GrantCraft relaunch: new tech highlights funder wisdom

Wow…I can’t believe that we’re finally launching our new GrantCraft website! It’s been an exciting process over the last 10 months with a wonderful team, and I’m thrilled with where we ended up. You can watch our guided tour or join me for an upcoming introductory webinar, but I’m delighted to share a bit more about our journey and my favorite new features.

In August 2013, we began re-envisioning what our collection of wisdom and knowledge could be, knowing that a new website platform would be an essential part of this plan. Through surveys, interviews, analytics, and a review of our decade-long history, we learned what you – the GrantCraft community – want and need. A new site needed to be more accessible than ever, have dynamic content that is readable both on-screen and printed, support the continued collection of your stories, host relevant conversations about your questions and ideas, present translated content, and form the foundation for what can grow into a more networked, connected community. Plus, we needed a more usable back-end: the old content management system was becoming outdated and presented challenges with multimedia, which made it more difficult to provide you with the most dynamic, frequent updates.

We worked with the Foundation Center’s web services team, who had the recent Webby-nominated Glasspockets site redesign and Philanthropy News Digest enhancements under their belt, and the web gurus at Edelman to go through wireframing, design, development, and testing of the new website. This process itself benefited GrantCraft in more ways than just the end product. We were able to better define and contextualize our position within Foundation Center’s suite of services. We challenged our existing resources and function – What are we doing? Why are we doing it? And how? – to discover our own strengths and challenges, as well as new purposes for and iterations of old content. For me, this was especially important in making sure that we built a design and back-end content management system that was more fitting for our current and future needs. You’ll notice, for instance, that there are six discussion guides at launch; we built this as a content type because we want GrantCraft to help facilitate offline conversations in your workplace and among peers, too. We’ll be growing this collection of discussion guides to eventually embody all strategies and issues shared in our resources.

Now’s the time to jump in and explore. But first – a few reminders to help you get the most out of the new site.  If you've gotten e-mails from us previously, we imported you into the system already. You just need to request a change of password and you're up and running! As a registered user, you have access to one of my favorite new features: a personal dashboard where you can save any resources on the site. You also have the opportunity to contribute to the site through comments and submissions, and will receive our new monthly newsletter, which will highlight new and updated resources, oldies but goodies, upcoming events, and more. This is our way of making it easy for you to scan the field and learn something new each month.

If I could encourage you to do three things after reading this blog post, they would be to:

  1. Complete your free registration
  2. Learn something new by test driving the search functionality
  3. Contribute to a discussion, like the one about how you give beyond grants

As we enter this new chapter for GrantCraft, we're all ears. E-mail us with your questions and ideas, and build our collection of wisdom by sharing your insights and experiences. From Amsterdam to Johannesburg, from London to Portland, we've heard stories from funders who have used GrantCraft to be more strategic about their work. In fact, when I was a new funder in my previous position, I remember reading the guide about scanning the landscape and one funder’s reflection about meeting with a new potential grantee: “I mostly listened and asked questions. I tried to understand who they were and what they were saying, and what they didn’t say.” As a newer funder, this was a helpful reminder that my instinct to ask questions wasn’t wrong, but that allowing for pauses was also part of my job. And, as I became more experienced, I realized that this simple step is often overlooked as we get caught up in the ebbs and flows of daily operations. By sharing insights within our philanthropy community, we reinforce best practices and introduce new thinking so that we can be as strategic and thoughtful as possible.

As we usher in this new era for GrantCraft, we hope to strengthen our role as a go-to resource for sharing philanthropy resources and ideas, and that we continue to grow with the field. As we are faced with exciting new advances in philanthropy and technology, GrantCraft sits at the cross-section; join us on this path forward as we learn and hone our craft together.

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