Washington, D.C.—GuideStar and the Technology Affinity Group (TAG) today announced Simplify, www.simplifynow.org, a new approach to information sharing between funders and grantees. Simplify eliminates the repetitive elements of grant applications, so nonprofits can spend time advancing their missions rather than completing unnecessary paperwork, and funders can manage their grantmaking process more efficiently. Together, Simplify is a seamless, automated information flow allowing funders and nonprofits to focus less on process and more on purpose.
"A generation ago when all grant applications were submitted on paper, a development officer could have a package of this basic information and easily add it to every application," said Lisa Pool, TAG's executive director. "Today, many grant applications are online, but they aren't consistent and nonprofits spend a lot of time and energy providing the same basic information over and over again. Simplify eliminates this recurring task. It allows grantees to keep their current data in one place so it's easier to maintain and share information, and it allows funders to easily access this information, streamlining their grant application process. The result is that grantmakers get quality data, grantees save valuable time, and everyone benefits from a more efficient process."
Nonprofits can utilize Simplify by entering their core information once into the freeGuideStar Exchange and maintaining it there. The GuideStar Exchange already connects nonprofits with millions of current and potential supporters. It also enables nonprofits to key in their data once and update it in one place. Simplify enables that information to then be automatically added to every grant application that a nonprofit completes for any participating funder. When grantees complete online applications, they can include this core information with one click. A funder can also pull a grantee's core data from the Simplify interface into the funder's grants management system.
"We're thrilled to partner with TAG on this seamless, automated information flow that allows funders and grantees to manage the grantmaking process more efficiently," stated Jim Dobrzeniecki, vice president of Information Technology at GuideStar, the leading source for nonprofit information. "Simplify is the center of information integration. It acts as the heart of thousands of smooth exchanges of information each day. I can't think of a better way to deliver on GuideStar's mission of revolutionizing philanthropy."
GuideStar and TAG are creating a standards-setting body that will manage the standards for Simplify data and determine which additional information should be added to the Simplify database over time. This body will include representatives fromTAG, GuideStar, funders, vendors, and sector-wide organizations.
Simplify will begin with core information that most grantmakers need from applicants. Over time, it will expand to include additional information. The idea for a grantee database grew out of recommendations from the Grants Managers Network's Project Streamline, which found that grantseekers wrestle with application and reporting practices that often are disproportionately burdensome.
"GuideStar was a natural partner for TAG on this endeavor because they have a tried and tested data collection tool that allows nonprofits to supplement the public information that is available from the IRS," said Kristine McDaid, vice president ofTAG's board of directors, and the director of Applications and Web Technology at theRobert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Our partnership and advancements in technology allow Simplify to move from just a good idea to a reality."
Simplify is free for nonprofits. Foundations will pay $750 per year to access the Simplify API, the programming code that will allow their online application and grant management systems to interact with the GuideStar Exchange.
Nonprofits are encouraged to participate in the GuideStar Exchange to begin managing their data for free.
For more information on Simplify, please visit www.simplifynow.org.
The Technology Affinity Group (TAG) is a membership organization of foundations that promotes the understanding of how information and communications technology can help its members further their philanthropic goals. TAG is an active community of professionals responsible for information and communications technology in the philanthropic sector. The community provides the highest quality resources and learning opportunities in an open and trusted environment. http://www.tagtech.org/
GuideStar, www.guidestar.org, connects people and organizations with information on the programs, finances, and impact of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers and the media.
Lindsay J.K Nichols