The Best Grant Management Software for a Nonprofit

If your association, foundation or university is stuck managing an unbearable grant process here is how to approach finding the right nonprofit grant management software.

For the last several years OpenWater has helped the leading associations and foundations like ASAE, VisitFlorida, and the National Recreation and Parks Association manage their grant programs.

Along the way we’ve talked to hundreds of different nonprofits that are frustrated managing their grant programs without the help of effective software.

This article will detail our grant software features, while also helping breakdown some of the important distinctions between the types of grant management software for nonprofits.

What is grant management software for nonprofits?

Grant management for nonprofits usually is broken down into three categories, software to assist grant writers, software to assist managing grant funds after they’ve been dispersed, or managing a grant process including applications, reviewers, and tracking funds.

What is OpenWater grant management software for nonprofits?

OpenWater is an end-to-end platform for grant programs that have a complex application, detailed reviewer workflow and may require an AMS or Salesforce integration. OpenWater is both a software and a service, its support staff has developed hundreds of grant configurations that are used today by groups like the American Occupational Therapy Association and The American Society of Human Genetics.

How does grant management software help nonprofits?

Typically the largest payoff to a nonprofit from grant software is saving administrative time by coordinating application collection through automated validation and automating the reviewer workflow. Good nonprofit grant management software implemented overtime should be a holistic improvement to the grant experience for admins, reviewers, applicants and the board.

How does nonprofit grant software integrate with other platforms?

Grant administrators will integrate their software with an AMS, nonprofit CMS, Salesforce, or Guidestar in order to share information about grant recipients, or to provide a single sign-on option for applicants or reviewers who want to utilize an existing username and password.

What features are important for nonprofit grant management?

The biggest mistake nonprofit grant administrators make is purchasing grant software with inherit limitations. Most often associations and foundations find their grant software lacks the features they need for reviewer workflows.

We’ve learned by working with clients like the American-Scandinavian Foundation that it can take multiple years to fully integrate all their grant programs over to a new software system for applicants and reviewers. Therefore it’s important to think about the future of your program, and how many existing tasks a grant administrator will want to move over in a given time.

What is the best grant management software for nonprofits?

G2 has rated OpenWater grant software as #1 for meeting requirements, quality of support and ease of doing businesses with.

Meets Requirements
Quality of Support
Ease of Doing Business With

Comparing grant software features can be an unbearable task for grant managers. An association executive at ASAE once said, “if you ask the software companies if they have that feature, they all say YES.”

Considering, finding the best software tool is as important as finding the right team of people to support your grant management strategic goals.

What does strong grant management support and services look like?

Our support department has years of experience building workflows for associations and foundations like National Hydropower Association, and the Association for Career and Technical Education. All of this experience benefits all of the grant administrators using OpenWater.

As a result of this experience, our sales team has become an expert and will be able to demonstrate to your team how to break down your goals into an achievable timeframe and budget.

The 3 Best Grant Management Software for Nonprofits

1. OpenWater – rated #1 by G2 for grant software that meets requirements, quality of support and ease of doing business with, ideal for associations, foundations and universities with complex review workflows.

2. Salesforce – suitable for nonprofits that are fully integrated with Salesforce as a point of records and need a grant tracking platform with the option for application intake.

3. Amplifund – best for nonprofits that need a solution for grant writing, grant making, and also manage full cycle grant programs.

OpenWater for Nonprofit Grant Management

Make your process easy and efficient with OpenWater’s Grant Management System. OpenWater gives nonprofits the professional tools needed to quickly and efficiently manage grant programs. Now you can easily email out a call for nominations, manage the applications and review process, and give your board the transparency and recognition they deserve.

Applicants are tired of plodding through lengthy and confusing application processes. OpenWater’s online submission tool is designed to create the application or nomination form you need, and improve the user experience, by making the submission process as simple and painless as possible. OpenWater’s application system has been battle tested to handle simple to complex workflows, including allowing for:

  • High resolution file uploads (pictures, videos and documents)
  • Nomination based work-flow
  • Payments
  • Letters of reference
  • Team based applications
  • Multi-category and dependent fields

Review Committee Portal

Simplify and streamline the review process. With OpenWater, reviewers can go online and access submissions at any time, anywhere, on any device. And admins can create the review forms and processes to fit their program’s exact needs. Highlights of the OpenWater review portal include:

  • Single or multi-round review process
  • Customizable review criteria per program
  • Committee based review capacity (including tiered judging permissions)
  • Save & Return (let’s reviewers save their scoring drafts)
  • Download to PDF (down all or specific applications to PDF to review offline)
  • Full offline review mode (perfect for in-person judging events)


There are lots of tools out there to help you build a submission form for your software, but what about administrative needs? OpenWater’s board nomination software gives admins the tools and resources to make their program a success. From complete oversight of the nomination process, to communicating with reviewers, to analyzing your program’s progress, we’ve got you covered. Highlights include:

  • Board Selection Dashboard
  • Multi-program support (run 1 to 100 nominations, awards, scholarships or grants)
  • Easy communication (email confirmations, email blasts)
  • Application & review form configuration
  • Customize system phases (need to call your reviewers: Judges? Make it global!)
  • Board Nomination Website Builder

Reporting & CRM

See everything about your contacts in one place. Go way beyond names and job titles. Every interaction with your applicants, reviewers and contacts are stored in a tidy timeline. You’ll never need to dig through a messy inbox or spreadsheet to figure out what’s going on. Some highlights of OpenWater’s CRM and reporting capabilities include:

  • Scheduled email blasts with variables
  • Reporting drill-down
  • Premium analytics (compare program progress year to year)
  • Bulk download files to zip
  • Track conversations, calls and emails
  • Export to Excel, CSV, PDF, HTML and JSON


At OpenWater, we understand the underlying value of integration. This is why we not only promote integrations, but perform integrations on behalf of our customers as well. Likewise, we understand that integrations can be confusing so we have friendly staff that will handhold you and your organization as we communicate with you and your AMS/CRM/3rd Party system and complete your integration, stress free. Common integrations:

  • Single Sign On (similar to ‘login with facebook’ only with your system)
  • Pull data into OpenWater (pre-fill application data in OpenWater with your data)
  • Push data to your system from OpenWater
  • Field-lookups (member/contact lookups)
  • Member Discounts
  • Full Salesforce sync


Your board nomination website is an important source of information for your program, as well as a great marketing tool that can improve transparency and elevate your organization’ reputation. OpenWater’s board nomination software helps ensure you get the most out of your website at every stage in the nomination process, giving the ability to publicize what’s going on — from the call for nominations to selection announcements. Features include:

  • Nominations Content Management System
  • Social media integration (make it easy to share content)
  • Responsive Design (works on device)
  • Automatically updated searchable board gallery
  • Sponsorship highlights
  • Email blasts

“OpenWater makes it easy for our applicants to submit their grant applications. Our Judges have found the
program to be an efficient and easy tool that lets them decide on the grant awards without having to reach out
to staff for additional support. OpenWater has been a gift to us as we continue to support our grant recipients
and judges.”

Sally Yerkovich

Dir: Educational Exchange & Special Projects

American-Scandinavian Foundation

We use OpenWater not only for our awards programs, but also for grants, fellowships and generally anything that requires an application or judging process. All of this in one central system that integrates nicely with our association management system.

Reggie Henry, CAE

Chief Information & Engagement Officer


ASHA uses the OpenWater platform for awards programs, grant and scholarship applications, mentoring enrollment, course registration, volunteer applications and leadership programs. The flexibility of the OpenWater platform functionality is crucial to efficiently and successfully manage these various types of programs, each with unique requirements.

Jill Straniero

Digital Product Manager

American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA)