundationConnect served us well for a decade and a half, but it’s time to move forward and embrace the innovative solutions to advance today’s missions. Fifteen years ago, foundationConnect was the pioneer for grantmakers. Now it’s your turn to adopt the best new grantmaking tool available — Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking.

Your grantmaking solution is here

We believe in using technology for social good. Contact our team to find the right grantmaking solution for your organization and start maximizing your impact today.

Ursula Stewart Grantmaking Industry Advisor at

Ursula Stewart is a Nonprofit Industry Advisor at Salesforce. With 35 years in the field of grantmaking, advocating for effective philanthropic giving practices is her passion. Ursula is a founding member of PEAK Grantmaking.

More by Ursula

Get the latest articles in your inbox.