As a remote organization, we have become well-accustomed to – and skilled at – making the most of the virtual world. Many of us spend the better part of our days on-screen with clients, collaborating on project requirements, and discussing different aspects of their engagement with us. In recent months, we had the opportunity to spend more time face-to-face in the community and with our clients. The pandemic encased the world in our virtual pods, and whenever we convene in person now there is a heightened sense of energy and excitement. We hope this is a timeless state that prevails – for us, it is a wonderful reminder of how important our relationships are, and how we thrive on human connection. As we continue to adapt and evolve, we remain committed to nurturing and strengthening these relationships.
Tune in below to hear more about what we’ve been up to.
Reconnecting with the PEAK Community
Our team has been involved with the PEAK community for many years, but this was our company’s first time exhibiting at the conference. PEAK is the largest gathering of grants professionals, and it was incredible to feel the buzz throughout the conference, at live keynotes, in various learning sessions, and in one-on-one discussions.
The conference focused on PEAK’s Learn, Share, Evolve Principle, which is about building sector-wide knowledge and seeking wisdom from others pursuing change and impact. We read the words of grantmakers on pillars throughout the hall and heard from compelling speakers during four cornerstone keynotes.
There were some common pain points we heard about in one-on-one discussions at PEAK: Grantmakers of all types and sizes continue to struggle with their technology journeys and ensuring the success of their technology investments. It is an ongoing challenge to train users and onboard new staff – it seems that resources can be short in supply (people resources, that is), and many feel they haven’t yet landed on the best training approach that achieves their goals most effectively. We also heard about difficulties in supporting applicants and grantees when processes or technologies change. One thing many agreed on is that user support needs continue to grow, but adding more people to solve the problem doesn’t feel like it will move the needle in the right direction.
We talked with many grantmakers about our own journey to find solutions to support our clients with successful technology adoption and how we landed on the use of a digital adoption platform (DAP) to help them increase user adoption and improve the grantee experience. These are incredibly helpful conversations that enable us to keep our fingers on the pulse of key challenges and trends and gauge what is top of mind for grantmakers. The collective insights enable us to better assess how we offer our support and expertise to help clients solve challenges and achieve their goals.
Hosted in beautiful Barcelona, SmartSimple Unite brought SmartSimple clients together for two days of presentations, panel discussions, and hands-on workshops. Our team had a great time networking, seeing familiar faces, putting faces to names, and meeting new prospective clients.
Members of the reSolved leadership team led panel discussions, participated in conversations about the future of systems, the use of SmartSimple Cloud +AI, and heard success stories from SmartSimple clients. Attendees were eager to hear about +AI and how it can enhance the way they work.
“La Caixa” Foundation, who generously hosted the conference, shared their experience implementing +AI in SmartSimple Cloud. As an early adopter of +AI, “La Caixa” has been slowly incorporating it into processes and monitoring how +AI can reduce administrative workload, improve decision-making, and move them towards more consistent, equitable grantmaking. One of their initial uses of predictive AI is to pre-screen applications and mark them as eligible or not. Staff are continuing to review applications alongside the AI component in order to compare results and build confidence in the new technology.
There were also discussions about how AI can support efforts to reduce barriers and bias for grantees, particularly during the application process. One example is the translation of application submissions, which enables applicants to write in their native language and tap into +AI to translate the application to the organization’s preferred language. This provides equal opportunity for applicants as it reduces language barriers.
Other important topics included maintaining and future-proofing SmartSimple Cloud so that it is functional not only for today, but also for tomorrow’s needs. In-depth conversations centered on how to empower users to effectively use their systems to get the most impact, and available tools to support user training as well as maintaining their resources.
Harnessing Feedback for Continuous Growth
The work we do with our clients has a lot of moving parts, but how we work together makes all the difference. And the only way to know if we’re meeting our clients’ needs is to hear directly from them. We believe in a culture of continuous improvement, and to support these efforts we recently launched a new initiative to gather detailed feedback from clients throughout their project lifecycle. Our goal is to ensure that clients develop a strong understanding of the solutions we configure for them, can use them effectively, and had a great experience working with our team. If you’re working with us on a project and receive one of our surveys, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts – your voice is what helps us be our best, and your success is ours as well.
Powering Our Purpose in the Community
To support our team’s vision for change, we partnered with Shelter Movers, a national, volunteer-powered charity that provides moving and storage services at no cost to individuals and families leaving abusive homes. In addition to a monetary donation, our team is also aiding families as they transition to a life free of violence. With nearly one-third of our team onboarded, we have started our volunteer work. Team members are volunteering to support Shelter Movers with software development, training, grant writing, physical moves, and more. Today, Shelter Movers is the only service of its kind in Canada.
Laura John is volunteering as the communications coordinator for the Greater Toronto chapter and shared about her experience to date.
We’d Love to See You Around Town or On the Road
We have been able to hit the road and spend some in-person time with clients recently. We especially appreciate the highly collaborative mindset our clients bring to meetings, whether it’s to discuss system architectures, release roadmaps, or participate in scoping their requirements. We hope if you’re in the area, you will drop us a line as we would love to get together – or let’s coordinate a meet-up at the next conference (headed to Nashville for TAG, anyone?).