How can a Community Foundation keep its edge in a FinTech world?


Cloud solutions implemented


Custom user stories across 5 functional areas


Months from initial engagement to solutions implementation


New Digital Coordinator position created

The Oakville Community Foundation keeps its edge in a FinTech world by leaning into a digital strategy of cloud-based tools and digital talent.

With the FinTech world rapidly expanding, community foundations are facing more competition that ever. Online banking, investing apps like WealthSimple, and crowdfunding platforms have all provided donors more options than ever to invest and give. However, community foundations still possess the people, expertise, and connections in the community that still bring incredible value to donors, so how do we make sure this doesn’t get lost in the technology noise?

Analysis paralysis can happen easily in any technology selection project without strategy. To create a common way forward, we helped the Oakville Community Foundation align on very clear priorities for their digital strategy, creating a team-supported framework for deciding the features and requirements in tool selection. This included becoming:

  • More data informed: better dashboards and reporting to measure growth and overall performance
  • More efficient and scalable: systems that will allow the foundation to handle growth
  • More open and innovative: selecting tools that support new ways of interacting with donors

With this framework in mind, we interviewed individual teams to gather their specific requirements within these criteria. Using this initial information, we completed market research to shortlist solutions and tools that would meet the foundation's needs.

To help make product demos a good use of time, we sent documentation summarizing the foundation’s overall mission and goals, their digital strategy, and critical requirements to each product vendor and offered demo preparation calls as well, involving the client when necessary. This sort of technology “matchmaking” helped ensure that the first impression was also a good use of time.

After the initial round of demos, we conducted a preliminary technical analysis to determine which solutions were worth deeper dives. In tandem with the client we dug deeper into CRM functionality, tested donor portals with a small sample of real donors, and assessed vendor culture—this involved learning more about a variety of topics from how they hire to how they approach product management.

With all this information, we facilitated a decision-making workshop with the client where team members identified which solution was best for them personally, and which they believed was best for the organization. We chatted through any assumptions, misunderstandings and remaining concerns with this process, guiding the team towards a common way forward.

Since selecting the solution, we’ve helped the client implement their new solutions and the foundation has been invigorated to continue with its digital strategy, shifting their people and processes to take full advantage of new technology. The client now also has implemented a business intelligence tool to visual its performance and grants data and is well on their way to move office productivity to the cloud.

Grantbook is glad to still be along for this journey.