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Kelly Anthony's blog - January 4, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Since 1998, GreatSchools.org has been helping parents find the right school for their child.  With a database of every single school – public, private and charter – in the US, GreatSchools reaches more than 41 million parents every year and provides programs and tools to help parents champion their child’s education.  

More initiatives necessitate greater funding, and GreatSchools has begun to ramp up their foundation efforts. Enter Candice Santomauro, Director of Program Development, referred to by her colleagues as the “human Smartsheet.”  

According to Santomauro, building up GreatSchools’ fundraising efforts with Smartsheet is as easy as 1-2-3.

1. It’s all about relationships.  “When working with foundations, it is so important to build and maintain solid relationships,” said Santomauro.  “When I started at GreatSchools, we didn’t have a donor database.  We tried using Salesforce, but it was just too complicated and no one stayed on top of keeping our records updated.  Having used Smartsheet successfully in the past, I thought it would be the perfect solution for us. We started to use Smartsheet with fantastic results.  My database of contacts in my sheet is the bread and butter of the work that I do.”

Once Santomauro moved GreatSchools donor contacts into Smartsheet, she and her team easily keep track of each contact touchpoint with donors.

“This past spring, our partnership contact list was composed of 475 relationships. The goal was to grow this list by 20% by the end of this year - to 570.  With the help of Smartsheet, we’ve been able to surpass this goal and now have 627 active partnerships.”  

<Use this template for similar contact management.>

2. The key to securing grant funding?  Organization.  “The entire process of applying for grants is an exercise in staying organized,” explained Santomauro.  “There’s a lot of documentation and detail that goes into completing a grant application that will lock down funding.”

The legwork doesn’t stop there.  Once GreatSchools has secured a grant, there are a series of checkpoints to account for the money spent – and if a checkpoint is missed, funding stops.

Santomauro uses Smartsheet to track both grant applications and the necessary checkpoints.  With the alerts and reminders, Santomauro and her team can rest assured that they will be reminded well before a deadline approaches and have plenty of time to complete paperwork.  

3. Great teams need even better people.  “The team is growing,” said Santomauro, “and anytime we hire someone new to my department, we use Smartsheet for the hiring process.”

Today by using Smartsheet’s web form capability, Santomauro’s inbox isn’t bombarded with hundreds of candidates to sift through. Instead, applicants submit information via a form into a sheet where Santomauro and the hiring committee can collaborate on hiring efforts.  

This organized system ensures that everyone is on the same page during the recruitment and interviewing phases of candidates, and the bar for hiring new employees is set very high. <Learn more about how other teams are using Smartsheet in human resources here.>

With a little help from Smartsheet, Santomauro and her team have been able to set, and meet, ambitious goals and work towards providing greater support to parents and children.

 

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