Salesforce’s Outbound Funds Module as a

Grants Management Solution

Salesforce added the Outbound Funds Module (OFM) to their suite in 2020, and North Peak was a part of the open-source project from its beginnings in 2017.

A lot of grantmakers wondered whether a flexible, open-source project would work for large or complex grant programs. To answer these questions, we set out to learn more about how foundations select, customize, and maintain their grant management/grantmaking systems (GMS).

Not familiar with Outbound Funds Modules (OFM)?

Read more about how it customizes Salesforce for Grants management

We interviewed a dozen foundations of all sizes, with GMS systems ranging from custom-built Salesforce solutions to FoundationConnect to Blackbaud. Our goal was to find out whether a GMS built on Salesforce + OFM could meet any need, from the simple to the complex, while also streamlining the grantmaking process for foundations. Here’s what we found out.

What We Learned

OFM is a sophisticated, flexible alternative to traditional GMS

Salesforce + OFM offers a powerful GMS solution for both simple and complex grantmaking needs.

The main strength of Salesforce + OFM lies in its flexibility. All of the GMS needs that foundations shared could be met with a tailored Salesforce + OFM solution (see the full report for more information on common integrations and customization). An OFM solution is particularly well-suited for organizations that have highly customized or frequently changing grantmaking processes, manage inbound and outbound funds, and/or need a CRM solution in addition to a GMS.

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Foundations with highly customized or frequently changing grantmaking processes.

While many out-of-the-box products are easy to set up, they can be inflexible and costly to modify. Here are some ways that foundations might need to tailor their systems:

  • Re-labeling or adding additional fields
  • Creating and changing automation, such as processes to approve disbursement requests or email alerts based on activity in the system
  • Integrating best-in-class systems for accounting, digital engagement, or applicant, grantee, and reviewer platforms

Unlike many of its competitors, OFM supports the need for unique and changing processes with user-friendly customization options.

Foundations managing inbound revenue and outbound funds.

For foundations managing inbound and outbound funds in separate systems– like many Community Foundations– OFM offers an easier, more powerful one-system solution.

Putting all data in one place with OFM helps connect the dots between incoming and outgoing funds, reducing admin time and enabling foundations to tell the complete story about their impact.

Foundations that have or need a CRM solution and a GMS.

With Salesforce + OFM, foundations can have one integrated solution for all of their relationship management and grantmaking efforts.

Getting everyone on one system promotes collaboration across the board, and it empowers all staff with a complete picture of the entire organization’s efforts.

Peer vetting and vendor support are critical for decision making, and OFM is in the early adoption phase.

OFM is still a relatively new option in GMS solutions, so today’s users are early adopters.
Current peer vetting opportunities are largely concentrated in an active Salesforce online community, where OFM’s original creators, current Salesforce product team, and users share insights, questions, and best practices.

Foundations can also work with Salesforce consulting partners for help with technology strategy, system implementation, and ongoing maintenance.

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Available technical support options for OFM users include:

  • Access to official Salesforce support, push updates, and documentation within the Power of Us Hub. Foundations can also contract for Salesforce premium support services.
  • Salesforce users can join the Outbound Funds Module Group in the Power of Us Hub. Members can learn about best practices in customizing OFM directly from OFM creators, see how peers are leveraging the solution, and access community-supported troubleshooting.

Is Salesforce + OFM the right solution for you?

Our findings show that Salesforce + OFM can be a powerful, flexible solution for a wide range of foundation grantmaking needs. Contact us to learn more about how the Outbound Funds Module can support your grantmaking goals!